From vintage shops to retro beauty parlours, the vintage scene is flourishing in London. When it comes to nightlife, the capital is crammed full of bars, restaurants and pubs that cater for the retro-minded. Here are five of our favourites:
Ain’t Nothin’ But…
Nostalia seekers will love the bohemian vibe at this late night blues bar, which has live music every night of the week, with a pleasing mix of open mic nights and jam sessions.
The old time-style bar’s walls are plastered with music memorabilia, while cool murals show blues legends such as Bo Diddley and Muddy Waters.
Located just off Regent Street on buzzing Kingly Street, this drinking den describes itself as “the best Blues bar this side of the Atlantic”. Swing by to see if you agree.
Established in 1954 as a beatnik coffee house, this atmospheric West London cafe is a top spot to enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner or cocktails in arty surrounds.
Bric-a-brac and musical memorabilia hangs from the walls and ceiling in this laid-back spot, which also has a pretty courtyard garden.
Tucked away beneath the cafe is an intimate cellar venue which boasts a varied music programme. Past performers have included Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Costello and Joni Mitchell.
Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes
Strike it lucky at this retro-style bowling alley in London’s fashionable Bloomsbury.
Home to eight stylish bowling lanes and four karaoke rooms, the venue hosts popular vintage-themed nights, that vary from John Hughes movies to retro video games.
The large bar is made from wood from an old New York bowling lane, and the venue’s diner serves classic American fare, including Ray’s 26 Inch pizzas and the Strike Burger.
Wilton’s Music Hall
Situated in the heart of London’s East End, this crumbling multi-arts venue is the world’s oldest surviving Grand Music Hall in the world, offering an eclectic programme of theatre, comedy, music, cinema and cabaret.
The ground-floor Mahogany Bar was built in 1725 as a public house, operating under many names including The Prince of Denmark.
Spruced up in 1828 with a mahogany bar, the pub earned its current moniker and is now a great place to sip a beer or wine. Regular events at this hidden gem include magic shows, yoga nights and vintage fairs.
For a slice of old-school glamour, swing by the Prohibition-themed Bar Nightjar which has a dark and intimate feel thanks to its subterranean setting.
Cosy black leather booths and a soundtrack of live jazz seals the deal for cool ambience.
Vintage devotees will love the perfectly crafted, Instagramable cocktails that are listed under four separate menus (pre-Prohibition, Prohibition, Post-War and Nightjar Signatures).
Renowned for the creativity of its drinks, stand-outs include the Tea Clipper Blazer, which blends tatratea, bee pollen and smoky tea mix, and is served up with a lemongrass ice lolly. Book a table in advance.
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