I find myself back in London once again, nearly exactly one year later. This time, I am here for longer and so have more time to explore the city truly, in my favorite way: by going to as many bars as possible.
Our first excursion out into the city brought us to Camden Town for my friend’s 21st birthday celebration. It was a Monday, so not many bars were very active. We met a promoter on the street who offered a free drink for the birthday girl, so we stopped into Bar Vinyl and received a free shot a piece. The shots were some sort of creamy, coffee liqueur that the bartender then lit on fire. We grabbed two more cocktails at half price, so the whole night ended up only costing £10. We called it quits early because we were having a bit of a quiet evening, but Camden has so many other bars to offer for a big night out!
My next booze-fueled exploration brought me to SoHo, to Ronnie Scott’s jazz club. It was the night of another friend’s college graduation ceremony, so a large group of twenty-something’s were there and looking for a big night. We arrived after 11, so we had to pay a £12 cover and were the soberest ones there. Not for long!
Downstairs at Ronnie Scott’s is a subdued, more upscale experience. There is a live performer and tables all around the dimly lit room where older couples were all enjoying their overpriced cocktails. Initially, my friend and I were seated here. This does not seem right looks were exchanged between us, both dressed in flannels and jeans. We soon figured out that the real party was upstairs, so we got out of there quickly.
Upstairs, a young band was feverishly playing at the center of the dance floor. Drunk college graduates were jiving and swinging all around them. We were in the right place. My friend treated me to a cocktail or five, off of a rather overpriced cocktail menu. But damn, they were good. At 3 am, we were herded out onto the street to end our evenings.
Overall, I’d give Ronnie Scott’s a 7 out of 10. It was great fun, with awesome music, but out of my budget. Once was plenty for Kylie.
Friday night, we were looking for a little bar to just grab a few drinks in. We found Simmons Bar in King’s Cross, just a few blocks away from where I was staying. Simmons is well known because it is decorated like a 1950’s living room and because they serve drinks in tea cups. While we all ordered beers and so missed out on the tea cups, the experience was pleasant. The DJ played old jams that catered to the audience, which consisted of mostly people in their late twenties and early thirties. Drink prices were reasonable and we went home feeling good!
Saturday night was our first real big night out. We signed up for a bar crawl in Shoreditch, one of the most hipster neighborhoods of London. The bar crawl (Website here) started at a bar called Translate, where we received one free (and watered down) shot and had happy hour drinks for about £5 each. I got a whiskey drink, which was amazing.
From there, we went on to Road Trip bar. This bar was on a corner and was pretty big. It is also a diner and sports bar. They offered rail vodka drinks for only £3, so we had several each. We weren’t here for long, but just long enough to take a selfie with their American flag painting!
Our third stop was a Brazilian bar called Floripa. This is where the dancing started and the fun really began. Floripa offered cheap drinks for those of us on the crawl and had a stage that we could dance on. They pumped out Caribbean style dance music and even had a few go-go dancers to show us the ropes. Though we wanted to stay, we moved on just after midnight to our final destination.
The last club of the night was Club Aquarium, close to the Old Street tube station in Shoreditch. There were dancers dressed like unicorns and plenty of other strange sights here. The music was okay, with mostly mo-town oldies and a few pop hits. It wasn’t my style, but I still spent a solid couple of hours getting down with my bad self.
In all, I spent less than £20 on drinks for the whole bar crawl. That’s unheard of for a night out in London! Shoreditch is an awesome area, and we went back in the early evening the following day to hang out in one of the many cafes. We picked The Love Shake, a little retro diner on a bar-filled street. We grabbed a chocolate shake and a hot dog, for a total of only £6. The place offers free wifi and an overall awesome atmosphere for spending a few hours.
My first week in London for this summer is coming to an end. I head off tomorrow for a five day tour of Northern England and Scotland before heading back to London for one more weekend. I feel like I have made a dent in seeing the city, but there is still so much more to explore. I look forward to seeing a bit more before I leave the UK indefinitely again!
And don’t forget! If you plan to travel in Europe and want to check out a festival, visit the Stoke Travel site and use promo code “kykyamplify” for unlimited free booze on any of our trips!!