While the pub crawl might be the most well-known staple of London’s entertainment scene, the idea of a pub ride has taken a little longer to catch on – which is too bad, when you think about it, considering the city’s abundance of distinctive neighborhoods and unique atmospheres to choose from on any given night.
So why settle?
For those looking to pair a great evening out with the kind of variety that has helped shape contemporary British culture, a rental bike tour is a perfect option. Sure you won’t be able to hit up every district, but if you know where to look you can treat yourself to a well rounded glimpse of London, complete with all the crispy fish and chips and frothy ale you can handle.
Below we’ve put together a selection of four of our favorite nocturnal neighborhoods, along with a mapped bike tour to help get you there. Our recommendation? Start early, and give yourself plenty of time to taste and sip your way across the cityscape.
Curtain Road to Hoxton Square
The bulk of London’s East End still maintains its distinctly bohemian, working-class charm, however more and more traces of its chic western counterparts have made their presence felt over the years . For nightlife aficionados, this means a wide variety of options are just waiting to be explored, from down-to-earth pubs to trendy lounges and nightclubs. To get a good sense of what’s available, start at the south end of Curtain Road and work your way north until Hoxton Square. If you can’t find something that tickles your fancy here, you may be overestimating your desire to go out in the first place.
Cliche as it may sound, Soho continues to dominate the London nightlife scene – and not without good reason. Centrally located in the West End, the sheer range of options here makes it all but impossible not to find what you’re looking for, whether that be a night of trendy dining, rowdy pub drinking, cabaret dancing, or an introduction to the city’s best gay nightlife. A good starting point is the north-south stretch of bars, cafes, and restaurants you’ll find along Dean Street. From here, Soho branches out in all directions, so don’t be afraid to jaunt down a side street that looks appealing. If entertainment is what you’re after, you’ll find it wherever you turn.
Camden High Street
Colorful Camden Town (or just Camden) might best be known for its bustling market, but when you’re ready to chow down on good inexpensive food and groove to some fantastic live music that’s when this slightly offbeat neighborhood shows its true colors. To its credit, there are a few available clubs as well, but bars are predominantly the name of the game. Conveniently, the bulk of the action takes place right along Camden High Street, which continues onto Chalk Farm Road once you cross the canal. Veer off onto Kentish Town Road or the pedestrian Inverness Street and you won’t be led astray either.
Brick Lane has come a long way from the impoverished hub that once helped set the stage for the grisly murders of Jack the Ripper. These days, the street is a stomping grounds for some of London’s most artistic, multi-cultural residents, and the bars and restaurants that have amassed here are a reflection of that transition. Work your way with traffic from south to north and you’ll discover one of London’s most unique and entertaining strips, complete with art warehouses, cafes, nightlife venues, and some of the best Bangladeshi curry spots the UK has to offer.