Like any major city, London is a great destination for food-lovers. It offers an array of restaurants serving local and international dishes. Because London is such a diverse melting pot, it is possible to get authentic representations of virtually every type of cuisine in the world. Meanwhile, home-cooked UK favorites and cutting edge dishes created by famous chefs are also on London’s restaurant menu. After dinnertime, London’s nightlife scene moves into full swing, with pubs, clubs, concert venues and theaters offering a wide range of after-dark entertainment options.
Here are the best neighborhoods to eat and drink in London.
Cheap eats in Bloomsbury
This is an area with a large population of university students, so there are plenty of cheap eating options. A variety of fast-food and diner-style venues are on the menu, so there are plenty of choices for people in search of a pizza or some soup and a sandwich. Bloomsbury is also home to some good eateries specializing in Indian cuisine, so curry fanatics can get their spicy fix here. Some of the cafes and bistros in the area have an air of bohemian hipness and offer salads, baked goods and vegan items that fit with their stylishly-unkempt atmosphere. At night, the college bars and laid-back taverns get filled with young patrons. The drinks are generally cheaper than elsewhere in the city.
A Night in Soho
Soho is one of London’s hippest districts. A collection of cool bars, popular jazz lounges, and dance clubs vie for nightlife-seeker’s attention. Some of these places are quite unique (one, Garlic and Shots, features garlic and chili infused shots of alcohol, which are drunk while hard rock music wails in the background). Most places, however, are not so offbeat and are basically stylish and reasonable drinking spots for local professionals. Venues like the well-known Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Bar bring world-class talent to the stage regularly. A host of smaller, cheaper, and easier to get into jazz spots are located around Soho, making it one of the better places in the city for jazz aficionados.
Trendy Night Out in Notting Hill
Notting Hill is a neighborhood that has a mix of hip eateries and chef-driven restaurants. There are plenty of reasonably priced places as well, with ethnic restaurants and sandwich and burger joints offering food for a relatively low price tag. That said, at some places, such as the two Michelin star eatery Ledbury, prices can top ₤100 for a meal, easily. Of course, foodies might find that the food at these upmarket establishments is worth the cost. After dinner time, Notting Hill’s night scene comes alive. As with the eateries, “trendy” is the name of the game when it comes to the area’s night-spots. That said, there are a variety of options, from Irish-style pubs to relaxing lounges to hip taverns frequented by young urban professionals.
A Night at the Theater in Leicester
London is home to some great bars and restaurants, but there is more to the after dark menu than drinking and eating. London’s West End, especially the area around Leicester Square, is home to some of the world’s best drama groups. This area boasts at least twenty worthwhile theaters. Tickets for shows in the area can be bought at a central box office in the square. Basically, this is paradise for theater lovers (or for anyone looking for something out of the ordinary when it comes to nightlife). Leicester is also home to London’s largest Chinatown. This means good, authentic food, with large portions and reasonable prices. Buffets and dim sum joints are spread across the neighborhood, as are huge eateries like the four-floor Wong Kei restaurant. The combination of theaters and cheap eats makes this a great place to spend an evening while in London.
Concerts throughout London
Of course, London is a famous city for music lovers. A wide range of live acts, from internationally-known rock bands to local talent, take the stages across the city each night. London is also known for tis cutting edge music scene, with new genres born at small clubs around the city. Time Out London has a good list of what’s going on from week to week in the local concert scene. The music scene has a high-brow side as well. One of the world’s most famous orchestras, the London Symphony, performs in the city regularly.