From salsa to jive, mojitos to martinis, London's nightclubs and bars will leave you spoiled for choice. And whether you want to venture east to Shoreditch or hang out in the members' clubs in Kensington and Mayfair, you will find what you are looking for. Here's a peek into the decadent world of London's hottest nightspots.
Stepping into Mahiki is like walking off a London street and into a Polynesian paradise. Princes William and Harry are often spotted partying here, along with plenty of other celebrities. Grab a table upstairs and relax with an exotic tropical drink after work, or head downstairs for a night of dancing. On the long list of cocktails, classic favorites like pina colada mingle with Mahiki inventions with names like Neptune's Bounty, Lover's Cup and Coastal Kiss. Thursdays are particularly hot here -- and don't forget to bring your dancing shoes.
The owners of Mahiki struck gold again when they opened Whisky Mist last year. With a sleek, dark interior, Whisky Mist draws a similar crowd to its sister club, and is one of the hottest places to see and be seen in London's central Mayfair area. Membership -- which includes a personal monogram-sealed bottle of whiskey stored at the club -- is an option, but not a requirement.
Boundary, which opened in January, is one of London's hottest new nighttime hangouts, yes, but it is so much more. Located in the trendy East London Shoreditch neighborhood in a converted Victorian warehouse, Boundary includes three restaurants and bars, a bakery and a food store, plus 12 guest bedrooms and five suites. The rooftop bar -- which includes a grill -- comes complete with a wooden deck, olive trees, couches, blankets and a panoramic view of the city.
Another Shoreditch gem, Cargo is the place to go for an impressive variety of live music, film screenings and art. The music runs the gamut, with a DJ often taking over after a live performance to spin party-goers into the wee hours of the morning. On nice summer nights, kick back in Cargo's courtyard under the refitted railway arches with friends, drinks and some South American fare. Unlike many other places around the city, there's no cover charge here on Fridays.
Favela Chic, which first opened in Paris 11 years ago, is an eclectic mix of many things -- a Brazilian-French restaurant-club in a converted warehouse in Shoreditch. A diverse, international crowd packs the dance floor late into the night nearly every day of the week -- expect a long queue, and a cover, on Fridays and Saturdays. Depending on the night -- or the time of night -- you might find a DJ or a live performance supplying the music, ranging from hip-hop to samba to electronica, and everything in between. Get there early in the evening to check out the menu of authentic Brazilian food. And don't forget to try a mojito.
Chic, exclusive and pricey, Boujis is a mainstay on the London nightclub scene, popular among celebrities and locals alike. Paparazzi routinely park outside this private members' club, waiting to catch a glimpse of Prince Harry, Lindsay Lohan or any number of other celebrities who routinely make the rounds here. If you want to check it out, be prepared to queue... and to pay. Reserving a table for seven will run upwards of $800.
The Last Days of Decadence
Looking for fine dining? Live music? A theatre performance? A club? A tea room? Then make your way to Shoreditch, where you'll find it all and then some at The Last Days of Decadence. The versatile space boasts stained glass windows and an art-deco look. Upstairs you'll find white linen table cloths, downstairs a packed dance floor. Be sure to try one of Last Days' famous cockteas -- hot alcoholic infusions served by the pot.
Floridita, in the heart of Soho, is the place to go if you're in the mood to salsa. Mojitos and daiquiris top the list of refreshing Cuban cocktails, and low lighting and a live Cuban band combine to set the mood at this popular restaurant-bar-dance club. Added bonus: the Cuban cigars, which are rolled on-site.
The Bathhouse, a refurbished Victorian building that used to be home to Turkish baths, is at once a late-night bar, live music venue, fine dining restaurant and a place to stop for a quick bite at breakfast or lunch. The two subterranean rooms are bathed in candlelight, and the walls lined with a collection of mirrors, which make the space feel more expansive than it really is. Young fashionable crowds flock to the Bathhouse for its elegant atmosphere, dance floor and excellent drink selection.
Voted the bar of the year by both the Evening Standard and Time Out in 2008, Rockwell is a sleek bar located in The Trafalgar hotel along the Strand. The interior features dark walnut walls and lots of black leather, and the bar serves up fancy, expensive cocktails. The roof -- open in the summer, and entirely enclosed in the winter -- is outfitted with sleek modern white couches, umbrellas and bar stools, and offers up a gorgeous view of the city.