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London nightlife

In London, love and scandal are considered the best sweeteners of tea.
- John Osborne

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Photo: Tom Godber

Bar Italia

  • Soho, Bar, $$$$ $
  • 22 Frith St.
  • London, W1D 4RF
  • +44-20-7437-4520
  • Website | Email

The always packed, old-fashioned Italian caffe is one of the rare 24-hour spots in town. It's family-run and reliably attracts actual Italians and an anti-Starbucks crowd.

Bob Bob Ricard

Upstairs is an impossibly grand restaurant sumptuously decorated to evoke bygone train travel. The menu is classic Russian and English cuisine, and every booth has a Champagne call button. Downstairs, Bobby's Bar is a great evening hideaway. The big copper ship is a model of the one owner Bob once worked on.

Claridge's Bar

  • Mayfair, Bar, $$$$ $$$$
  • Brook St.
  • London, W1K 4HR
  • +44-020-7629-8860
  • Website | Email

The ultimate place to have a glass of Champagne, for the impossibly large selection of bottles and for the glamorous surroundings. Also lovely for afternoon tea.

Commercial Tavern

  • Shoreditch, Bar, $$$$ $
  • 142 Commercial St.
  • London, E1 6NU
  • +44-20-7247-1888
  • Review

Is cool new East London cool or insufferable? You decide. The action at the funky corner bar spills out onto the street, which makes for more or less fun, depending on your attitude. As the Polaroids covering the interior suggest, this is a see-and-be-seen crowd.

Dukes London

  • Mayfair, Bar, $$$$ $$$$
  • 35 St. Jame's Pl.
  • London, SW1A 1NY
  • +44-020-7491-4840
  • Website | Email

That James Bond's favorite drink is a martini may have something to do with the fact that Ian Fleming drank his here. The bar is old-fashioned, grand, and very, very swank. If you're impressed with the martinis (some say they're the world's best), you can learn the secret recipe in a martini maste rclass.

Fox & Anchor Pub

  • Clerkenwell, Bar, $$$$ $$
  • 115 Charterhouse St.
  • London, EC1M 6AA
  • +44-020-7250-1300
  • Website | Email

A classic English pub made modern, where speciality local ales accompany incredible food. For added privacy and charm, try to snag one of the cozy nooks known as "snugs."

London Cocktail Club

A basement parlor in Soho evoking bygone speakeasies with red wallpaper and plush sofas. The cocktail menu has playful themes ("the guest that never leaves," "big boy drinks"). If you can't get a reservation, try the new outpost on Shaftesbury Avenue.

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