8 late-night dining options in London
✨ LUCY EATON
A couple of weeks ago, after an incredible dinner at Caravan and my second night in a row drinking Twinkles at the Ivy, my friend and I were thrust out into the London air at 1:30am with plenty more pizazz left in us. So what do you do when the mood has struck you and - a rather rare occurrence once you've passed the 30 barrier - you actually want to stay out putting the world to rights and drinking Italian white until the sun rises? Well, you head to one of the following. These are my top picks for a middle-of-the-night bevvy and meal in this fine city.
DUCK AND WAFFLE
I will never forget the night I found out this was a 24-hour joint. I was at a house party and everyone was hungry. This was pre-Deliveroo and the only option seemed to be the McDonalds at the end of the road, which wasn't getting people very excited. Then somebody suddenly offered up Duck & Waffle. Honestly, I thought they were joking, but the next thing I know we were all in taxis heading to the city, trying our best to sober up or at least give the impression of being sobered up (the party in front of us were turned away at the door). It's obviously one of the pricier places on this list, and you can't order a drink without ordering some food as well, but there really is something truly unforgettable and undoubtedly magical about being at the top of a sky scraper in a practically empty restaurant with 360 views. Also the food is genuinely worth writing home about. The signature dish is orgasmically good and the bacon-wrapped dates are a revelation too. Try being there for sunrise! What a way to end a night.
POLO BAR, LIVERPOOL STREET
If, as I did once, you rock up to Duck and Waffle at 3am to find that it's been privately booked out, you may be pointed in the direction of Polo Bar, which is utterly different but just as divine. Polo Bar feels like a truly British greasy spoon mixed with a classic American diner out of classic American movies. They've been open since 1953 and the ethos is one that enables people to "share food, drink, and stories in comfort, no matter what the hour." As someone who likes to talk, I cannot tell you how much I love that! It's excellent value for money as well, with breakfast sandwiches starting at £4.50 and a generous portion of sweet potato fries going for £3. There's a real buzz to the place and it gets a firm thumbs up from me.
Now, this one always used to be my favourite because its location enabled me to walk home after. It's a firm Chelsea staple and never fails to disappoint. There's often a queue to get in, but if you're peckish and it's the early hours, there's nowhere better. Burgers, pasta dishes or brunch, it's simple food but there's something to suit everyone. If you've been out at Maggies or Beaufort House and the 24 hours Tesco won't satiate your hunger, head to VQ.
Open until 3am on Fridays & Saturdays, 13 Kingly Court, W1B 5PG, cahoots-london.com
Cahoots is real fun. I was lucky enough to be there at the launch in 2015 and it's floated my boat ever since! I don't tend to go for heavily themed or immersive bars, but this strikes such a perfect balance between a unique, kooky concept and leaving its guests to do their own thing. Designed to feel like a WW2-era Underground station, Cahoots pays homage to the community spirit of London in the Blitz. It feels like stepping back in time, and the music is a gorgeous blend of old-fashioned and new. Most nights they have live entertainment and every night you can get your hands on one of their excellent smoked Old Fashioneds. It's all jolly good fun, and - best of all - it stays open until 3am, so there's no need to cut the night short.
RUMPUS ROOM AT MONDRIAN
Open until 2am on Thursday - Saturday, Mondrian Hotel, 20 Upper Ground, SE1 9PD, rumpusroomlondon.com
My first introduction to the Rumpus Room was while working on an incredible launch event for Lexus cars. Over the course of an evening, journalists were led through different situations in the stunning Mondrian Hotel that made them feel like they were living the life of a celebrity (they even got approached and greeted by Jude Law at one point. Real Jude Law. The looks on their faces were priceless). The whole event ended in the Rumpus Room, which was a suitably sparkly end to a sparkly evening. It's a beautiful space, with floor to ceiling windows offering fantastic views of St Pauls and the City. Open until 2am at the weekend, you can get a delicious cocktail and a portion of tuna tacos and truffle arancini balls at the same time. What's not to love?
BALANS SOHO SOCIETY
Open 24 hours, 60 - 62 Old Compton Street, W1D 4UG, balans.co.uk
Within the theatre industry this really is considered the only suitable place to end the night. Whether you've been sipping champagne at a press night party, or swinging around the poles of the basement dance floor at Freedom, the only real way to wrap up a perfect evening in Soho is with a carafe of wine and a portion of Eggs in Hell. Occasionally you have to queue, but the turnaround is pretty swift and you'll be in before you know it. It sure as hell helps to lessen the hangover!
Open until 4:30am Friday & Saturday, 70 Upper Street, Islington N1 0NY, ladybirdbar.co.uk
A five minute walk from the Angel Tube Station you'll find this dinky gem of a cocktail bar hidden away. (you've probably walked past it a million times). This isn't a quiet location, but there's an upstairs bar offering a little more space for chatting if that's where you're at, whilst downstairs in the basement, there's a fantastic mix of funk, electro, disco and Latin music playing. I had a great night tucked in a table by the window once, drinking relatively cheap red wine and enjoying the knowledge that I wasn't going to be thrown out into the night before I was good and ready! It's even got a "skinny cocktail" portion of the menu, if you're trying to crack down on overly sugary, calorific drinks.
Open 24 hours, Various
If in doubt, a sure fire way to find some food and drink in the middle of the night is to hunt down a casino. Now I don't want to be condoning gambling all your hard-earned cash away, but for a late night sandwich and a final glass of shiraz, I'm all for it. Try Aspinall's in Mayfair, The Barracuda in Marylebone or the Palm Beach casino in The Mayfair Hotel.
Please let me know if there's anywhere I've missed out!