We all love sipping fine champagnes, a well-executed Manhattan or a fruity Daiquiri while sitting on a plush sofa or propping up a polished marble bar. But then again, we also like sticky floors, bottled beers and dodgy jukeboxes. Dive bars are all over London and BarChick will always hold a flame high for them… let’s see what London’s got.
What is there not to love about Slim Jims?!... It’s as dark and dirty as it gets. Not only is it an underground dive bar with rock tunes, cold beers and a serious bourbon collection, but there are also bras hanging from the ceiling, hundreds of them… kinky. Ladies, if you’re broke or just up for it then hand in your bra or knickers to be added to the collection and get a free drink (leave the Victoria Secret's at home!)…
112 Upper St, Islington, London, N1 1QN
Going for the whole 1950s dive bar vibe, Aces & Eights brings you “Liquor. Rock. Pizza”, with DJs spinning beats till 3am on the weekends, and with a pub quiz on Tuesday this place is rammed with good reason most nights. They've got great cocktails and a large range of American beers, but even better there's a delivery guy based on the corner bringing thin based pizzas to your booth…
156-158 Fortess Rd, Tufnell Park, London NW5 2HP UK
This local Brixton hangout is the definition of dive in a good way. It's set over three storeys including a 200 capacity ballroom and VIP room available for hire, décor is gothy grunge with distressed Victorian finishes and the DJs are nice and diverse - Mike Skinner of The Streets used to hang out here when writing the first album..; nice lil fact. The pub turns club-like until 4am so weekends are always good, with tables cleared to make room for the dance floor/rhythm sweat pit… wear deodorant.
389 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London, SW9 8LQ
It’s all 90s backwards caps, ripped denim hotpants and biker jackets here, filled with the hot kids of East London. The aim here is to look hot and drink cheap, and BarChick is all for that. The music is a strong focus here with various DJs each night; it could be anything from 90s grunge to dubstep and house. Thursdays are huge and of course the weekends are just as jumping. Queues can happen but don’t let that put you off, just shows you how good this place is. Claustrophobic? Head somewhere else!
91 Kingsland High Street, London, E8 2PB
Around for over 50 years, and from the outside with the hand painted sign, and bright chipped paint work it’s easy to stroll past here without batting an eyelid, but you’d be missing out. It’s tiny with all sorts of tat on the walls but it feels damn inviting, especially with their kick ass 1972 jukebox that plays a selection of rock and blues. The bar downstairs opens at 5pm and BarChick loves it down here more than the upstairs. With a great beer selection including some several Spanish options and damn good Sangrita shots.
42 Hanway Street, London, W1T 1UT
Up a sinister stairwell is a dark bar with music, a trashed trendy crowd and an impressive collection of pool tables. The party goes strong till 4am so grab a beer, put a quid on the table and hang out. Music comes from the channels on the big screens, so don’t take this place too seriously. When prepping for the winning shot watch out for swaying drunks falling into you. This place is here for a good time so don’t come expecting Olympic techniques!
17B Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 8BH
This is Mecca for metal heads. Expect grimy toilets, tattooed regulars, posters and stickers along the walls and a jukebox providing the tunes… try and search for some sort of pop song to throw off the regulars! It’s small in here but if it’s busy you can take your drinks outside. After 11pm you gotta pay £2 entry, but with a 3am license it’s probs the best two quid you’ll spend in Soho. Keep drinks simple, we say hit the bourbon collections, plus there's happy hour between 4pm - 9pm every night… sorted.
17 Manette Street, London, W1D 4AS
Hidden discreetly down a side street and always heaving this is a real diamond in the rough with a kind of house party feel. Check out the menu on the wall, there's loadsa new sh*t to try, with a kinda Latin American vibe. Good beats set a cheeky and laid back tone, it’s so small that you quickly make friends, although you may have forgotten their names once the barman has had his way with you. Great pit stop bar any day, any time, although you might end up staying longer than you expected, BarChick did!
5 Ravey Street, London, EC2A 4QW
Underneath the Mexican restaurant above is Baja Rooms (Dick's Bar) and this is where it gets kinda loco! If you can make it down the ladder-like staircase without breaking your leg, then you’re in for a treat. This late night bar really kicks off, the music is fun and even the most modest of mates will be dancing on the table before closing time at 3am. Expect Margarita mayhem.
25 – 27 Brewer Street, London, W1F 0RR
In deepest darkest Dalston, this underground drinking den has Poundland like prices, open until 4am, has hot boys and easy girls and random kitsch artwork smothering the walls… one word – DIVE (but we love it). Plus there is a smoking area outside which can get a little funky. There’s snogging, a pumping sound system and unpretentious fun. Go late, never early.
58 Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 7XB
Open from 6am this place is filled with ravers from Fabric or butchers from Smithfield’s Market, what a team! This is the perfect place to fuel up if you’re up early, or head to after a massive night when you’re still going strong. Get a pint of Guinness and a ‘Butchers Breakfast’… this place is genius and the meat is as fresh as it gets. Pretty much a London landmark.
East Poultry Avenue, Smithfield Meat Market, London, EC1A 9LH
This place is classic, like some sort of kooky auntie’s living room. With a skull disco head spinning, a photo of Diana & Charles, Shakey Steven’s mirror, odd lamps & an amazing ice-cream cone chandelier, it’s safe to say they have hit their fair share of boot sales. Get involved in their INSANE happy hour; 4pm - 9pm Mon - Friday a bottle of beer, a glass of wine or a spirit and mixer is only £2.50. Make sure you’ve eaten cos this can get dangerous.
32 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9DT