Challenge Phil

Challenge Phil!!

Late Night Drinking Dens

My first assignment as investigative reporter for the BEAT Society was on late night drinking. With London being a city of 10 million people there is certainly a lot of choice, but I decided on Soho and Shoreditch, as this area has the highest concentration of good quality independent bars. But where do you go when they close at night?


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The Beat Society: Challenge Phil!!

Pre 11pm – 68 & BOSTON

This very cool two level bar opened last year and stays open until 2am. The ground floor is a wine bar whilst upstairs is cocktails. While waiting for friends, who were inevitably late, I spied my favorite whisky The Glenlivet 18 on their back bar and got sucked in.  This wasn’t that wise as I then had a three drink head start on some seasoned drinkers! The bar itself seemed to be  a mix of the “too cool for school” Soho types and tourists. Actually a great place to hang out and I would have gladly stayed there all night and polished off the Glenlivet but 1) my bar bill was getting big and I could envision my boss shaking his head at my expenses 2) my friends were pestering me to go to “The Ditch” and 3) I reminded myself that I was on assignment as the new intrepid reporter “The Huck” reporting for The BEAT Society. We downed three Havana 3yr daiquiris like a shot of tequila and stumbled out into the warm Soho night. Uber cab waiting and we were heading East to the land of Skinny jeans, beards, bikes and extremely annoying hipsters!. Despite this The Ditch is heavily populated with some of the coolest independent bars in the land – no actually the world! *I used to live on City Road so know the area well and used to be achingly hip myself (clearly not anymore and that was a long time ago).

Next stop NOLA bar.

12.30am – NOLA BAR

This is not only one of London’s best cocktail bars, but in my opinion the best late night bar for drinks quality. Situated across from "the also excellent" Calooh Callay on Rivington Street. It isn’t easy find, you have to walk into another bar first, Bedroom Bar, to get into NOLA. Once through the door look to the right and follow the signs up the stairs and you walk into this very welcoming sophisticated atmosphere. Again a bartender/locals hangout and a great drinks list featuring mainly New Orleans classics. This bar has already been nominated for a Tales of the Cocktail award and "Ian McIntyre" part owner is normally holding court and mixing drinks. I decided being late it was time for more Chivas 18 and a Montecristo Cigar so went out to the terrace. It seemed to be a mix of couples on a date and very loud industry folks (our party). If you are looking for somewhere raucous to misbehave then this isn’t the place so we decided to make our excuses and head onto somewhere to see out the night in style. 

NB *New late night restaurant Tujacks is situated downstairs and serves great Creole/Cajan snacks.


Situated on Old St roundabout this place, from ground level, doesn’t look like much but all the action goes on underground. When I arrived the bouncer told me they were closed, but I knew this was total B.S. I started dropping names and I was in and downstairs where all hell was breaking loose. Now this is a late night bar!!! The bar is run by infamous London luminary "Russell Burgess" who being an Arsenal fan has become my nemesis (Im a Spurs fan!). Fortunately he wasn’t there and his more than able deputy Daniel was running the scene. They have great DJs here and everyone is in full scale party mode. I had just ordered a Beefeater and Tonic before tequila shots were being handed to me and the rest as they say is history. This place has lots of dark corners and hidden seating so if you want to get up to no good then the opportunity is there! Again great back bar and drinks selection for a late night bar so you’re not having to drink rot gut vodka and toffee liquer. I wish I could tell you who I spoke to, about what, and the time I left, but I honestly don’t remember. I just recall waking up on my couch fully clothed at 9am with one hell of a hangover! A great night – first mission accomplished!


The Pink Chihuahua – Brewer St – (Soho)

Opium Bar – (Chinatown)

Experimental Cocktail Club – (Chinatown)

Be At One – Greek St – (Soho)

Duck & Waffle – Bishopsgate – (City)

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