Nightlife Worth Getting Dolled Up For in London


Boogietime, Cheapos. Photo by marfis

By Lara Kavanagh in London—Cheapos clean up well. It’s the time of the year when the last of the Christmas turkey has disappeared into the trash, and the New Year hangover is receding. January can be a bit of a downer, but luckily London has a year-round calendar of fun nights out, many of them involving a bit of creative fancy dress. Here are three London events worth getting dressed up for.

Grind A Go Go

One of the most lighthearted and creative nights out in London town, Grind A Go Go never disappoints with its line-up of 60s garage rock, RnB and pop, and its intervals of good-humoured burlesque. Expect make-up and hair inspired by Swinging London, plenty of false eyelashes and heaps of patterned polyester. The stage is backlit with a giant heart-shaped set piece, and ice-cold bottles of Peroni are on hand to cool everyone down when the dancefloor gets heated up.

Dress code: Serious 60s retro, beehives, tassles, miniskirts, drainpipe suits, old-fashioned gameshow hosts

Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club
42-46 Pollard Row
E2 6NB
Once a month, normally second Saturday 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Price: £8
Tel: 020 7739 7170

La Belle Époque

Going further back in time, La Belle Époque takes visitors to turn-of-the-twentieth-century Paris, with a bohemian evening complete with absinthe-inspired cocktails, can-can dancers and an aerial show, all in nostalgic celebration of the weird and wonderful golden age. The soundtrack takes its cue from French music halls, and you’re encouraged to go all out on your costume.

Dress code: Tortured artists, silk and feathers, top hats, cabaret, corseted courtesans, Moulin Rouge

Shoreditch Studios
29 New Inn Yard
Next event Saturday 29th January 2011, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Price: £20
Tel: 020 7724 1617

The Candlelight Club

One of the most recent additions to the city’s fine choice of vintage events is the elegant Candlelight Club, a civilized pop-up affair held in secret locations, and a calmer alternative to the more frenetic dress-up events. Guests are led into a room of intimate candlelit tables, and can choose from a list of specially designed cocktails (one free with every ticket purchase) and an array of superb, creative sandwiches (also included in the price). Later on there’s live music, dancing and a throwback DJ to bring it all together.

Dress code: 1920s decadence and swagger, faux-fur throws, bow ties, Brylcreem, sequinned headbands

Changing location – see website for details
Next event 15th January 2011, approx. 7.30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Price: £15

About the author

Lara Kavanagh

About the author: Lara Kavanagh is a travel editor and freelance writer based in London, and has also had the great pleasure of living in and writing about Paris. Top vintage shopping, great food and quirky nightlife are her favourite things about London.

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