A Nightlife Guide to London Bridge

London Bridge
London Bridge | © Peter Pearson/Flickr

London Travel Writer

London Bridge is probably most famous for the nursery rhyme which has long regaled children with the tale of its demise. Despite its numerous collapses, the often-rebuilt bridge was London’s only crossing over the River Thames until the mid-eighteenth century. Nowadays, London Bridge holds far more than people crossing a river – the surrounding area supports a thriving nightlife for everyone, whether that means clubs, wine bars or a quintessentially British riverside pub.

Borough Market

A great spot for food during the day, Borough Market is a different story at night. With lots of bars scattered around, there is no shortage of places to grab a drink. Emphasis here is largely on wine, with lots of wine shops around and Bedales is here to service those grapey needs well into the night. For anybody looking for something hoppier, The Globe Tavern gastropub and beer bar The Rake should suffice.

The Globe Tavern, Borough Market

Number One Bar

Looking for a late night out? Open until 6am Thursday to Saturday and until 3am the rest of the week, Number One Bar is the place to go. Dance the night away in the downstairs club and head upstairs to the smoking balcony when it’s time for a break. Upstairs is a sports bar, so pocket some balls on the English and American pool tables upstairs get cracking on some table football or smash a few table tennis aces.

Anchor Bankside

One of London’s many wonderful riverside pubs, the Anchor Bankside has been doing its thing since 1615. If that’s not proof the folks here are good at what they do, then we really don’t know what is. There’s an abundance of outdoor seating here and they’ve often got an outdoor bar open too. Even if the rustic, woody bar is rammed, people have a tendency to perch on the wall that runs along the riverside so there is plenty of space. There’s usually a busker busting out the classics in the evening too.

The Anchor Bankside

The Horniman

The Horniman is named after the notable Victorian benefactor and Liberal Member of Parliament who owned the 19th century tea warehouse in which it is found. Bearing chandeliers, a riverside terrace and friezes depicting its eponymous travels around Africa, this fine establishment does not constitute the entirety of Frederick Horniman’s legacy – he was also responsible for founding the splendid South London museum that bears his name.

The George Inn

Another delightfully British pub, The George Inn, like the Anchor Bankside, boasts a rich history. The quaint watering hole formerly served as a coaching inn from the 17th century and is now protected as a Grade I-listed building owned and leased by the National Trust. Oak beams, crackling fires and creaking floorboards characterise the homey pub, ideal for a winter’s day – which is probably why Charles Dickens frequented the place. With a beautifully picturesque and spacious outdoor courtyard, it’s also perfect for a pint on a sunny day.

The George Inn’s courtyard

The Old School Yard

Let out the child within at this school-themed cocktail bar, complete with an array of retro arcade games to liven things up. Mixing the joys of younger years with the alcohol-related perks of adulthood, The Old School Yard is the ideal playground for everyone over the age of 18. Lacking the childhood drawbacks of bullies and homework, everyone is free to chill out cocktail in hand and momentarily forget the burdensome responsibilities of elder years.

Balls Brothers

Trying to find a great place that serves wine from around the world in a cellar bar that slightly resembles a maze, but also has a terrace and a petanque pitch? Probably not, but Balls Brothers has got it all. Founded in 1860, this chain has outlets dotted all over central London. Nurse a Malbec under the exposed brickwork arches, enjoy a Chardonnay in a cosy booth or head to the outdoor terrace to sip Chablis on a sunny day.

Check out some of our other South London nightlife guides for areas like Brixton, Clapham and Peckham.

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