You’re skint / it’s the end of the month / you got towed / you’re an intern in some over trendy company that doesn’t pay you.
Well forget sipping on trendy Martinis in London’s hottest hotel bars, and cut back on the spending a bit. Here are some ideas if you decide to go for the first option (you can do better than Vodka Revs after happy hour at Wetherspoons)… although BarChick has been known to enjoy their delights in her youth.
GO WEST FORGET THE REST
If you want to flash the Chelsea card with a new date, but then when you get there you realise you can only afford one cocktail… to share, then this place is the answer. Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s a mozzarella bar (it’s pretty tasty) because these guys do some really good cocktails and better still they’re only £5.75. Drink Bellinis and Aperol Spritz for a fraction of the usual price and as long as she doesn’t see the bill you’ll be laughing.
96 Draycott Avenue, London, SW3 3AD
CENTRAL, CHEAP AND NAUGHTY – JUST HOW WE LIKE IT
Look for the blue door on Soho’s Greek Street, ring the bell and then head downstairs until you get to the bar. First dates might get suspicious at this point, but it’s always worth seeing the look on their face when they see this genuine Soho secret for the first time. The drinks are super cheap, the music is great and you never know who/what you’ll find down there… all that fun without dropping the dollar.
57 Greek Street, Soho, London, W1D 3DX
It doesn’t exist before twelve – perfect. To get in you have to ring a buzzer and get past the security camera (the barman can see you out there). If you look suitably seedy enough, you’re in. Stick to the bottles in here, it’s cheap for a reason. But as you stumble out in the daylight hours, wallet intact, you’ll know that you made the right call.
52 Dean Street, London, W1D 5BJ
Central London can be tricky on the cheap, but these Spaniards have your back. They’ve got a wicked jukebox pumping out blues/rock anthems and some good Spanish beers. If you’re here for a daytime session then hang around until about 5pm – this is when the door opens to the downstairs which is set over three levels. Leave your card at home and hit the tequila with a smile!
42 Hanway Street, London, W1T 1UT
You wouldn’t usually put saving money and strip bars together… but these guys are heroes! With pub prices on their drinks, all the football on the telly and all-day access to the “theatre” downstairs for £15, you could end up a lot worse off elsewhere. Just be strong and resist the urge to get a lap dance cos then it will not be so cheap… but more fun, right?
30 Dean Street, London, W1D 3SA
GO EAST, DRINK CHEAP AND BE MERRY
There’s nothing that gets East London going more than a good moustache – they wear them with pride around here. So what could be better than a moustache bar? Not much apparently! This is a local favourite, and it’s not hard to see why – open till super late, hot crowd, kitsch is king and the music will always keep you guessing and dancing. You would think that they would charge a lot for all that, but guess again.
58 Stoke Newington Rd, London N16 7XB
Like Moustache Bar down the road, it’s all about hot East London kids, music genres mixed like someone hit shuffle, Poundland prices and a night that you won’t forget. You’ll quickly understand why it gets so busy and you’ll stay twice as long (and not just because the drinks are so cheap).
91 Kingsland High Street, London, E8 2PB
Dalston is the Daddy of cheap fun and it’s going on all over the place. So this is/was a gay bar but that’s not really the point here, bring your best dance moves and get involved. The upstairs is a bit more chilled, so have a couple of drinks and then head downstairs for something a bit dirtier… nice big bass lines!
117 Kingsland High Street, London E8 2PB
Jaguar Shoes, E2 - If you want dirty and cheap, this is where to get it. That’s not a bad thing in Shoreditch – there’s something about this place that just makes you love it. Maybe it’s the low lighting, maybe it’s the changing artwork on the walls or the good crowd. Either way, you’ll be happy you decided to save the pennies in here.
32-34 Kingsland Road, Shoreditch, London, E2 8DA
The building used to be a squat, so they have solid cheapskate roots. Nice start! They sorted things out with the council, and it’s now been turned into a fair-trade, hippy-friendly kinda place, where you might walk in on anything from a film night and dance lessons, to a late-night jam session or a communal dinner (3.50 a head for food)… bargain! You won’t get bored people/cat (he’s called Tony) watching in here, that’s for sure.
1 Richmond Rd, London, E8 4AA
Most “secret” bars are in fact the opposite nowadays… but this place is a little out of the ordinary anyway. Tucked away deep in Hackney, it’s not very clear when they close, or whether they really are a bar and not just a living room/chilled out house party. Just suss it out gently, figure out who you have to slip some coins to for a drink and enjoy an authentic East London experience.
428 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4AA
SHOP CHEAP, DRINK CHEAP
If you’re after a great drink but you weren’t sensible the week after pay day, then head down to Brixton Market. Try the Bramble – it’s all gin and blackberries in a tea cup and you get a tiny blueberry muffin on the side. Their cocktails are a fiver each, so try the lot – it don’t get better than cheap cocktails this good!
Unit 7, Market Row, London, SW9 8LB
It’s like a technicolor log shack diner in here, with pot plants and bright things everywhere. The drinks are simple: £5 for a double spirit and fresh juice. Think tequila & grapefruit or gin & pomegranate – they’re simple and delicious. Otherwise, they’ll sort you out with a pint of Mojito for a fiver and if that’s not enough they’ll stay open till late with the vinyl spinning. Heaven.
49 Ridley Road, Dalston, London, E8 2NP