As much as London would like to call itself the city that never sleeps, unfortunately a lot of it does. Just when your night out is coming to an end and all you want is some greasy carb-filled goodness to line your stomach and cushion the next day’s hangover, most restaurants are getting ready to shut their doors. You could always visit a well-known fast food chain to get your fill, but as the UK’s market-leading independent restaurant guide, we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t present you with some classier alternatives for late-night dining.
Thankfully, more and more of London’s trendiest restaurants open late these days (nights?), so no matter where you are in the city or what you fancy eating – late-night sashimi craving, anyone? – we’ve compiled a solid list of restaurants open late to choose from. Closing times at these joints range from fairly early (midnight/1am) to not at all, with around a third open 24/7.
And before you decide that a plate of food cooked in the early hours can’t possibly be decent-quality, we’d like to point out that we’d never include anywhere that would even think of serving sub-standard food. In fact, four of our picks hold SquareMeal Gold Awards meaning they are among the very best restaurants London has to offer.
We’ve included all-day brasseries, hotel restaurants, bars and bakeries so whether you’re in the mood for a plate of pancakes after working late, a round of tacos following a night out in Soho or a plate of top-quality Cantonese cuisine after a few weekend cocktails, you’re sure to find it among this list of late-night restaurants. We recommend bookmarking this page on your phone so you can call it up even in your bleariest moments and avoid that trip to Maccy D’s you’re sure to regret in the morning.
Balans Soho Society
What: After nightfall, this London-wide chain of laid-back all-day brasseries dedicates itself to the artfully lost evening. The Soho branch closes for a scant two hours’ beauty sleep, meaning you can mix burgers with breakfasty treats, and cocktails with coffee, until 5am; or pop in for a hangover breakfast if you’re still wandering Soho’s street the morning after the night before. Late-night deliveries are also available.
Where: Balans Soho Society, 60-62 Old Compton Street, W1D 4UG
Bar Boulud at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
What: Buzzing at all hours of the day, and a large part of the night (12pm/1am), this luxe destination in the basement of the Mandarin Oriental mixes clever design with top-drawer Franco-American brasserie food, on-the-ball service and a formidable wine list. This is the place to find off-duty chefs unwinding over a late supper – and if the food’s good enough for them…
Where: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, SW1X 7LA
Duck & Waffle
What: It’s not London that started the trend for calling itself the city that never sleeps; nevertheless, at Duck & Waffle you can pull an all-nighter in true New York style. The 40th floor restaurant’s round-the-clock service will take you effortlessly from dusk 'til dawn, throwing in a sunrise that lights up the whole cityscape for good measure. Toast your stamina with a breakfast mimosa.
Where: 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY
Hakkasan Hanway Place
What: With its black-lacquered interiors, barely-there lighting and sexy vibe, Hakkasan is ideal for night owls, and from Thursdays to Sundays it’s open until 12.15am. The luxed-up Cantonese cuisine, sizzling cocktails, blingy price tag and hip atmosphere make this evergreen destination the perfect location for dates that you don’t want to end – or any occasion when you want to feel like a VIP.
Where: 8 Hanway Place, W1T 1HD
Hoi Polloi at Ace Hotel
What: This all-day hotspot has a work hard, play hard mentality that suits forever-young London – the kitchen doesn’t down tools until 12M. The interiors are a design obsessive’s dream; which consequently means the space is packed with fashionable creatives who imbue it with a money-can’t-buy buzz from cocktail o’clock until the stroke of midnight. Follow them to the after-party.
Where: 100 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JQ
La Bodega Negra
What: A feverish search for a sex shop might sound like a throwback to a different sort of Soho all-nighter, but pick the right place and you’ll find Will Ricker’s Mexican-themed den of decadence awaiting you in the cellar. Tequila and mezcal are the liquors of choice at La Bodega Negra to get the party started, and the dining and drinking hedonism carries on until 1am.
Where: 9 Old Compton Street, W1D 5JF
What: 24/7 dining is the name of the game at this Chelsea favourite, which blazed a trail for all-day, all-night fun when it opened more than 20 years ago. Its modern, minimalist interior works for both bright-as-a-button breakfasts and brunches, as well as the diner-style dinners and fun-times cocktails offered at the loucher end of the day. Twenty-four hour breakfasts are a particular forte at VQ.
Where: 325 Fulham Road, SW10 9QL
Why: After a night out, sometimes only a carby meat-filled burger will hit the spot. At Meat Liquor not only will you get the meatiest of burgers slathered in cheese, but all its meat is marinated in, you guessed it, liquor. Now may be the time to try the hair of the dog method as your hangover cure of choice. It's open until midnight too so if that late-night burger craving hits, you know the place to pay a visit.
Where: 6 St Chad's Place, WC1X 9HH
Why: Hailed as one of the oldest jazz clubs in the world, you don’t even need to leave the club to get a late night bite here. Dishes from the main menu include bouillabaisse of lobster, globe artichoke and jamon iberico. If you’re after a 1am pick-me-up, however, the small plates, sandwiches and sharing plates are served all night at the bar in Ronnie Scott's.
Where: 47 Frith Street, W1D 4HT
Why: How does sushi at 1am sound? If the idea of eating raw fish that late at night is appealing to you then you’ll be happy to know that Sushisamba is open until 2am from Wednesday to Saturday. On the menu you’ll find small plates of shrimp tempura, ezo samba rolls and tako sashimi. Who said restaurants open late in London were limited to burgers and chips?
Where: 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY
Why: A legendary staple on Brick Lane, Beigel Bake is open 24 hours a day and serves up the best salt beef bagels in town. In fact, heading to this uber popular spot at night might be the best time to go if it’s a quick snack you're after because queues for this bakery get long. For many, it's worth the wait, but if you stumble in at 5am, queues are unlikely to be an issue.
Where: 159 Brick Lane, E1 6SB
Three Eight Four
Why: Reasonably-priced food is usually a must when you're after it at 12am, which is why Three Eight Four is ideal for late night small plates. You can try chilli and garlic squid, chicken wings and a s’more sharer with melted chocolate covered marshmallows to finish. It has a bar too so if you want to carry on drinking you can enjoy a cocktail or two here.
Where: 384 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LF
Why: Open 24/7, whether you're after a stack of pancakes at 2am or a burger at 9am, Polo Bar has you covered. Putting emphasis on the all-day menu you can pop in for a bite to eat before heading down to Liverpool Street Station (which is just opposite, by the way) to make your way home. Opening in 1953 this restaurant has had over 60 years to perfect its comfort food.
Where: 176 Bishops Gate, EC2M 4NQ
As well as restaurants open late, there are plenty of watering holes that stay open into the early hours. Check out our list of the best late-night bars in London.