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 late night dinner 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 food in London.
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 some of the list being made up of 24 hour restaurants in London.
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. We’ve included all-day brasseries, hotel restaurants, bars and bakeries so whether you’re in the mood for a plate of pancakes, a round of tacos or top-quality Cantonese cuisine after a few weekend cocktails, you’re sure to find it among this list of late night restaurants in London. 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 No.60, Soho
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 four hours’ beauty sleep, meaning you can mix burgers with breakfast treats, and cocktails with coffee, until 5am (from Wednesday to Saturday); 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: 60-62 Old Compton Street, W1D 4UG
Book now: Balans Soho Society No.60
Bar Italia, Soho
What: One of Soho’s most beloved institutions, you haven’t really lived if you haven’t pulled an all-nighter and stopped at Bar Italia for a strong Italian double espresso to keep you going up until 4am. You can normally snag a panino or a slice of torta della nonna here too if you’re feeling peckish, and if you miss the late night there's always the early morning, as it reopens at 7am.
Where: 22 Frith Street, W1D 4RF
Book now: Bar Italia
El Camion, Soho
What: If you’ve ever seen a flurry of activity and a bouncer outside a busy looking cantina on Brewer Street, you were probably looking at El Camion, which serves tacos, quesadillas and more into the early hours. There’s also a hidden cocktail bar underneath called the Pink Chihuahua that serves spicy margaritas into the early morning.
Where: 25-27 Brewer Street, W1F 0RR
Book now: El Camion
Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour, Chinatown
What: Opium is a funny place, where the 1950s Hong Kong glam meets dimmed red mood lighting in a higgledy-piggledy old townhouse in Chinatown. Finding the door is just the beginning of the adventure, which also takes in solid cocktails made with homemade ingredients, and baskets of steaming dim sum.
Where: 15-16 Gerrard Street, W1D 6JE
Book now: Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour
Duck & Waffle, Liverpool Street
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
Book now: Duck & Waffle
La Bodega Negra, Soho
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 on Fridays and Saturdays.
Where: 9 Old Compton Street, W1D 5JF
Book now: La Bodega Negra
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
Book now: VQ
MEATliquor, Various locations
Why: After a night out, sometimes only a carby meat-filled burger will hit the spot. At MEATliquor 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 3am 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
Book now: MEATliquor W1
Beigal Bake, Shoreditch
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
Book now: Beigel Bake
Three Eight Four, Brixton
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
Book now: Three Eight Four
Polo Bar, Liverpool Street
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
Book now: Polo Bar
As well as restaurants open late, there are plenty of watering holes that stay open into the early hours. Most of London's best cocktail bars are open well past midnight, so you can always stop by for a little post dinner drink or a warm up for the big night to come. You might even snag a bar snack if you're lucky!