Jason Allen 13/08/19
Birthdays are good for your health.
The more you have, the longer you live.
Celebrating birthdays, however, might not be quite so beneficial to the ol’ constitution. Particularly the liver. And particularly if you do it at one of these music-filled, atmospheric, and straight-up fun places for birthday drinks in London…
Old Street Records | Shoreditch
OSR is a capacious Shoreditch warehouse, covered in vintage artist posters, and shelves overflowing with a whole range of classic records. The bar offers up an eclectic programme of soul, funk, indie, hip hop and electronica, rock and classic pop music, all of which are a combination of both emerging and established record labels showcasing their up and coming talent, as well as big bands and renowned DJs. Annnnnnd they have a solid cocktail menu & freshly baked sourdough pizzas.
Numbers? Up to 100
Bookable area? Yes, you can book a drinks area at the bar, or the whole venue if you’re feeling popular – find out more HERE.
Lucky Voice | Holborn
This is karaoke – but not as you know it. Unless plush velvet seating, 30-person booths, 9,000+ songs, dress-up boxes, private minibars, controllable lighting and disco balls are the least you expect…
Numbers? Booths range from 4-30 people
Bookable area? You’ll have the booth for up to 2 hours, but there are big tables in the main bar area, too.
Bobby Fitzpatrick | West Hampstead
Bobby Fitzpatrick’s is essentially a time portal to a 1970s house party. The place is made for birthdays, and they’ll sort retro finger food, punch bowls of sharing cocktails and even a DJ for your do.
Numbers? Anything up to 150
Bookable area? You can book various rooms of the ‘house’, each holding around 40 people. Find out more HERE.
Barrio Shoreditch | Shoreditch
This uber-kitsch, Latin-vibing, colourful treat of a bar was built for parties. The drinks are reasonably priced, they go down smoothly, and you can get one served in the flaming head of a lucha libre wrestler. They’ve got a covered terrace, a dance floor, and an entire caravan-shaped booth that you can book out for yourself.
Numbers? Up to 200 for the whole venue, but there are many intermediate options.
Bookable area? Yes, several, many with their own bar. Numbers range from 35-80 people seated. Check out their venue guide (including Barrio Angel, Central and Brixton) right HERE.
Burlock | Marylebone
Burlock serves over 200 varieties of rum, in a space built to evoke the Golden Age of Havana with tropical, colonial décor including an indoor grand house veranda, and a tasting room decked out like a Havana barber shop. And like the Golden Age of Havana, they love to have a party.
Numbers? Up to 160 for the whole venue
Bookable area? Yes, you can book tables for up to 50 people – find out more HERE
TT Liquor | Shoreditch
Taking up three full storeys, TT itself is a huge, converted Victorian police station that looks like, well, like it’s been converted from a Victorian police station: brick walls, stone slab floors, and caged liquor bottles (framed by their captors with subtle low light) surround the beautifully aged wooden fittings. The upper deck is reserved for cocktail masterclasses which, despite being educational, are actually perfect for parties.
Numbers? Anywhere up to 120
Bookable area? Oh yes – you can book a cocktail masterclass for 6-20 people, a space in their vaults for 5-15 people, or an area in their bar for anywhere up to 120 people.
Evans and Peel | Earl’s Court
This secret bar, while hidden behind a bookshelf, is actually quite expansive. Once inside, you and your party can revel in the beaten white tiles, the dickie-bow-clad bar staff, and the soft lighting. You’ll all be served illegal bottles of booze in brown paper bags…you know, to avoid arousing the suspicion of the authorities.
Numbers? Up to 20
Bookable area? Yes, you can book a semi-private bar area for 20 people
Cahoots | Soho
Distract yourself from getting another year older by celebrating it in a space that feels quite a lot older – Cahoots now have two venues split across a Soho courtyard, both themed (with amazing detail) around a 1940s Underground station. Cocktails are printed on newspapers, the lights are low, and there’s always a DJ or a live swing band to keep the dancefloor moving.
Numbers? Lots of small tables, with a full venue capacity of 170.
Bookable area? Book a table, hire this train carriage for 20-40, or go full venue hire. Find out more HERE.
Below and Hidden | Clerkenwell
B&H Buildings in Clerkenwell make for the perfect birthday venue. Not because of the outdoor terrace perfect for pre-dinner drinks; or their restaurant inside a foliage-filled conservatory… but because your night will end – as all good birthdays should – in a tiny basement club with LED-lit Medieval unicorn tapestries.
Numbers? It is, as they put it, ‘no bigger than a living room’ – so depends how close you all want to get.
Bookable area? All their rooms are up for hire – find out more HERE.
Little Nan’s | Deptford
A kitsch 90s paradise, with statues of Pat Butcher, chintzy armchairs, and a (very) boozy cocktail menu scrawled in felt tip pen. You can either book an area in the main bar, or if there’s 40+ of you, you can hire each of their venues privately – and the Deptford bar even comes with its own outdoor courtyard.
Numbers? Under 40 in the main bar, 40+ in Grandad’s Shed
Bookable area? Each venue’s privately hireable – and it’s free if you’re a (relative) local. Find out more HERE.
The Aeronaut | Acton
The Aeronaut has got your every need covered. Personal booth in their back garden? Check. Singing waiters? No problem. Sharing cocktails, BBQ grub, live circus and dancing? You got it.
Bookable area? Yessir. Find out more HERE.
The Old Queen’s Head | Islington
Larry J Photography
Islington’s maximalist pub has got every base covered. Looking for an activity before moving on to the next place? Hire out their 15 person karaoke room. Want to spend the whole night there? Hire out their 70 person playroom (complete with karaoke, vintage arcade games and personal fridge full of booze). Want to keep it casual? Just tip up on a Friday or Saturday and squeeze onto the packed dancefloor upstairs, where DJs spin iconic R&B and hip-hop.
Numbers? Up to 70 for the playroom
Bookable area? Yes, the karaoke room & playroom can be hired privately, or just book a table in the downstairs pub for smaller groups. Book here
Call Me Mr Lucky | London Bridge
The first cool thing about CMML is the entrance – it’s through a Goodfellas-style bustling kitchen accessed by a secret passphrase. The second cool thing is the tequila-soaked cocktail menu. And the third is the makeshift Wheel Of Fortune on the wall which – when someone spins the arrow to land in the right place – wins a round of shots for everyone else in the bar. Now that’s a party bar.
Numbers? Up to 70 for the whole venue
Bookable area? Yes, you can hire the party vault for up to 24 guests. Contact them HERE.
Amazing Grace | London Bridge
Out of all the venues in London, a church is not usually the first place that comes to mind for birthday drinks. But Amazing Grace is knocking down those traditions. It’s a 12th century church, restored in 1703, which was converted into a live music bar in 2021. The traditional altar has transformed into the most holy dancefloor in London Bridge with period-inspired chandeliers overhanging the stage. They also have Banksy’s ‘Christ With Shopping Bags’ above the mezzanine bar…so your birthday celebration will be well and truly blessed.
Numbers? Up to 300 people for the whole venue, but there are options to hire the balcony for smaller groups
Bookable area? Yes, you can reserve a table up to 20 people, for anything larger, you can opt for half/full mezzanine balcony hire | Find out more here
The Piano Works | Farringdon, Leicester Square
The open plan, bare brick walls of this vast, 400-capacity listed Victorian warehouse puts the musicians at centre stage as they play energetic renditions of whatever pop classics the paying customers want. And the list of cocktails is lively too. Definitely a contender for a bracingly fun, big night out.
Numbers? Technically up to 400, realistically up to about 50-ish.
Bookable area? Yes, they do cocktail masterclasses, and if you have 20 people, you can even form your own band-led choir – it starts at £25pp, and goes all the way up to £60pp for the whole shebang. Find out more HERE.
Jazz Café | Camden
Live bands and funk & soul DJs take centre stage in this two-tiered Camden classic. And you can hire yourself a table – or the entire mezzanine – overlooking the action, with table service and cocktails to return to when you need a break from dancing.
Numbers? Best for bigger groups – 10 or more
Bookable area? Bag a table for 10-15, or hire the whole mezzanine for 150. Find out more HERE.
Four Quarters | Peckham
Upstairs: a whole load of retro arcade and video games to get competitive over, alongside burgers and £3 ‘mystery beers’. Downstairs: a whole load more arcade games, plus a dancefloor pumping with 90s and funk classics.
Numbers? The whole place holds about 25 (seated) upstairs, and 60 (boogie-ing) downstairs
Bookable area? You can hire a small booth with an N64 for smaller groups, or go all out and private hire the basement. Find out more HERE.
Four Thieves | Battersea
If you’re inviting a couple of different friendship groups to your birthday, a round of UV crazy golf, Street Fighter II or life-size remote control car racing should quickly quash any awkwardness.
Numbers? It’s always packed, so get there early if there’s a lot of you.
Bookable area? Not really, but you probably won’t be sitting down much anyway.
Blame Gloria | Covent Garden
BG is a hyper-kitsch basement bar inspired by the wild 70s heyday of a glamorous nana. Don’t do the maths on that, it’ll depress you. But the bar itself is all about good times – cocktail happy hours, a mini dancefloor with upbeat classics to sing along to, and vintage-styled booths for groups.
Numbers? Anything up to 250
Bookable area? They live for parties. Booths are all available to hire with buckets of booze (and even a mini doughnut wall if you’re going all out). Or you can hire a private room – find out more HERE.
Queen of Hoxton | Shoreditch
Queen of Hoxton is a triple-storeyed fun house, with DJs in the basement, a casual bar on the ground floor (home to raucous bingo nights, drag performances and karaoke with a live gospel choir) and a rooftop terrace, which changes theme every few months. But if you really want to push the boat out, they also have a private party room with your own DJ, bar, and a glowing infinity dancefloor.
Numbers? Up to 100
Bookable areas? Hire a booth in the basement for up to 15, tables in the main bar for 10-50, or the private room for 50-100. Find out more HERE.
Night Tales | Hackney
It’s a sprawling complex comprising a huge al fresco garden with street food and three bars, and a clubroom beneath a railway arch that’s played host to the likes of Rudimental, Groove Armada and Gorgon City…
Bookable area? Yep – they’ve got day beds and booths, both covered in case the rain crashes your party. Find out more HERE.
Behind This Wall | Hackney
This door does not look like it leads to your ultimate party destination. But inside, you’ll find excellent cocktails and half a dozen cosy booths perfect for small gatherings – or, go big, hire the whole venue, and win control of the DJ decks all night.
Bookable area? Yes, though they’re separate booths so you may be a little spread out if you’re not hiring the whole venue.
The Sun Tavern | Bethnal Green
Sure, it looks like a pub. But this is really a cocktail bar in disguise. It’s an 1850’s corner house that’s been converted by the team behind Discount Suit Company, and they’ve filled it with a soundtrack of old Stones, Zeppelin and Beatles records, a menu of 18th Century punches & tankard cocktails, and a dozen craft beer taps.
Numbers? Up to 35
Bookable area? Not really, as the bar area is all one space, but you can reserve the seated area at the back.
The Blues Kitchen | Shoreditch, Camden & Brixton
Some people believe that you need to visit at least three different places in an evening in order to drink Snake Venom, the world’s strongest beer at 67.5%; eat alligator tails; access 100 varieties of bourbon; tuck into a BBQ menu created by a three-time winner of the British Barbecue Championships; and listen to live blues, seven nights a week. Those people are wrong.
Numbers? Up to 150
Bookable area? Yes, so, so many. They have private rooms, banqueting tables, an Airstream caravan, drinks booths, and stage-side seating. Numbers range between a dozen and 150. Check out all the options HERE.
Moonshine Saloon | The City
It’s your birthday. Which means if you want to throw your friends into a fully immersive, Wild West-themed bar with gambling tables, smuggled alcohol and mandatory stetsons, they have to comply.
Numbers? Up to 50
Bookable area? You can hire the whole place out privately, or just book a wad of tickets.
Nightjar | Shoreditch
This place has won awards for its cocktails, and should have won awards for its speakeasy style interior, if only such a ceremony existed. There’s live jazz and blues, a dancefloor, and no reason not to go there for a party.
Numbers? Up to 85
Bookable area? Yes, but it’s a little unusual: you can either book tables for live music for up to 10 people, or you can book the whole venue for 50-85 people. Nothing in between. Minimum spends for the whole venue are quite steep, and there’s a hire fee too – but this place is worth it. Find out more HERE.
The Culpeper | Spitalfields
The Culpeper would make for a great pub to go to on any occasion, including a birthday. It’s fun, it’s lively, and they serve great beer. But head upstairs, and you’ll find its own bar serving signature cocktails; gardens supplying herbal tinctures for said cocktails; a bespoke grill from the London Log Company; a view of the City’s towering skyline; AND, an intimate, 12 – 14 seater glass Greenhouse where you can eat, drink and be merry under the sun and stars; rain, hail or shine.
Numbers? 20-ish in the pub.
Bookable area? No, but you can book the rooftop greenhouse for dinner, for up to 12 people – give them a tinkle on 020 7247 5371
Laki Kane | Islington
Even if you don’t take advantage of the distil-your-own-rum experience going on upstairs, Laki Kane makes for the perfect birthday drinks venue in London – thanks to the quirky tiki cocktails, great music, and push-for-service buttons in every booth.
Numbers? Up to 150
Bookable areas? You can book the rum experience for up to 45, or just bagsy a drinks area for the evening – find out more HERE.
Last Updated: 30th December 2021 | Main image: Blame Gloria
Want to go somewhere a little more understated? Then check out these classy places for birthday drinks…
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