24-hour alcohol licences may be open to those able and willing to apply for them, but sometimes it’s decent food you want at midnight and beyond, more so than drinks. Or at the very least a combination of both. Whether it’s because your appetite is lagging back home with the jet you flew in on or that you’re in such good company you forgot to obey the laws of feeding times, we’ve listed our top places guaranteed to fill your boots and your bellies when everyone else has declared it closing time.
It’s late night and you’re in Soho: there are a few situations you might arguably be less than surprised to find yourself in, but walking into a self-declared sex shop when you’ve booked a table for tacos and cocktails could be classified as one. There is a bright pink neon sign declaring the less than salubrious alter-ego of La Bodega Negra, but rest assured that upon confirming your reservation and descending the stairs into the nightclub atmosphere, there will be no scantily clad entertainers dancing on your table or back-room antics to contend with. Darkness and probably some raised voices, yes, but there will also be tacos, ceviche, quesadillas and more tequila cocktails than you can reasonably put away in the 2-hour time slot you’re limited to. There is also a lighter, more publicity-friendly taqueria up on Moor Street, but it’s the owlish hidden cousin that you want in the earlier hours of the morning.
9 Old Compton Street, W1D 5NH
Mon- Sat noon-1am, Sun noon-11.30pm
If it’s more the traditional burners and shakes that you’re craving, the Tinseltown chain should keep you stand across the capital. With booth seating, TVs blaring music videos and serving up greasy comfort food that will do the opposite to your stomach lining, this is late-night cheeky eating at its most pleasurably guilty.
35 Great Portland Street, London W1W 8QQ
Meal served Sunday noon to 12am, noon – 1:00am Mon – Thurs, Fri – Sat noon – 1:30am, noon-12am Sun.
Sticking with the American theme but at the other side of the portion and atmospheric spectrum, Spuntino is here to save your palate. The people who brought Polpo and Polpetto to London have cast a Brooklyn glaze over this late-night cocktail bar and diner: specialising in sliders, burger and hot dogs, there is also a deletable truffle egg toast, a nod to health with a smattering of salads, and artery hardeners such as the fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich, for dessert. It’s purposefully not easy to find and doesn’t take reservations or even have a phone number, but a stool at the bar should be yours if you stagger along fashionably late enough.
61 Rupert Street, W1D 7PW
Meals served noon-12.45am Mon-Sat; noon-11pm Sun
Ever get that craving for waffles and duck at 3am after a night wandering around the City? Well then what are you doing here, you should be up on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower ordering it at Duck and Waffle, obviously. Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and round-the-clock munchies 24 hours a day in addition to wine and cocktails, these are possibly the most spectacular views you’re going to get with your late-night indulgence across the whole of London.
40th Floor, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY Cross Street:Heron Tower
Opening hours:Breakfast served 6-10.30am, lunch served 11.30-3.30pm Mon-Fri. Brunch served 9am-3.30pm Sat, Sun. Dinner served 5.30pm-11pm, limited menu served midnight-6am daily
You can try singing for your supper at the Royal Dragon Karaoke in Chinatown, but you’re likely going to have to pay for it anyway. From Dim Sum to fine Cantonese dining and late-night drinking, the Royal Dragon Karaoke ticks the essential boxes, and is even reliably tasty to boot: deep-fried shredded beef or squid in salt and pepper, kung po chicken, crab steamed in wine sauce… the extensive and generous menu will fuel your singing voice and keep you going until the 3am closing time.
30 Gerrard Street, W1D 6JS
Dinner served 5.30pm-3am daily.
There are a few London locations, but the original Maroush Lebanese restaurant in Marble Arch has been running for over 30 years now and is as popular as ever. Split over two levels, it can hold more than 150 people at any one time, not including the later night Lebanese belly dancers and live musicians. Come for the houmous, fattoush and felafel, stay for the drinks, dancing and service until 2am. Once you’re finally full and ready for bed, you’ll be glad to know your every hotel is mere steps away ready to welcome you back in the heart of London’s West End.
21 Edgware Road, W2 2JE
Meals served noon-1.30am daily