The Definitive London Travel Guide HTML version

Live Music and Clubs
Don't believe the Cool Britannia hype; London has had a
bewilderingly large range of places to go after dark for the last
twenty years. The live music scene remains extremely diverse,
encompassing all variations of rock, blues, roots and world
music; and although London's jazz clubs aren't on a par with
those in the big American cities, there's a highly individual scene
of home-based artists, supplemented by top-name visiting
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If you're looking for dance music , then welcome to Europe's
party capital. After dark, London is thriving, with diverse scenes
championing everything from hip-hop to house, techno to trance,
samba to soca and drum'n'bass to R&B on virtually any night of
the week. Venues once used exclusively by performing bands
now pepper the week with club nights, and you often find dance
sessions starting as soon as a band has stopped playing. Bear
in mind that there's sometimes an overlap between "live music
venues" and "clubs" in the listings; we've indicated which places
serve a double function.
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The already relaxed attitude to late night bars has become more
liberal in the recent years. So far, though, the main
consequence of the restrictions on late night drinking laws has
been the rapid growth and diversity of club-bars , places which
are essentially bars, but cater for a clubby crowd - funky décor,
DJs, late opening hours and ridiculously overpriced foreign
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The dance and club scene is, of course, pretty much in constant
flux, with the hottest items constantly moving location, losing the
plot or just cooling off. Weekly listings magazines like Time Out,
DJ and 7 give up-to-date details of prices and access, plus
previews and reviews.
Classical Music, Opera and Dance
With the South Bank, the Barbican and the Wigmore Hall
offering year-round appearances by generally first-rank
musicians and numerous smaller venues providing a stage for
less established or more specialized performers, the capital
should satisfy most devotees of classical music . What's more,
in the annual Promenade Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall,
London has one of Europe's greatest, most democratic music