Late night drinking

A few thoughts on late night drinking

The London Eye at night - worth a visit!The law changed in 2005 to allow pubs to apply for a licence to serve outside ‘normal’ hours, theoretically at any time in a 24-hour period. This means pubs can now open at the hours they would like to rather than the rather restrictive 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. they had to previously (except where licence extensions had been permitted). However, not every pub’s application has been successful and, even when they are successful, it is often difficult to find out which pubs do have late opening hours. And in any case sometimes pubs will close when the landlord feels like it.

As the pub trade is still getting to grips with the new laws, we are finding that pubs tend to cluster late-night opening at the end of the week, primarily Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. This often means they’re open just a few extra hours, say to 1 or 2 a.m. on those nights, or even just until midnight in a lot of pubs. And, despite what you might read in the media, very few places have a 24-hour licence - a recent study showed more than three quarters of late license applications were by supermarkets!

There are alternative places to go for a late-night drink, but they are more likely to be clubs and bars than pubs, and there are a few things to consider before trying getting into one. Most of these establishments have gentlemen on the door for the express purpose of keeping pissed, aggressive or unwanted punters from entering. If you are too drunk, you won’t get in.

London's riverside at nightSome places charge an entry fee around closing time. Most clubs charge to get in, for instance, but many will often let you in for free if you arrive earlier. Clubs and bars tend to have music, often making it difficult to have a conversation – if that’s what you wanted to do.

Some are obviously better than others for this sort of thing, but the venues can be variable.

If you do indulge in a late night drink, make sure you can get home – check our Getting there and back again section for more information. We also did an article in our newsletter not too long ago which might be of use.