Blessed with a seemingly endless supply of old-school boozers like the beautiful (in and out) Grade II-listed The Mitre, the Paddington district is well off, indeed, for those wishing to savour a pint in a particularly traditional environment, on a sojourn away from the likes of the Grand Royale London Hyde Park. And yet, both Paddington and its very nearby neighbouring districts also feature a few tucked-away nightlife spots that are more than worth unearthing…
(10a Strathearn Place W2 2NH)
If you have romantic notions of what made Britain great at the apex of its global power in the 19th Century (i.e. you’re a stickler for Victoriana) then this most traditional of pubs in the evening watering hole for you. Less wearing it’s old-fashioned, city pub credentials on its sleeve, more waving them in your face as a handkerchief pulled from its top pocket; The Victoria is all about the paraphernalia. Here then you’ll espy not just the usual old-school likes of floral patterned wallpaper and mirrors with beautiful fleur-de-lis details, a clock that recognisably dates from 1864, sepia-tanned prints of 19th Century army regiments and a newspaper’s front page, framed on a wall, that heralds the coronation of, yes, Queen Victoria herself.
Elsewhere, this classic public house – located just across the road from Hyde Park – is simply all about the authenticity. Quite clearly once split into two traditional ‘public’ and ‘saloon’ bar sections, today the downstairs is characterised by a comforting, welcoming roaring fireplace, while the upstairs enjoys its share of fireplaces too, along with appealing settees and sagacious armchairs that, as a whole, gives off something of an ancient gentleman’s club feel. What’s more, Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin were once purported to be this pub’s regulars – at different times, one assumes!
(12 Acklam Road W10 5QZ)
A swish, stylish bar-restaurant-cum-nightclub, Mode is, yes, very à la mode and, therefore, a perfect fit as a nightclub venue in the elegant yet ever increasingly trendy, near-to-Paddington environs of Notting Hill (and so probably a perfect fir too if you’re living it up by taking advantage of the Premier Club Rewards scheme). When you get down to the fine detail you may find a slight downside to this establishment in that it’s only open for bookings on Saturday and Sunday nights but, frankly, an (ahem) modish place – and then some – it’s highly likely this may be something of a passing fad and, as its clientele demands something else, it’ll open up its bookings for weeknights and, indeed, adopt something of a different theme when it comes to its interiors and general vibe.
Away from all that sort of thing, though, despite the place’s food, drinks and music changing with the wind somewhat (an important trait as this is the kind of place that survives and thrives by keeping with it and remaining a ‘young’ feel), an ongoing feature is its ‘Mode Live’ night that presently takes place each and every Thursday evening. Admirably and impressively, this is a platform not just for headline acts but new talent too – you can’t knock that. And, frankly, every experience of the place is topped off by the chance to dance the night away to some top tunes.
The Lyndhurst Club
(74 Allitsen Road NW8 7BG)
Lying slap-bang in the centre of St. John’s Wood – the generally aspirational beyond Regent’s Park slightly to the north of Paddington – this place claims to have been around for nearly 25 years now, but frankly seems like it’s brand new for the capital. That’s because it’s really quite a rare beast – an authentic yet upmarket Japanese karaoke lounge right in the heart of a British metropolis.
Comprising a total four spaces – three small-ish private-hire rooms and a main, far larger one, where dancing’s the order of the day (or, rather, of the evening) – spread across three floors, the establishment prides itself on the notion that each room has its own distinct look and feel but, frankly, every one of them follows the reassuring décor direction of soft lighting, a stylish vibe and agreeable intimacy, with hostess-provided customer service the expected norm. So, if you’re up for something of a genuine karaoke experience with a London-ish twist (while staying somewhere nearby, no doubt, like the Park Grand hotel Kensington), this might be the venue for you.