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How to Party in London Without Going Broke

London Insider Guides Budget Travel
by Natalie Ashett Jul 31, 2012
Tips from Matador community expert Natalie Ashett on how to party for cheap during the Olympics.
Employ social media.

Every day in London there’s a different pop-up event, free giveaway, special offer, or PR event. Keeping up with what’s going on requires keeping your phone, tablet, or laptop tuned in.

Secret London (@secret_london) on Twitter has recommendations any time you need to know the cheapest cocktail bar in your area, where there’s a free comedy show, or if a restaurant is doing a giveaway.

London for Free posts daily updates and a weekly round-up of free events in London on their Facebook page. I’ve heard about everything from new phone apps to exhibitions and launch parties through them.

Also on Facebook, Handpicked London gives an overview of upcoming events. And they run satellite sites for specific areas, including Handpicked Hackney, Handpicked Brixton, and Handpicked Shoreditch.

Mix drinks with art.

Free drinks in London are a possibility, if you know where to look, and cheap (by London standards) is absolutely doable.

Begin by visiting London’s small independent art galleries. Many are out in the trendy east, but the ones most likely to lay on free wine are in the West End, around Mayfair.

Cork Street is just off Saville Row and always has bottomless glasses of wine for visitors. Damien Hirst’s shop on Bond Street, Other Criteria, usually pours copious amounts of free gin.

In the east, Time Out’s First Thursdays are on the first Thursday of every month. Most of these events center around Vyner Street, where if there aren’t any free drinks, they’ll at least be cheap and you’re also welcome to bring your own.


In addition to almost all the Chinese and Vietnamese places around the East End and Shoreditch, Hurwundeki in Bethnal Green allows you to BYOB. A regular cafe in the day, they open an amazing Korean restaurant at night. Bring your own vino to compliment their small (but delicious) menu.

In Hackney, Little Georgia is a cosy place for a dinner for two or a night out with friends. Their staff won’t say a word about the collection of empty bottles on your table.

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