Top London Cabaret & Burlesque Shows
Hidden in London’s underground areas, and sometimes in plain sight, the best 10 London cabaret and burlesque venues try hard to bring back the atmosphere and glamor of a bygone era. We’ve all seen these magnificently decorated and smokey night clubs in movies. But to actually experience one in the 21st century is something completely different. Partly thanks to modern day burlesque artists like Dita Von Teese, we’ve been seeing this particular scene gaining traction and popularity once again. Cabaret and burlesque performances have always had their place in history for the past hundred years or so, with its particular nature of being sexy, funny and entertaining at the same time. These artists really do have talent, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Just because they don’t to classical theatre or anything mainstream doesn’t mean they’re not real artists in their respective trades. Fun adult entertainment that’s also classy, elegant and sophisticated can only be found in these venues that specialize in cabarets and burlesque shows. And London being the glorious city it is isn’t lagging behind with its offerings in this particular night life genre and scene. So, let’s take a look at London’s best cabaret and burlesque venues.
Probably the best place to enjoy snuff in all different flavors while in the presence of equally beautiful and talented drag queens. This small but highly intimate venue is definitely a London gem. It’s situated in an underground area that was once a Victorian public bathroom. Entrance is completely free of charge on most nights, the cocktails are delicious, and the shows are always fun to watch and listen to.
Visiting address: Zero Aldwych, London, WC2E 7DN
If you like to venture out and explore the raunchier side of town, as well as the adventurous side of your own personality, the Proud Cabaret constantly does a balancing act where they try and put out the best shows but without passing a line that would make it too sexual. Whether they succeed or not is completely up to the individual’s sensibility and taste. With that said, this venue is definitely amongst London’s better places to enjoy a night out with good cabaret and burlesque shows.
Visiting address: 1 Mark Ln, London EC3R 7AH
The Battersea Barge
Once upon a time burlesque shows were all the rage on ocean liners. A cute and cheeky spin-off can be found floating on the river Thames. The Battersea Barge is a 1930’s barge that use to transport grain that is now a proven London venue for a fun and entertaining burlesque show. The sheer amount of irreverence this venue shows its surroundings is nothing if not fun and sort of respect worthy.
Visiting address: Nine Elms Ln, London SW8 5BP
The London Burlesque Festival
BBC news calls this event the largest burlesque event and competition in the world, with good reasons to do so. This year’s final event will take place in London’s Dingwalls between the 13th and 15th of November. The biggest names in the burlesque scene perform, and the brightest new talents also try to showcase their abilities. Don’t miss this event, if for nothing else than the fact it’s corsets and stockings galore! Visit their website for more information here.
Attracting the biggest and most well known names in the cabaret scene, it’s no surprise that Soho Theatre is amongst London’s best venues for a cabaret show. The cool lighting and tightly packed club will surely get all the guests excited even before the real show begins. Everything about this venue screams cool and classy. If you like spending your nights in Soho, than make sure this place is next on your list.
Visiting address: 21 Dean St, London W1D 3NE
Black Cat Cabaret
Upon entering the Black Cat Cabaret the first thing that one notices is the distinct Parisian influence on the décor and styling but with a touch of English modernistic coolness. Traditionalists and purists can rest at ease, because it definitely gives off the Moulin Rouge vibe, just with a new world twist. Having good seats at this venue will give you a tremendous view of the stage from up close.
Visiting address: 68 Regent Street, London, W1B 4DY
Putting on the best shows in town, it’s clear why The Box deserves a place on this list. But because of its exclusivity it’s a place where most will never tread foot on. Rose Wood is a regular performer here, which is further evidence that this is a world class cabaret and burlesque venue. But entrance fees are thousands of pounds, so many will not have to chance to visit it. Pretentious? Absolutely. Is it worth it? Probably.
Visiting address: 11-12 Walker’s Ct, London W1F 0SD
House of Burlesque
Located in the West End is, arguably, one of the best venues for a night out if you’re seeking burlesque entertainment. The early shows are a great way to get to know this place and have a nice dinner before going out and about the rest of the city. One single glance at the interior and performers will make you feel like a time traveler. Described in one word, it’s absolutely fabulous!
Visiting address: 61-65 Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5BZ
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern
Mostly known for its amazing queer performances, this place definitely deserves to be on the list of London’s best cabaret and burlesque venues. During the 70s it was frequently visited by Freddie Mercury. He once helped Princess Diana dress up as a man while visiting the The Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Today it’s a bit faded, and far from what it use to be. It still remains a well known hub for gay people.
Visiting address: 372 Kennington Lane, London, SE11 5HY
Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club
There’s something cheeky and exciting about walking into a venue that doesn’t hide its broken or chipped lamp shades and slowly soaking up the atmosphere that mysteriously and immediately wants to make you smile. The quirky dress up parties here are ones where even the most stuck up SOB would be overwhelmed with the positive and laid back energy. The mood is more than friendly with a playful mischievous glow to the whole venue.
Visiting address: 42-46 Pollard Row, London, E2 6NB