For those who love wacky shows, unusual performances and sparkling entertainment, London has an excellent selection of venues and clubs to watch cabaret in London. From drag performers to burlesque shows to entertaining comedy bits, here’s our rundown of the capital’s best spots for cabaret:
1. The London Cabaret Club
The London Cabaret Club combines fine dining, world-class performances and flawless service all in the one location. Founded back in 2013, the club is now located in the Bloomsbury Ballroom in Holborn – an elegant 1920’s Art Deco building.
Each year, they introduce fresh and innovative shows that above all celebrate the UK’s rich and multicultural heritage. Each show is developed with regard to the seasons, the London social calendar and specific musical themes. The seasonal menus are composed of the finest ingredients to explore all kinds of flavours and show off the talent of the renowned chefs.
Overall, a visit here will mean you can enjoy a memorable evening with stars from London’s West End, sensational choreography and some pretty magical costumes.
You’ll find The London Cabaret Club at Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, Holborn, WC1B 4DA. Nearest station is Holborn.
With award-winning acrobats, comedians and drag performers, alongside classic burlesque and breathtaking aerialists and fire artists – there’s something for everyone at the Proud Embankment. The Proud Group has been revolutionising nightlife in London for almost two decades and offers some of the greatest and best cabaret in London, bringing the art form back to centre stage.
With a capacity of 750, the magnificent two-storey venue hosts a professional and dynamic performance showcasing world-class cabaret and circus acts, accompanied by delicious cocktails and a fine menu. After the performances, DJs take over so you’ll be able to dance until the wee hours.
On Fridays and Saturdays, you can enjoy the ‘Secret Burlesque Society’, where you’ll be entertained with an evening of circus and classic burlesque accompanied by a cocktail, tasting platter or three-course meal. Every Thursday, the ‘Big Top Burlesque’ offers an eclectic programme that stuns with contortionists, acrobats and fire breathers. You’ll find it easy to follow their motto: ‘leave your inhibitions at the door and let us amaze you‘.
Even better – as of September they’ve got the all-singing, all-dancing ‘West Side Story Cabaret’ – a spectacular show that combines showtunes with contemporary music to deliver a fabulously entertaining theatrical experience. Sit back as the show’s cast of fire breathers, singers, dancers and acrobats sweep you off your feet. Get your tickets here.
You will find Proud Embankment at 8 Victoria Embankment, WC2R 2AB. Nearest station is Temple.
3. The Illusioneer
A great evening of mystery and laughter in a cosy atmosphere is provided by The Illusioneer. They offer regular events in Herne Hill and Dulwich, enchanting audiences with various different forms of magic and illusion. Each talented magician will surprise you with his or her skills, and everyone in the audience can take part at some point in the show. Every now and then, guest artists and special features mix up the programme.
Perhaps even more of a reason to visit – they supports a special charity called Breathe Arts Health Research, which uses magic, occupational therapy and creative arts techniques to improve the health and well-being of children.
You’ll find The Illusioneer at 7 Shardcroft Avenue, Herne Hill, SE24 0DS. Nearest station is Herne Hill.
4. The Black Cat Cabaret
Have you ever seen a fire-eating woman? Well, if this image is something that you really want to make a reality, then make sure you head to The Black Cat Cabaret in Piccadilly.
Creating fresh thrilling performances and nightlife experiences since 2012, they’re certainly one of the best cabarets in London with shows playing across numerous different clubs. Exceptional performers and show-makers come together to create one hell of a spectacular show, combining features of contemporary cabaret, circus, music, choreography and design with the highest standards of theatre. Add in some good old dirty jokes and great slapstick comedy and you’ve got yourself one hell of a great night out here.
You’ll find The Black Cat Cabaret at 20 Sherwood Street, W1F 7ED. Nearest station is Piccadilly Circus.
5. The Phoenix Arts Club
You can find the lively and nostalgic theatre bar and restaurant of the Phoenix Arts Club tucked away beneath the old Phoenix Theatre. Signed posters, paintings and pictures from decades of theatre productions and a restored Art Deco interior create a very special ambience indeed.
The artistic programme is one of the most diverse in London and aims to bring the best new and emerging artists to the West End. This includes LGBTQ+ entertainment, cabaret, musical theatre, opera and more.
It’s worth noting that there is a NOTAFLOF (not turned away for lack of funds) programme for many of the shows here. Those who cannot afford a ticket have the possibility to request a free ticket with an email – winner, winner!
You’ll find the Phoenix Arts Club at 1 Phoenix Street, WC2H 8BU. Nearest station is Tottenham Court Road.
6. The Vaults
It’s very easy to get engulfed by the underground maze of tunnels at The Vaults. Set within a fascinating labyrinth of abandoned railway arches under Waterloo station, all visitors and artists who have an inclination for the unusual, the daring and the unknown are invited to come together here. Known for its immersive theatre and alternative art, it’s one of the best spots in town if you’re looking to find a real one-of-a-kind experience.
Even better yet, from Autumn 2022, The Vaults will also be offering ‘pay what you can’ tickets, which are valid for Wednesday and Sunday performances. This will support those visitors who may otherwise not be able to afford the entrance fee. They’re also particularly committed to the LGBTQ+ community, and want to prove that sustainability does not hinder business, but can promote it.
You’ll find The Vaults at Leake Street, SE1 7NN. Nearest station is Waterloo.
7. The London Reign Showclub
The London Reign Club was launched in 2017 as London’s first show club by the team behind ‘Drama’ and ‘Cirque Le Soir’. The private members’ club is all about dazzling performances, glitz and glamour and showtime decor – so lovers of the eccentric will certainly get their money’s worth here.
The programme includes circus-like performances with daredevil stunts, traditional musical acts and DJs. You won’t hear traditional cabaret music here, but instead, house and electronic music give the show a real modern touch.
Please note that there is an ‘elegant’ dress code in this exclusive club. Sportswear and trainers are not allowed so make sure you bear that in mind!
You’ll find The London Reign Showclub at 215-217 Piccadilly, W1J 9HN. Nearest station is Piccadilly Circus.
8. The Box
Rounding off this list of cabaret in London is one of the city’s most famous – and exclusive – venues. The Box in Soho is perhaps best known for its daring shows, which are a delicious mix of sexy, fun, rude and downright strange.
The performances on show here are not your typical cabaret, but are instead a crazy mix of burlesque, erotic, macabre and bizarre. The shows are not for the squeamish, as some performers use every — really, every — part of the body for their performances.
Opened back in 2011, the Theatre of Diversity is a sister club to ‘The Box Manhattan’ in New York City. The club extends over three floors and seats between one hundred and three hundred guests. The interior is mysterious and erotic with deep red velvet, dim candlelight, blurred mirrors and dark wooden balconies. An unforgettable evening is therefore guaranteed.
You’ll find The Box at 11-12 Walker’s Court, W1F 0SD. Nearest station is Piccadilly Circus.
So, as you can see from this roundup of the best cabaret in London, the great desire for the unconventional, the bold and the unexpected excites people and makes them go back time and time again.