There’s nothing better than the live experience of comedy – guffawing with friends and family, cheeks and faces aching from all the laughing and smiling, then sharing those funny moments again afterwards together, because you ‘had to be there’. London’s comedy scene is thriving, so where better to enjoy a hysterical night out with a wide and eccentric array of venues to choose between.
Rambunctious hilarity abounds with national, international and newbie comedians to suit every taste. There are plenty of options for tickets that include dinner, from your basic pub fare to international cuisine. You can even party on into the night, with some venues also hosting nightclubs.
Here are twelve of the finest comedy clubs the capital has to offer.
- 99 Club, Leicester Square
Hosting high quality comedy seven nights a week, The 99 Club has won Best London Comedy Club (Chortle Awards) for the past eight years in a row. The club features acclaimed international comedians, including those from shows such as Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week, and Have I Got News For You. The usual format at Leicester Square is three comedians per night for a reasonable £10-£15 given the high level of talent.
If you want to splash out and make an evening of it, you can also purchase food at the venue with good quality ‘pub style’ food (burgers, pasta, salads and classic desserts such as cheesecake or brownie). You can end the night dancing in the nightclub at the same venue. The 99 Club also runs comedy at other venues in Covent Garden and Soho.
Info: 7 days per week, Ruby Blue, 2nd Floor 1 Leicester Place, Leicester Square, London WC2H 7BP
- Live at the Chapel, Union Chapel
The architecturally stunning Union Chapel is the most beautiful venue to enjoy comedy gigs. As it hosts many different kinds of events – from music gigs to actual church services – comedy is usually only found here once a month. But it’s well worth waiting for, with innovative supporting comedians and big-name headliners, plus a top-notch live band to add even more atmosphere.
Food-wise you can support social justice issues whilst eating at the Margins Cafe, with profits going to The Margins Project (based at the Chapel) working with people who face issues of homelessness and crisis. You can even sample the Chapel’s own beer – the 1877 Union Chapel Pale Ale – at the licensed bar, or grab yourself some sweeties, a Tunnock’s teacake and a nice cup of tea from the gorgeously old-fashioned kiosk.
Info: Monthly gigs, Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, Islington, London, N1 2UN.
- Hoopla Impro, London Bridge
If you like comedy that is spontaneous, dynamic and fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, then why not try Hoopla Impro, featuring the best in improvised comedy in London. You’ll find a huge array of styles, from short-form games, improvised plays, musical inspired comedy, and stand-up routines. Experimental is the order of the day, and there’s plenty of opportunity to try out this style with free tickets being offered for many events, and others at a very reasonable £10 or less.
Fancy yourself as a bit of a comedian? Hoopla also offers improv beginner classes and workshops, plus ‘improv jams’ so you can test out your own gags on the fly.
Info: Mon to Sat, Hoopla’s London Improv Comedy Club at The Miller, 96 Snowsfields Road, London Bridge, London, SE1 3SS. Sundays only: The Comedy Pub, 7 Oxendon St, London SW1Y 4EE. Check the website for additional shows at other venues.
- Old Rope Comedy Club at the Phoenix, Cavendish Square
Featuring brand spanking new and innovative comedy, Old Rope is a weekly night where comedians test out their latest material. There’s a good mix of established names and up-and-coming talent, with the night being hosted by Tiff Stevenson (Mock the Week, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, 8 out of 10 Cats) in this West East pub. And the noose that hangs over the stage during the show? If their new gags are sinking like a lead balloon, comics can grab the noose and rely on their more tried-and-tested material to get them through.
Info: Monday nights, The Phoenix 37 Cavendish Square, London, W1G 0PP
- Comedy Carnival, Leicester Square and Covent Garden
If you’re after no nonsense big names on the comedy scene – such as those from Live at The Apollo and Mock the Week – then Comedy Carnival won’t disappoint. Shows run on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at Leicester Square and on Saturday nights in Covent Garden. There are plenty of food options to choose between with dinner ticket deals including Pizza Express Covent Garden, fine dining at the Sicilian Enzo’s Kitchen or Peruvian Leicester Square Kitchen.
Info: Thurs, Fri and Sat nights at Leicester Square: Bar Rumba, 36 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 7EP. Saturdays at Covent Garden: Seven Dials Club, 42 Earlham Street, London, WC2H 9LA
- The Boat Show, Victoria Embankment
If you’re taking a trip to the London Eye then why not spend the evening at a floating comedy club, to enjoy a more unusual venue. Established over 20 years ago, The Boat Show takes place in a gorgeous refurbished paddle steamer permanently moored just opposite the London Eye. You’ll get a number of comedians at each show – usually three with an MC – so there’s good variety, and many of the names are well-known on the UK and International scene, including those from top TV comedy shows.
On Tuesdays, The Boat Show features ‘The Guinea Pig Club’ where you can sample new material from both established and new comedians with at least seven acts performing. For under a tenner, it’s seriously good value. At the weekend, your ticket price also includes the after-show Popworld nightclub, so you can end the evening dancing your socks off. Dinner deals are also available with classic pub food fare.
Info: Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturday nights. The Boat Show, Tattershall Castle, Victoria Embankment, London SW1A 2HR
- Angel Comedy Club, Islington
Angel Comedy is all about the sheer joy of comedy. This is a comedy club run by comedians and there to support comedians, with an aim to offer high quality, innovative and experimental comedy with no admission charge – all totally free. The emphasis is on how comedy really can be embedded in the local community, so it’s a project with a lot of heart.
The Camden Head in Islington is the main venue where the club began – in a room above the pub – and its reputation as London’s most beloved comedy gig means shows there are always packed out, seven nights a week. Get there early to avoid disappointment.
Angel also has a new and exciting venue – they’ve bought the lease on a pub called the Bill Murray (see their successful kickstarter campaign for the inspiring story) – and have big dreams to transform this into a base for comedians to come together to rehearse and work together. At the Bill Murray, they have a diverse programme of events (note admission charges apply at this venue) including comedy courses and community projects.
Info: Seven nights a week (free admission) at The Camden Head 2 Camden Walk, London, N1 8DY and seven nights a week (varied admission charges) The Bill Murray, 39 Queens Head Street, London, N1 8NQ
- Soho Theatre
This longstanding venue for innovative theatre, comedy and cabaret provides outstanding access to stellar comedians in a purpose-built theatre setting. Unlike most comedy clubs, the Soho Theatre lends itself better to single comedian events (rather than the usual three or more turns in an evening), so you get the chance to immerse yourself in the weird and wonderful world of a comic for a full evening.
Soho Theatre is a charity and social enterprise, and the focus is on supporting high quality work and nurturing up-and-coming talent, with artist development being high on their list of priorities. So there’s a rich mix to choose between from highly touted newbies to Edinburgh favourites, and more. The bar at Dean Street offers a great range of drinks – including gluten-free, vegan, alcohol-free and low-alcoholic options – and food-wise there’s light fare on offer, such as ciabattas, salads and snacks.
Info: Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE
- The Comedy Store, Soho
A review of the top comedy clubs in London wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the bastion of comedy talent, the Comedy Store. Established forty years ago, in a room over a strip club in Soho, it now has a purpose-built venue with over 3,500 visitors each week. The ‘recently played’ list is a who’s who of national and international comedy superstars, with this venue being a ‘rite of passage’ into the big league of comedy.
If you like sharp, uncensored and topical comedy, try the ‘The Cutting Edge’ regular show every Tuesday night, featuring a panel of famous comedians taking on issues from the week’s news. Wednesdays and Sundays also feature wickedly funny improvisation from highly skilled Comedy Store Players. A must for any comedy fan.
Info: Most nights, The Comedy Store, 1a Oxendon Street, London, SW1Y 4EE
- Knock2bag, Hackney and Bethnal Green
Whilst this venue also hosts high-level comics, there’s more eccentricity, innovation and surrealism here, with a wider range of comedic styles than in some other venues. Knock2bag also host ‘Cardinal Burns presents…’ – what they describe as an ‘impulsive’ and ‘anything goes’ show hosted by Channel 4 stars Dustin Demri-Burns and Seb Cardinal. The show had a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016 and regularly sells out, so get your tickets early. For all things wild and whimsical, you can’t go wrong with Knock2bag.
Info: Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at Moth Club, Old Trades Hall, Valette Street, E9 6NU and Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, E1 6LA
- Up the Creek, Greenwich
Once known for its ruthless crowd who accept nothing but the best, Up the Creek is an iconic venue offering premium comedy, establishing its reputation as a classic London comedy club. From touring shows to club gigs, there’s a good range of comedy of high quality here.
On Thursday nights they’ve developed the open mic format into an exciting, interactive comedy evening called ‘The Blackout’. Featuring 15-17 comedians, they each get two minutes on stage to wow the audience, three of whom are given a ‘blackout card’. If all three hold up their cards, the stage is plunged into darkness and the comedian has to leave. If the comedians survive, they get a full five minutes and have ‘beaten the Blackout’!
Food and drink here is great – Roxburgers provides a gorgeous selection of burgers, including veggie and vegan options, and you can get freshly brewed craft beer from independent microbrewery Greenwich Brewery. Shows run on Wednesdays to Sundays in the evening and after the comedy is done, you can get on the dance floor and enjoy busting some moves to classic hits until 2am.
Info: Wednesday to Sunday evenings, Up the Creek, 302 Creek Rd, London, SE10 9SW
- Banana Cabaret Club, Balham
Banana Cabaret Club is a respected and well-loved comedy club that’s hosted classic comedians for the past thirty years, and is still going strong in the iconic round Club room at The Bedford. There’s everyone from comedy superstars, to touted newbies and those on the touring circuit, with an annual Comedy Festival in July. The nine-day Festival features star turns testing out their material before the Edinburgh Festival and the touring circuit starts, so it’s as fresh and new as you can get.
The Bedford’s restaurant serves delicious gastropub fare, which is a step above the usual burger and fries comedy combo. Banana Cabaret is noted for a friendly, welcoming and unpretentious attitude, and that carries on with dancing post-show until 2am.
Info: Fridays and Saturdays, The Bedford, 77 Bedford Hill, SW12 9HD
From big name superstars to up-and-coming newbies, improv and topical to surreal and hard-hitting, there’s a comedy show in London for everyone. To explore London in all its glory, contact the experts Premium Tours to discuss our extensive range of exciting tours.