Dinner and drinks? Cocktails, mocktails and shisha? All-night dancing? A quiet pie and a pint? Our Ilford nightlife guide has all bases covered.
Nightlife in Ilford
A mile north of our London Ilford hotel near Woodford, Lizard Lounge is a great place to start exploring the region’s nightlife. The stylish bar – all dark wood and copper fittings – serves up cool cocktails, a wide range of seriously tasty tapas-style dishes, regular two-for-one drink deals and a 2a.m. closing time on weekends, perfect for night owls.
Heading into Ilford’s town centre, Chrome Lounge is a Caribbean-themed bar and restaurant with an emphasis on seafood. Tuck into their Jamaican-style pepper prawns or grab a cocktail and head to the small dance floor, alive into the early hours with dub, reggae and smooth grooves.
Carrying on the good food theme, Gymkhana Bar & Restaurant near South Park takes its inspiration from India and has been dishing up classic pakora, chilli paneer and jalfrezi for over 20 years, backed up by a 20-strong cocktail menu and a smart, modern bar.
A niche offering, perhaps, but The Secret Garden nearby on High Road marries a classic steak menu with a large shisha offering. The food has a slight Middle Eastern/Turkish edge – think marinated kebabs, grilled vegetables and imaginative salads – with a relaxing shisha terrace, perfect for summer evenings.
Lastly, Sidneys in Gant Hill is a compact, sleek bar open until 3a.m. every Friday and Saturday night, powered by strong cocktails and crowd-friendly DJ selections spanning R & B, commercial dance music and UK garage.
Bars in Ilford
Pubs in Ilford
A short walk from the train station in the centre of Ilford, Jono’s Freehouse is a loud, cheerful Irish pub. It quickly gets busy at weekends thanks to regular live music and live sports on TV, but there are plenty of quiet corners where you can enjoy a perfect pint of Guinness or a glass of wine.
A short walk away on Green Lane, you’ll find The Prince of Wales, a bright, airy pub with a large beer garden, above-average pub grub, a wide range of drinks and a fun sports room with a pool table and dartboard.
Walking into the Papermakers Arms is a little like entering a time machine. The Roden Street pub near the River Roding is a squat building with plenty of vintage Victorian design touches. But with entertainment including a pool table, dartboard, regular live bands and a well-stocked jukebox, it’s a time machine with modern-day benefits.
Where the Papermaker Arms is a traditional Victorian-era London pub, the Unicorn on Clayhall Avenue is a bright, airy, modern Greene King pub with a tasty food menu, a wide range of real ales, gin and tonics and wines and a popular Saturday night karaoke session that pulls in a big crowd.
With six bars, two dance floors, a lounge, VIP area and main dance floor, you won’t be short of places to see and be seen at Faces Nightclub in nearby Gants Hill. A clubbing mainstay in the region since 1993, Faces is open every Friday and Saturday night with an emphasis on house music and R & B.