Dance, Theater, and Music

The Arcola

For "a strange and different experience" visit this fringe theatre in a converted garment factory in Dalston, a "part of town you'd never go to otherwise. Fantastic, dirt cheap Turkish food at Mangal opposite."—Sean Holmes, theatre director. 27 Arcola St.; tel. 44 (0) 207 503 1646. www.arcolatheatre.com

Mangal 1 Ocakbasi

10 Arcola St.; tel. 44 (0) 207 275 8981. www.mangal1.com

Barbican Centre

Brutalist arts complex enjoying a well-deserved renaissance. Ever-changing, cutting-edge program covers all bases: art, architecture, art-house, jazz, modern dance, experimental theater, classical music. Silk St., Barbican; tel. 44 (0) 207 638 4141. www.barbican.org.uk

Everyman Cinema Club

"Book a sofa, order a bottle of wine, and watch black and white classics like Casablanca."—Mat Osman, musician and editor of le cool London. Instead of popcorn you get wasabi peas and Bombay Sapphire G&Ts. 5 Holly Bush Vale, Hampstead; tel: 44 (0) 870 066 4777. www.everymancinema.com

National Theatre

Classic British plays on three stages. Look out for cheap ticket offers and Watch This Space Festival—"free outdoor performances on summer evenings, dynamic and surprising theatrical events."—Sean Holmes. South Bank; tel. 44 (0) 207 452 3000. www.nationaltheatre.org.uk

The Royal Court

"The most famous theater in the world for new writing; both completely intimate and completely epic."—Sean Holmes. Post-show, mingle with the cast in the glamorous bar downstairs. Sloane Square, Chelsea; tel. 44 (0) 207 565 5000. www.royalcourttheatre.com

Shepherd's Bush Empire

Rising stars and musical legends rock this classy venue. "Good size, great sound, brilliant booking policy. Catch up-and-coming acts at nearby Bush Hall, London's prettiest music venue, dripping with chandeliers."—Mat Osman. Shepherds Bush Green; tel. 44 (0) 208 354 3300. www.shepherds-bush-empire.co.uk

Bush Hall

310 Uxbridge Rd., tel. 44 (0) 208 222 6955. www.bushhallmusic.co.uk

Nightlife

The American Bar

"Salim Khoury does the best dry martinis in London."—Stephen Bayley, design consultant and author. Khoury has kept the Savoy Hotel's art deco bar ahead of the competition since 1969; his predecessor, Harry Craddock, wrote the definitive Savoy Cocktail Book. Savoy Hotel, The Strand; tel. 44 (0) 207 836 4343. www.fairmont.com

Favela Chic

Anything goes at this kitsch club. "Organizes some of the oddest nights in town, like Swaparama Razzmatazz—everybody has to swap clothes when music stops."—Mat Osman, musician and editor of le cool London. 91- 93 Great Eastern St., Shoreditch; tel. 44 (0) 207 613 4228. www.favelachic.com/London

Notting Hill Arts Club

"Small, unpretentious venue with eclectic music policy. The Brazilian Love Affair and Costa Urbana nights are absolutely great and absolutely packed."—Mat Osman, musician and editor of le cool London. 21 Notting Hill Gate; tel. 44 (0) 207 7598 5226. www.nottinghillartsclub.com

Ronnie Scott's

After its first refurbishment in 47 years, this legendary jazz club has pumped up the glamour. Impressive acts live up to a long legacy of jazz giants including Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Dizzy Gillespie, and Art Blakey. 47 Frith St. Soho; tel. 44 (0) 20 7439 0747. www.ronniescotts.co.uk

Festivals

Brick Lane Festival

Second Sunday in September. Fiery food and multicultural music celebrating the street's Asian population. http://www.visitbricklane.org/#/festivals/4537680270

City of London Festival

June-July. Music and arts, walks and talks, staged in the Square Mile's most remarkable buildings, squares, and gardens. www.colf.org

London Film Festival

October-November. International premieres, art-house screenings, master classes, Q&As with stars and filmmakers in venues across town. www.lff.org.uk

Notting Hill Carnival

Last weekend in August. Europe's biggest street party. Steel pan bands, sound systems (traditionally soca, calypso and reggae), and colorful floats showcase Caribbean culture. http://www.thenottinghillcarnival.com/

Open House London

Mid-September. Free peek into over 600 historic or unusual buildings usually closed to public. www.londonopenhouse.org

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