London has a superb reputation as a great place for a night out. Of course, not all of London gets the headlines, with celebrities and sports stars often gravitating to exclusive clubs like Cirque Le Soir in Carnaby and Dolce London in South Kensington. Still, for the most part, wherever you are, you can find at least a handful of good pubs or bars – as you can in most of the UK.
Over the decades, though, one building has been seen as the beacon of London nightlife: The Hippodrome. The 1900-opened venue has worn many hats over its existence, but the corner building is still iconic, and it continues to deliver on its promise of world-class entertainment.
The Hippodrome’s place in London history
The London Hippodrome first opened its doors in 1900, having been designed by the extraordinary Frank Matcham under the commission of Edward Moss. The architect was devoted to producing the most interesting designs, with The Hippodrome remaining an iconic and picturesque feature in Leicester Square. It became the headquarters of the paying company, Moss Empires, and entry to the venue was through the bar.
In 1909, Matcham was recalled to adjust the interior from a circus and for variety performances into a theatre and music hall. The next year, The Hippodrome hosted the English première of Swan Lake. It became a popular musical comedy venue through to the 1950s, but by 1958, the original interior needed to be demolished and rebuilt.
With the remodel came the rise of a new theme for The Hippodrome, The Talk of the Town. Now a nightclub, it hosted a tremendous line-up of some of the most popular names in entertainment. Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Carpenters, John Denver, The Jackson 5, Cliff Richard, Stevie Wonder, and many more graced the stage. However, in 1982, it stopped being financially viable.
Of course, such a stunning building built for entertainment in a city like London wasn’t going to be closed forever. In 1983, another renovation reopened The London Hippodrome as a nightclub and restaurant, but in the 00s, under new ownership, it quickly went out of fashion as a nightclub and closed at the end of 2005.
From 2006 to 2008, entrepreneur Charmaine Haig ran a mostly empty hall before finding great success in that final year with a theatre license. Still, at the end of Haig’s lease in 2009, the venue passed hands again, entering into its current form.
The Hippodrome Casino remains a big attraction
The Hippodrome Casino makes full use of the largest entertainment venue in the UK, featuring all that you’d want from a classy nightlife venue. Of course, the centerpiece is the casino itself. Loaded with classic and modern casino games, the demand has been so high for the experience that the owners have even started up their own gaming website for The Hippodrome Casino.
With hundreds of games on the floor and online, anyone can get The Hippodrome Casino experience, but to a greater degree than its peers. You see, on the venue’s gaming site, the live online roulette is streamed directly from The Hippodrome Casino, with the table, setting, and croupier all being a part of the real place.
Away from the casino floor of roulette, blackjack, baccarat, and slots, there’re plenty of ways to relax. The Boozy Tea Room, designed by Rachel O’Toole, is a relaxing lounge featuring a menu loaded with special cocktails. Up top, you’ll find The Rooftop – an open-air smoking terrace with a bunch of bars. For more entertainment, you might get lucky enough to score tickets to Magic Mike Live, which has so far dazzled over 300,000 people in London alone.
The Hippodrome Casino is one of the more successful stints of the legendary venue established in 1900 and represents a quintessentially London night out option.