Cabaret and Burlesque are considered by many to be a rather old form of entertainment, but in reality their history is relatively short. Arriving in the late 19th century, they’ve managed to go from fresh and novel to vaguely anachronistic in just over a hundred years, a fate suffered by many forms of past entertainment. If you ask anyone who has ever attended one about their experience however, you’re sure to receive an answer full of praise and fond memories. Why then, has the art become so unpopular?
The answer is twofold. First of all, the rise of mass media has made this shows rather less impressive. Their erotic elements all lie in suggestion and teasing, fine values if the audience is not desensitised to such things by having hardcore material at the tip of their fingers on a consistent basis. The nature of sitting down at a table to watch a show is also rather too indistinct to fit into the modern specialised world: music is danced to live at venues and shows are watched in the regimented rows of the theatre.
The second is that they haven’t really. The best cabaret and burlesque clubs London has to offer still pull in healthy crowds night after night. This might seem at odds with what we’ve said about modern culture, but it’s important to understand that diminished popularity does not mean unpopular. There are plenty of men and women who still enjoy the subtle arts, they simply aren’t in the majority anymore. So, without further contextual waffling, we present to you the top 10 London burlesque and cabaret clubs.
A top of list sits an oddity. it’s position at the pinnacle is deserved but this wild and often tawdry nightspot is exclusive. Many of those reading the list will never be able to afford it, or be unwilling to part with the serious cash needed for this top attraction. Even we initially considered it a step too far, relenting only because of its excellence.
Offering some of the best choreographed performances in all of the capital, it’s a truly special experience for those that love to explore their wild sides. The excellent Rose Wood is amongst the performers and acts of similar quality are regularly seen there.
The Box is located at: 11-12 Walker’s Ct, London W1F 0SD
To find out more please visit: http://theboxsoho.com/
Well known but deserving of its place, JoJo’s is an easy inclusion of any list of the top 10 burlesque clubs in London. Raunchy, daring but also true to its roots, the club has been going from strength to strength in recent times. Its focus on British acts and on supporting the scene in general make it a very strong contender for the capital’s most influential venue too.
JoJo’s is located at: 8-10 Brewer Street, London W1F 0SE
To find out more please visit: http://www.madamejojos.com/
Black Cat Cabaret
A Parisian extravaganza, this club borrows heavily from the French capital to put on a titillating show with a slightly darker edge. Think Moulin Rouge with a bit of steel behind it: a true experience for both the purists and the brave newcomers. The freshness of it all is obvious to see – the club only opened recently- but if that can keep that passion going forward then they’re sure to remain a staple in the London scene.
To find out more please visit: http://www.theblackcat.info/
Baroque, at the Playboy Club
Technically not a club in its own right but a regular event, it makes the list anyway. Why? Because there are few things in the city as unapologetically raunchy as this little night out. It’s where the adults go to play and don’t the owners know it. The whole evening is geared towards intimate and incredible experiences, and that’s exactly what’s delivered in this excellent service.
To find out more please visit:http://playboyclublondon.com/club/baroque
A classic arena of cabaret, it’s all tightly packed tables and atmospheric lighting that will have many feeling excited before the night even begins. The traditional approach is infused with a little modern spice too, and the performers are many and varied. The top names that appear here on a regular basis make it an easy choice on any list of the top 10 cabaret clubs in London.
Soho Theatre is located at: 21 Dean St, London W1D 3NE
To find out more please visit: http://www.sohotheatre.com/
The London Burlesque Festival
For one week, the capital lets down its hair and becomes incredibly sexy. A full on celebration of the scene, it showcases some of the best talent and tools in the business and is well worth the price of admission. Unmissable.
To find out more please visit: http://londonburlesquefest.com/
As the name would suggest, this is a place that revels in the excessive and is one of the best burlesque and cabaret clubs London can offer. They realise that sometimes a little too much is exactly what the doctor ordered and they’re not shy about handing out their medicine.
To find out more please visit: http://www.volupte-lounge.com/
The Battersea Barge
The art of cabaret has enjoyed a long history amongst the ocean liners that were all the rage a few decades ago. This is their grittier, more down to earth cousin that treads the waters of the thames with a delightful dose of irreverence. Ranked as one of the top 10 London burlesque and cabaret attractions by many it’s nothing if not fun.
The Battersea Barge is located at: Nine Elms Ln, London SW8 5BP
To find out more please visit: http://www.batterseabarge.com/
Combining both arts perfectly, this club is ideal for those who want some entertainment and perhaps a little more. It flirts with the raunchier aspects constantly but, unless you want it to, it will never outright explore them. For the bolder ladies, it also plays host to Killing Kittens, events that are dominated by women and often end up being rather sexual in nature.
Proud Cabaret is located at: 1 Mark Ln, London EC3R 7AH
To find out more please visit: http://www.proudcabaret.com/
A tight, intimate atmosphere done perfectly.
Cellar Door is located at: 0 Aldwych, London WC2E 7DN
To find out more please visit: http://www.cellardoor.biz/