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London calling

By: Bronwen Roberts

It's hard to be hip - the endless guest-lists, the parties, the best seats in restaurants - but that's not the half of it. It's a very serious business indeed, calling (not unlike therapy) for years of total commitment and relentless hard work.

London has been characterized as one of Europe's 'hippest' cities: for the inveterate traveller it's a dream come true! If you're looking for cool, happening and cutting edge, you're in the right place. However, hipness is a minefield of hidden dangers: so a little advice... It's better to be seen in a bar or a café than a restaurant. Tucking into a three-course meal will leave you out in the cold and hidden from view in a way that propping up a bar or hanging out in a café doesn't.

There's a trip to staying hip... here are some of the essential hipster's restaurants, bars and clubs. There's sure to be something here to lift your spirits and add to a great night out. Those searching for a fashionable spot won't be disappointed, but London also caters for the student fraternity and those traditional bars serving true British ale and grub are equally trendy these days.

A Student Working Holiday is a good way to do London because at least you'll have the cash to explore these happening haunts.

Burgundy Bens, Clerkenwell Road, is a traditional wine bar with a stylish interior, so go for the kill and dress to be noticed. Hip hotspots abound it this area, so get ready for some serious clubbing. Chill out in style at The Pulpit, Worship Street, which has a selection of every fabulous drink under the sun. The dress code is strictly casual: a perfect combination for those who want a low-key quality bar, where you can see and be seen.

If you're looking for a venue that's a bit more arty and laid-back, try the tucked away Phoenix Artist Club, Phoenix Street. Very impressive theatre-style décor and menu make Phoenix Artist Club a hidden treasure for late night drinking and fraternising. The lively Walkabout Inn, Henrietta Street, is the hip venue for South Africans and Australians, and a good spot for unusual beers and cocktails. Crowd is friendly and sociable.

Fluid, Charterhouse Street, is a trendy Japanese bar that provides the perfect venue for a fun meal of sushi and Tiger beer before hitting the clubs. Be elitist for a night and hang out at the coolest bar, Liquid Lab in City Road. With a medical and dental theme running throughout the décor, and a serious cocktail list, the Liquid Lab is a thoroughly modern venue.

Bars don't come much trendier than The Box, Monmouth Street. Al fresco eating and drinking make it a great summer venue. A good place to do a bit of celebrity spotting, and a good excuse to get dressed up. For an eclectic mix, check out Charlie Wright's International Bar , Pitfield Street, for an amusing and unusual crowd who love Charlie's for its international menu of beers and lagers; offering everything from Japanese beer to Bulgarian lagers.

Are you looking for serious cocktails and house music? The Zoo Bar, Bear Street, is the place to get you on your feet and dance. Well known for its heady mix of cocktails and top-notch house music. Know your Glam American House from your Eurohouse! A visit to the legendary Velvet Room, Charing Cross Road, is a must for all serious musicians. This intimate venue has played host to some real superstar DJs over the years.

Those looking for real soul with a sexy atmosphere should check out Vivo in Watling Street. This place hosts some of the best soul and funk acts and DJs in the country.

Author Bio
STA Travel is the world's largest travel company catering specifically to the needs of students and young people. They cater for people who are looking for experiences, not just tourist attractions.

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