Gambling, if you have the mindset for it, is the ultimate thrill ride. Whether you’re playing a game of skill or chance, the unbearable suspense of waiting on a result, or the euphoria of a big win are the things that keep players come back for more. It’s not a habit for everybody, but for those who enjoy it – and especially those who do it well – the glamour is part and parcel of the appeal.
Fortunately, London is a city that goes glitz and glamour like very few others. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that it’s the best city to head out for a night of gambling outside of Las Vegas. If we make a claim like that, you should expect us to have the evidence to back it up. Don’t worry, we do!
Here’s a run down of the most popular, elegant and sophisticated places to go for a casino night out in England’s capital. Read through them all and see if any of them take your fancy. If they don’t, you can always log on to sites like Egypt Slots and play cleopatra slot games from home instead!
It would just be rude to start anywhere else but here. Right at the heart of Leicester Square is the world famous Hippodrome Casino. It’s one of the oldest and most celebrated establishments of its type anywhere on the planet, having stood tall and proud for over one hundred years.
Calling it a casino is probably doing the venue a disservice. You could have a fantastic night here without playing a single hand of cards or visiting one roulette wheel. There’s a 180 seat theatre within the building which plays host to comedians, jazz, swing and soul musicians along with a host of special attractions, and an on-site steak restaurant serving quality food. You could come, take in a show, enjoy a meal and head straight back home. Or, if you came for the gambling, you could spend the rest of the night exploring the casino facilities. It might take you a while; they sprawl across three beautifully decorated floors.
The Hippodrome doesn’t have a monopoly on Leicester Square. There’s another perfectly viable and exciting casino offering standing on the same land and competing for custom. The younger Empire Casino has taken some lessons from the Hippodrome about diversifying its offering to get customers in, but there’s still plenty of casino action going on within the heart of it.
You can think of Empire Casino as a very upmarket sports bar. There’s live sports being broadcast almost 24/7 on wall-sized screens, and a DJ playing sets until three in the morning every weekend. That’s got to be slightly off putting if you’re trying to focus in on a game of poker, but it works for them. Once you’ve had your fill, the in-house restaurant FuLoShou offers fusion food that should cater to all tastes.
The Colony Club
In what you may already have identified as a theme, the Colony Club offers more than just a casino experience. It also offers the decor, atmosphere and pricing policy of a highly exclusive venue. That shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone who pays it is a visit; the club is based on Park Lane in Mayfair. We probably don’t need to remind you that Mayfair represents the ultimate in desirability on the Monopoly board.
The furnishing and layout of the gaming rooms screams “James Bond movie”, and if you have the budget for it you can even insist on a completely private room for your gambling experience. Aside from that, there’s Teppanyaki bar which is limited to ten seats and booked out months in advance, global cuisine and live music performances in an intimate venue within the walls of the building. The Colony Club is a place that will make you feel special.
A potential issue with the venues we’ve mentioned so far is that you have to be a member to get in, and if you don’t have the right documentation on you when you show up, it’s not always possible to become a member when you walk into the venue. If you’re more of a ‘spur of the moment’ gambler with no existing memberships elsewhere, you might be better off visiting Horizons. You won’t have too much trouble finding it if you’ve been turned away from the Hippodrome or Empire for not having any ID; it’s another venue based in Leicester Square.
Horizons, which was once known and loved as Napoleon’s, sets itself out as a friendly venue. It may not have quite the sparkle or debonair feeling of the Colony Club or the Hippodrome, but it’s a place where everyone’s welcome, and free to play in a relaxed atmosphere.
We’d be wrong not to finish our tour of London’s gambling premises without acknowledging the huge presence of Grosvenor within the city. There are a number of Grosvenor casinos dotted around the capital, but probably the best known is the Barracuda. It’s also got something of a prestige location; you can find it on Baker Street, where you’ll probably have to go shoulder to shoulder with Sherlock Holmes aficionados to get to the door.
Once you get to the door, you at least won’t have to worry about parking. There’s a valet service who’ll take care of that for you. You also don’t have to worry about whether or not there will be anything on the menu that will appeal to you when you get hungry; the Grosvenor’s menu options cover Chinese, Indian, French, Arabic and English cuisine. In short, there’s plenty of choice. You can mix with the general gambling crowd on the open casino floor, but if you want a private party experience you can book the White Room in advance and enjoy the evening with your own selected friends.
There are of course more casinos than this in London. Lots more. If we reeled them off (please do excuse the pun), we’d be here all night. We certainly feel like we’ve covered the main headlines though, and if you’re looking to dip your toes into London’s casino scene for the first time, you won’t go far wrong with a visit to any of the venues we’ve covered.