Party on down under: Australians avoid London's regular nightspots for more rough-and-ready entertainment. James Robertson visits the clubland of Oz

Have you ever felt like a stranger in your own country? There is a strong chance you will once you enter the twilight zone of Aussie clubbing.

'Aussie clubbing' is a fairly vague term which covers a whole host of activities, always involving 'amber nectar' in specially dedicated venues. The term is doubly inaccurate as Aussie clubs are frequented by travellers not just from Oz but also from New Zealand and South Africa.

There are a variety of pubs and clubs around London whose function is to provide drink and entertainment for travellers, particularly those from Australia. The first one I visited was the Castle Tavern in Shepherd's Bush. Strictly speaking, you have to be a member to get in. You must be from South Africa, Australia or New Zealand. However, members can bring in guests of any nationality if they wish.

Inside, the atmosphere is friendly and fun, and beer can drop to as little as 50p a can during the week. Fashion is a dirty word at the Castle. Glen, a member, boasted: 'We are probably the most unsophisticated bunch of people in London - most of my friends think that Armani is a type of foreign lager.'

My next stop was the Church club, held at Bagley's Studio on Sundays. The Church is a massive institution and regularly attracts more than 1,000 people each Sunday lunchtime. But what do these clubbers get up to? Unfortunately, I was refused entry at the door and the promoter 'was not available for comment - the owner doesn't like any publicity'. Undeterred, I managed to speak to two Australian veterans of the Church.

Sharon was the first to reveal its secrets. 'It's a huge barn of a place, with sawdust on the floor. The drinks are cheap and the games are quite amusing. The women have to get their tops off and the blokes get down to their undies. There are also strippers.'

Getting down to bare essentials seemed to pose no problems for Richard, a regular customer. He was enthusiastic, pointing out the positive aspects of a very friendly environment, with no pretensions. Both Sharon and Richard agreed that the Church must be experienced at least once.

Apparently it is more difficult for the British to get in as there are two queues - a fast stream for Aussies and a very slow one for the rest.

Finally I dropped in at the Southside Cafe in Covent Garden. This had been recommended as the friendliest of all the venues. The management are extremely welcoming. Monday night is pounds 2 at the door, but offers a free barbecue.

The club is far more salubrious than the others and sports neon lights around the bar. Although the atmosphere was very restrained during my visit I was assured that splashing beer, stripping off and the infamous wheel of fortune are generally the order of the day.

Aussie clubbing remains a pastime well concealed from most of us. The reason is clear; we are outsiders and are not entirely welcome.

'Church', Bagley's Studio, Kings Cross Freight Depot, Sun 12pm-3pm (071-278 8318)

Castle Tavern, 21 Shepherds Bush Green, Mon-Sun, free to members (081-746 1202)

Southside Cafe, 1 Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, Mon-Sun (071-497 2016)

Captain Cook, 1-3 High St, Acton, Mon-Sun, pounds 2 (081-896 3400)

'Red Back', 264 High St, Acton, Fri, Sat, pounds 2 before 11pm then pounds 4 (081-896 1458)

(Photograph omitted)

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Image has been released by the BBC
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Will there ever be a Friends reunion?
TV
News
Harry Hill plays the Professor in the show and hopes it will help boost interest in science among young people
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A Van Gogh sold at Sotheby’s earlier this month
art
Arts and Entertainment

MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word

Arts and Entertainment
It would 'mean a great deal' to Angelina Jolie if she won the best director Oscar for Unbroken

Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says

Arts and Entertainment
Winnie the Pooh has been branded 'inappropriate' in Poland
books
Arts and Entertainment
Lee Evans is quitting comedy to spend more time with his wife and daughter

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

music
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

music
Arts and Entertainment
Look out: Broad shoulders take Idris Elba’s DCI John Luther a long way
tvIdris Elba will appear in two special episodes for the BBC next year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected