Hippodrome Casino

Nuggets – bite size chunks of London

The Hippodrome Casino

The Hippodrome is surmounted by a chariot pulled by a pair of horsesThe Hippodrome is an enter­tainment venue located at the corner of Cranbourn Street and Charing Cross Road, just off Leicester Square. Nowadays its facil­ities are primarily devoted to round-the-clock gambling but there’s also a restaurant and an ‘intimate cabaret theatre’.

The building was originally the London Hippodrome, built by Frank Matcham for Edward Moss in 1900 as a circus variety theatre, with a 100,000 gallon tank in which elephants, polar bears and sea lions would swim.

Works in 1909 enlarged the stage and advanced the proscenium arch to better suit conven­tional variety theatre and revue shows.

From 1958 to 1982 the Hippodrome was the Talk of the Town, a dinner-dance venue. In its heyday the Talk of the Town attracted all the leading stars, including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Eartha Kitt and Tom Jones. Judy Garland’s five-week comeback engagement in 1968–9 broke box office records.

Subsequently the Hippodrome reinvented itself several times, including as a nightclub and in 2008–9 as a circus venue for burlesque cabaret La Clique, before adopting its present incarn­ation as a casino.