The Hippodrome Casino
The 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.