We've seen how the streets of London's West End were abuzz even in a blackout; the bars, theatres, and night-clubs of the West End were no different. The war and threat of bombing hardly stopped people from having a good time, even if an air of poignacy hangs over the whole thing.
Photographed by David E. Scherman for LIFE magazine. .Many of these photographs ran in the Februrary 21, 1944 issue of LIFE.
Jitterbugging at the Paramount Dance Hall on Tottenham Court Road. I've no idea why he's wearing that sign (dance contest?). Source
A bohemian-style 'Poor Man's Club' [ie, working-class club as opposed to the traditional upper-class club]. Source
An orchestra and dancing at the Covent Garden Opera House, converted to a night-club for the war. Source
A girl dancing the jitterbug at Paramount dance hall. Source
Watching burlesque, I think, at the Stoll [theatre? night-club? strip joint? not specified]. Source
Full-out stripping was an option too. Phylis Dixey on stage (if you must know, she goes all the way). Source
The Embassy Club on Bond Street [the posh type, I think; they mostly look like officers]. Source
A girl talking with an American sailor. I find this absolutely adorable. Source
Inga Anderson singing at a restaurant off Berkely Street (if that means anything to you). Source
Drinking in a bar. Source
American soldier dancing with a member of the (British) Woman's Auxiliary Air Force at Paramount Dance Hall. Source
Leaving the West End on the Tube station's escalators. Source
Saying goodbye at the end of the night outside Piccadilly Tube Station. Source