The theme bar has had something of a bad rep in the past, London high streets have been filled with \u201cauthentic\u201d Irish pubs and dubious, tacky \u201creal\u201d American bars. Thankfully, the concept has been reclaimed and there are lots of interesting places to go for an escapist tipple. From taking a sip that takes you back in time, to movie boozers and underground cabaret to give you something a little more than just another night at the pub. Yes, some of them look rather fancy, but it\u2019s always happy hour somewhere if you know where (or rather, when) to look. Cafe Cairo What\u2019s the theme? A small, neighbourhood Bedouin-style bar in Clapham North. There are lots of interesting events on, including free film screenings on Sundays and gypsy jazz music gigs. They call themselves a \u201cfantasy home from home\u201d which sums it up perfectly, it\u2019s escapist and homely all at once. Wander through different areas including the Travellers Lounge with a cosy fire books and board games. The magic tent (the cushion-covered Bedouin loft) wind your way downstairs and you\u2019ll fine The Electric Basement. There is outdoor space too, in the form of the Shisha Garden, like a mini festival under one roof! Aside from an unusual and fun atmosphere, there is (crucially) a well-stocked bar. Cost of food and drink? Cocktails are around the \u2013 mark with a 2-4-1 happy hour on Thursdays. They also serve lots of nice teas and little snacks, so it\u2019s a great spot for non-drinkers, daytime hangouts and dates. It\u2019s a cheapo winner on the food front too\u2014you can make toast for free with wheat or wheat free, locally sourced bread. They also allow outside food. Cahoots What\u2019s the theme? Vintage London Underground, 1940s era bedecked with metro tiles and old memorabilia. It\u2019s apparently a big hit with tourists and right in the heart of town. You\u2019ll need to book a two-hour slot to visit, so treat it like a night out in a museum! Be prepared for a little hammy British acting as a \u2018train guard\u2019 ushers you to your seat \u00a0but for those enjoy kitchsy silliness, \u00a0it\u2019s a daft alternative to a normal bar. Cost of food and drink? Cocktails are about average for London, around \u2013 and arrive in tea cups. Food wise, it\u2019s probably best to have a cheap meal nearby (lots of options in and around Soho) and retire to this place for a nightcap\u2014one for a novelty travel stop, while you make your way round the city's watering holes. The Alma What\u2019s the theme? At this bar, the walls are covered in cinematic paraphenalia. There's also a pub dog (all the best pubs do) called Buster.\u00a0It\u2019s cosy, local pub in Newington Green with board games, a quiz on Sundays ( bar tab for the winners) and musos can bring their own instruments for an open jam on Thursday evening. There is a function room which is free to hire\u2014a definite bonus if you\u2019re looking to host a gathering, especially at weekends. Link: The Alma website Cost of food and drinks? The regular menu is a\u00a0little on the pricey gastro pub end of things. However, they do 2-4-1 pizza Monday\u2013Thursdays, but standard-ish prices for drinks\u2014so not mega cheap but worth a visit for a lazy sunday, a pizza deal or a weekday folk jam. Cirque What\u2019s the theme? Well, the clue is kind of in the name. It\u2019s easy to overlook an outlandishly attired venue on the streets of Shoreditch, but it\u2019s as bright, carefree and colourful as its name suggests. The walls are lined with colourful, geometric wallpaper and animal masks, and there is free comedy every Tuesday, including Edinburgh previews\u00a0in the summer. Link: The Cirque website Cost of food and drinks? A pretty decent deal with happy hour(s) from 4\u00a0pm to 8\u00a0pm on weeknights with four beers or two cocktails for making it reasonably to get a round in. Menu details are not available online, but it looks to be more light bites and snacks rather than main meals. Looking for\u00a0more cheap, quirky venue suggestions? Read our guide to cheap music venues.