If you know your gin, then your taste buds are required to help find the world’s best gin. Graphic Bar in Soho are hosting the Gin Off 2018 awards to hunt down the finest ‘mother’s ruin’. Sixteen of the planet’s most exciting brands will be competing for the top honour in a series of heats.
Each gin brand will put forward a mixologist to create a cocktail that makes the most of their tipple. The rules state the cocktail must be served in a disposable vessel, so expect to see drinks served in quirky alternatives, such as an ice glass or hollowed-out cucumber.
The Gin Off has been taking place annually since 2015 and Audemus Spirits’ Pink Pepper Gin have reigned supreme for the past two years. For 2018, Audemus have stepped out of the competition, leaving the field open for a new champion. Brands big and small are taking part this year, including Haymans, Beefeater, Fords, Marylebone, Copperhead, Nordes, NGinious, Brooklyn, Scapegrace, Nicholson, Daffy’s, Vidda, Boxer, Thomas Dakin, Monkey 47 and Bols.
Round 1 has already taken place on 30 April, but there’s three more rounds before the semi-finals and final take place in November. For this exciting competition, it’s the guests who have the power. Each gin lover is given a polling card before going on to sample four different cocktails and voting for their favourite. The overall winner will be crowned with a Copper Still trophy and will be featured on the Graphic Bar’s 2019 cocktail menu. Graphic Bar is a stylish, contemporary bar located in Soho and boasts a selection of over 300 world-class gins.
The remaining fixtures in the 2018 Gin Off are:
Round 2: 21 May – Haymans, Daffy’s, NGinious, Scapegrace.
Round 3: 25 June – Bols, Nordes, Monkey 47, Brooklyn.
Round 4: 30 July – Copperhead, Marylebone, Boxer, Fords.
Semi-final: 24 September.
Semi-final: 29 October.
Final: 26 November.
- The Gin Off takes place on Mondays once a month until November 2018. At the Graphic Bar, 4 Golden Square, Soho, W1F 9HT. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. Tickets: £10 (include 4 gin cocktails). From 6pm-9pm on relevant dates. Tickets available through Eventbrite or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit the Graphic Bar website.
For a guide to what’s on in London in October 2018, click here.
This guide is for 31 December 2014. For New Year’s Eve for 2015 into 2016, click here.
Can you believe the year is nearly over already? As always, it appears the past 12 months fly by at an alarming rate and it’s already time to say ‘sayonora 2014’ and ‘konnichiwa 2015’. If you can’t be bothered with the stress (and cleaning up the next day!) of organising your own bash or can’t quite see the allure of spending it on the sofa with Jools Holland and co, there is plenty of parties on across the capital. While this guide doesn’t claim to be comprehensive listings (there are 100s after all!), Metro Girl has handpicked some of the highlights of the party calendar for 31 December 2014. For most events, I would strongly recommend booking in advance, with many tipped to sell out and unlikely to have tickets on the door.
Don’t forget, TFL will be providing free public transport from 11.45pm until 4.30am on New Year’s Day.
To browse and buy tickets for new year’s events in London, check out Cluboid.com. Use the discount code ‘CAPITAL’ to get money off.
- New Year’s Eve firework display over the River Thames
Thousands expected to take to the north and south of the River to watch the fireworks display near the London Eye. Although usually free, this year City Hall has introduced a £10 fee to cover costs. Tickets went on sale from 1–15 December. There will be a lot of congestion or potential closures of some tube stations around the Embankments so check with TFL before you travel. For more information of where you can and can’t access without a ticket, visit the London.gov.uk website. SOLD OUT
- New Year’s Eve with John Newman – Rumpus Room
Mark New Year’s Eve being entertained by pop star John Newman at the Rumpus Room in the swish new Mondrian Hotel overlooking the Thames. Dress code: Glam. 8pm-3am. Tickets: Standing (inc canapés and champagne) – £65, tables start from £275. Mondrian, 20 Upper Ground, Southwark, SE1 9PD. Nearest station: Blackfriars, Southwark or Waterloo East. For more information and booking, visit the Back Of House website.
- Friday I’m In Love: New Year’s Eve Singalong – Prince Of Wales Feathers
London’s favourite singalong club night is coming to Warren Street to mark the dawn of 2015. Dance and singalong (as a group – not individual karaoke… thankfully!) to your favourite ’80s and ’90s hits. 8pm-2am. Tickets: £20, include a glass of Prosecco on arrival. Prince Of Wales Feathers, 8 Warren Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 5LD. Nearest station: Warren Street or Euston Square. For more information and tickets, visit the event’s Facebook page.
- Vintage New Year’s Eve Party – Royal Festival Hall
The team behind the Vintage Festival put on a glamorous extravaganza of live bands and DJs spread across six pop-up vintage nightclubs from various eras, with bars, beauty parlours and photo studios also on site. Around midnight, some of the action will move to one of the balconies for a great vista of the New Year’s Eve fireworks over the Thames. Starts 7pm onwards. Tickets start from £117.50. Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.
- ’90s Superheroes Party – Earlham Street Clubhouse
Nineties bar Earlham Street Clubhouse are hosting a superheroes-themed New Year’s Eve bash. With complimentary cocktails for early arrivals 7.30-8pm. Fancy dress strongly encouraged. 7pm-3am. Tickets: £15. Earlham Street Clubhouse, 35 Earlham Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9LD, Nearest tube: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. For tickets, visit the Design My Night website.
- Back To The Future Party – Bar Soho
As 2015 is famously the year Marty McFly ended up in the future, Bar Soho are drawing on the iconic film franchise to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Featuring live entertainment from Daddy Soho and the Soholites. Guests will be transported (1950s style) to the ‘Enchantment Under the Sea’ dance. Tickets start from £15. Bar Soho, 23-25 Old Compton Street, Soho, W1D 5JL. Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Bar Soho website.
- New Year’s Eve – Basement Sate
New cocktail and pudding bar Basement Sate in Soho is celebrating the advent of 2015 with booze, desserts and music. Tickets include one cocktail, one glass of champagne and a selection of canapés. With entertainment from DJ Franck Bombard and Lola. 8pm until late. Tickets £45. Basement Sate, 8 Broadwick Street, Soho, W1F 8HN. Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. Tables can be booked by emailing email@example.com.
- New Year’s Eve at M
The City of London’s newest food and nightlife venue M will be hosting their first New Year’s Eve party featuring eight course tasting menu from the RAW restaurant, accompanied by sparkling Sake and live music. £49 per person for 8 courses and entertainment. M, 2-3 Threadneedle Walk, 60 Threadneedle Street, City of London, EC2 8HP. Nearest station: Liverpool Street, Fenchurch Street or Cannon Street. For more information and booking, visit the M website.
- Black Tie Masquerade Ball – Kettner’s
Kettner’s in Soho will be hosting a masquerade ball, featuring cabaret show, swing dance lessons, burlesque performances, a live band and DJs over two floors and three bars. 9pm-3am. Tickets: £50 for party or £125 including dinner at The Apartment. Kettner’s, 29 Romilly Street, Soho, W1D 5HP. Nearest station: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Kettner’s website. SOLD OUT
- New Year’s Eve Stand Up Show – Comedy Store
Start your night off with some comedy from Stephen Grant, Prince Abdi, Jarred Christmas, Romesh Ranganathan, Pete Johansson and The Noise Next Door . After you’ve laughed yourself silly, there will a DJ spinning tracks after for some dancing. Show starts at 8pm. Tickets: £59. The Comedy Store, 1a Oxendon Street, SW1Y 4EE. Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Comedy Store website. SOLD OUT
- UV NYE Party – Bounce
Ping pong bar and restaurant Bounce will be lit up with a UV light installation so everyone will be glowing. Guests encouraged to dress in vibrant UV clothing. Including unlimited, free UV ping pong all night, UV face artists to glowify guests, cocktail prizes for the best UV outfits and retro party anthems spun by DJ Mighty Atom vs Nick Terrific. 8.30pm until 3am. Tickets: £15. Bounce, 121 Holborn, EC1N 2TD. Nearest tube: Chancery Lane. For more information and tickets, visit the Bounce website. For Metro Girl’s review of Bounce, click here. SOLD OUT
- Belle Epoque’s Dark Circus Party
Enjoy an evening of ‘abandoned dancing, pleasure-seeking and spectacular entertainment’, featuring Bourne & Hollingsworth’s atmospheric production, amazing cocktails and performances from the Torture Garden. 9pm-3am. Tickets: £40. The Grand Hall St Pancras, Euston Road, WC1H 9JE. Nearest tube: Kings Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the Dark Circus website. SOLD OUT
- Prohibition 1920s New Year’s Eve party
Say hello to 2015 in 1920s style at this prohibition-themed party, includes live music, gramophone DJs, gambling, dancers and cocktails. Must dress in 1920s costume. 9pm-3am. Tickets: £40. Bloomsbury Ballroom, Bloomsbury Square, Bloomsbury, WC1B 4DA. Nearest tube: Russell Square or Euston. For more information, visit the Prohibition 1920s website. SOLD OUT
For a updated 2018 guide to London’s best speakeasy bars, click here.
Tonight sees the gala première of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby movie at the opening of this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Out of all the decades of the 20th century, the 1920s is the one which appears the most decadent, stylish and hedonistic. Personally for me, it’s my favourite decade of last century, I just love the fashion, the architecture and the cocktails. It’s safe to say, the impending release of the F Scott Fitzgerald adaptation has kicked off Gatsby fever, with many shops, bars and restaurants embracing the 1920s with themed menus, events and fashions. So if you’ve got a taste for the period and want to have your own Gatsby night (or day), here’s Metro Girl’s guide to both pop-up and permanent 1920s and Gatsby-themed venues and events around London.
1920s and prohibition themed bars and club nights
- Bourne & Hollingsworth Bar
Intimate basement cocktail bar in Fitzrovia looks like a grannies’ tea room, yet serve some strong cocktails which pack a punch. Bourne & Hollingsworth, 28 Rathbone Place, Fitzrovia, W1T 1JF. Nearest station: Goodge Street or Tottenham Court Road. For more information, visit the Bourne & Hollingsworth website.
- Cellar Door
A former Victorian men’s public toilet at Aldwych has been converted into a basement bar. Features a range of cocktails, bar snacks, snuff (!) and a range of entertainment, including cabaret and burlesque. Open from 6pm until 1am nightly. Cellar Door, Zero Aldwych, WC2E 7DN. Nearest station: Covent Garden or Temple. For more information, visit Cellar Door’s website. Read Metro Girl’s review following a recent visit.
- Evans & Peel Detective Agency
Basement speakeasy bar and restaurant in Earl’s Court. With cocktails being the main draw and 1920s experience, also features occasional live music. Booking in advance recommended. Evans & Peel Detective Agency, 310c Earls Court Rd, Earl’s Court, SW5 9BA. Nearest station: Earl’s Court. For more information, visit the Evans & Peel website.
- 69 Colebrooke Row
Twenties-style cocktail bar in the backstreets of Islington. Billed as ‘The Bar With No Name’, it’s a tight squeeze with only 30 seats. Includes experimental cocktails, an occasional pianist and the chance to take a cocktail masterclass. Reservations highly recommended. 69 Colebrooke Row, Islington, N1 8AA. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit the 69 Colebrooke Row website.
- Beaufort Bar @ The Savoy
You’ll be spoiled for choice from this extensive cocktail menu at the stunning black and gold, Art Deco bar in The Savoy Hotel. Excellent service, frequent live music with cocktails averaging £14.50 each. The Savoy, Savoy Court, The Strand, Westminster, WC2R OEU. Nearest station: Charing Cross, Embankment, Covent Garden or Temple. For more information, visit the Savoy’s website. Read Metro Girl’s review of the bar here.
- Happiness Forgets
Cocktail bar in a Hoxton Square basement. Reservations recommended. Happiness Forgets, 8-9 Hoxton Square, Shoreditch, N1 6NU. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street (overland) or Old Street. For more information, visit the Happiness Forgets website.
- The Lucky Pig
A speakeasy-themed basement bar in a Fitzrovia backstreet. Featuring Art Deco décor, red velvet curtains and an extensive cocktail list. Open Tues-Sat. The Lucky Pig, 5 Clipstone Street, Fitzrovia, W1W 6BB. Nearest station: Great Portland Street or Goodge Street. For more information, visit the Lucky Pig website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of The Lucky Pig.
- St James Bar @ Sofitel London St James
Hotel bar inspired by Coco Chanel’s 1920s Paris apartment. Features vintage and signature cocktails, champagne and bar menu. Sofitel London St James, 6 Waterloo Place, St James, SW1Y 4AN. Nearest station: Charing Cross or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Sofitel St James website.
- Rise 46
A 1920s-inspired bar in Clapham, featuring live music and entertainment. Open daily from 5pm, closing times vary, but 2am on Friday and Saturday nights. Rise 46, 46 Battersea Rise, Clapham, SW11 1EE. Nearest station: Clapham Junction. For more information, check out the Rise 46 website.
- Various dates : Prohibition 1920s Parties
This company has been hosting 1920s-themed parties in the capital for several years in various secret locations. Dress up in the 1920s-style to drink cocktails from tea cups, dance to live bands and DJs, gamble and watch silent cinema. Tickets: £20. For more information, visit the Prohibition 1920s website.
- Various dates : The Candlelight Club
A pop-up vintage nightclub which appears in various secret locations. Customers are asked to dress in 1920s-themed costumes, but nothing too flammable as the venue is lit entirely by candles! Includes one-off cocktail menu, special themes, live jazz bands and vintage DJs in a secret London location. For more information and tickets, visit the Candlelight Club website. For Metro Girl’s review of a Candlelight Club night, click here.
- Every Saturday : Kit Kat Club @ Proud Cabaret City
The City branch of the Proud Cabaret chain is transformed into a 1920s speakeasy on Saturday nights, featuring 1920s menu and burlesque performers. £49 inc three course meal and show. Reservations highly recommended. No.1 Mark Lane, City of London, EC3R 7AH. Nearest station: Tower Hill or Monument. For more information and booking, visit Proud Cabaret’s website.
Specials events during the film’s release (Spring 2013)
- Now until 20 May 2013 : 1920s-themed pop-up bar at Harrods
The folks at Knightsbridge’s iconic department store have transformed the underground tasting room and wine shop into a 1920s-themed bar in honour of the film’s release. Includes cocktail-making demonstrations and special creations by Courvoisier, Hendrick’s and Johnnie Walker available for consumption. Open during store hours. Harrods also features themed cocktail recipes and inspiration for fashion on their online ‘Summer Of Now’ shop. 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, SW1X 7XL. Nearest station: Knightsbridge. For more information, visit the Harrods website.
- 16 – 19 May 2013 : Whiteleys Goes Great Gatsby
To celebrate the opening of the Great Gatsby film, Whiteleys shopping centre is hosting four days of 1920s-themed events. Includes Charleston performances, swing dancing lessons, 1920s-inspired fashion shows, beauty boudoir, piano playing, photo booths and a speakeasy bar. Following the launch night on Thursday 16th, the event will be running from noon-5pm on Friday until Sunday. Whiteleys Shopping Centre, Queensway, W2 4YN. Nearest station: Bayswater and Queensway. For more information, visit the Whiteleys website.
- From 1 May 2013 onwards : Roaring ’20s Afternoon Tea @ Harvey Nichols
Season at The Fifth Floor restaurant of Harvey Nichols will be serving a unique Gatsby-inspired afternoon tea experience. Includes lobster rolls and peanut butter roll-up ‘Gatsby’ cigars as well as scones, macaroons, served with a glass of Champagne with gold leaf or prohibition cocktail. Available daily from 3-5pm. £30 for afternoon tea, or £40 including cocktail or Champagne. Harvey Nichols, 109-125 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7RJ. Nearest station: Knightsbridge. For more information, visit the Harvey Nichols website.
- 23 May 2013 : Gatsby night @ Libertine
The Fitzrovia club is hosting a one-off 1920s-themed night featuring cocktails, champagne, canapés, jazz beats and special performances. Dress code: 1920s glamour. Tickets: £30. From 8.30pm – 3am. Libertine, 4 Winsley Street, Fitztrovia, W1W 8HF. Nearest station: Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the Libertine’s website.
- Every Thursday in May : Great Gatsby Nights @ The Montagu
The Montagu restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, The Churchill is laying on a 1920s-inspired three course set-menu, including a coupe of champagne on arrival and live music from the hotel’s resident band Hot Dog Corn Dogs. Guests are encouraged to dress in themed fancy dress, with the best dressed winning free tickets to a screening of the film and the chance to win a three night stay at The Grand Hyatt New York. Price: From £35 per person for set menu and a glass of champagne. 30 Portman Square, Marylebone, W1H 7BH. Nearest station: Bond Street or Marble Arch. For more information, visit The Churchill’s website.
For a look at what London looked like in the ’20s, watch this amazing colour video shot in 1927.
If the coverage of the Cannes Film Festival inspires you to visit the town, read Metro Girl’s blog post on my trip to the French Riviera last summer.