Blog Archives

Fiesta time! Feel the Latin fever at the Casa Bonita pop-up bar in Carnaby

© Casa Bonita

Casa Bonita is a new Latin American themed pop-up bar in Soho

The capital is hot, hot, hot! Although these sizzling temperatures won’t last forever, it will always be summer in London’s newest pop-up. Casa Bonita is bringing a taste of Latin America to Carnaby. Soho’s newest venue opened in Kingly Street in June and aims to refresh thirsty Londoners until Christmas.

Situated in the heart of Carnaby, Casa Bonita is a flamboyant Latin hybrid bar, celebrating the best of Central and South America. This boozy hideout will be serving fabulous rum, tequila and cachaça cocktails to the strains of Reggaeton, Cuban Hip Hop, Brazilian beats and other Latin beats.

Margarita © Casa Bonita

Fiesta time! Sip on a Patron Margarita

If you’re a fan of the classic Latin cocktails, you won’t be disappointed with an extensive menu featuring Mojitos and Old Cubans made with the finest Barcardi Carta Blanca, Caipirinha made with Leblon cachaça or a Margarita made with Patrón Silver tequila. There will also be frozen Pina Coladas and ice cold Cervezas if you’re feeling hot.

Casa bonita can also keep you fed as well as watered with a menu of Mexican-style street food, such as chicken & chorizo empanadas or cheese & jalapeno quesadillas. Sports fans will be pleased to hear Casa Bonita will be screening Wimbledon and World Cup matches.

As well as two bars inside (with the basement available for private hire), there is also some alfresco space on Kingly Street if you want to enjoy the fresh air with your tipple.

  • Casa Bonita, 5 Kingly Street, Soho, W1B 5PF. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. Opening hours: (Ground Floor) Mon-Sat 2pm-1am, Sun 2pm-11pm. (Basement) Mon-Sat 5pm-1am, Sun 5pm-11pm. Also available for private hire. Tel: 0203 696 0070. For more information, visit the Casa Bonita website.

For a guide to what’s on in London in August 2018, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Celebrate the capital’s rich musical heritage at Soho Music Month 2018

Soho Music Month © Marc Sethi

Soho’s rich musical heritage is celebrated throughout Soho Music Month this June
© Marc Sethi

It’s June so that means summer is officially here! What better way to greet the best season (in most people’s opinion!) than a month-long celebration of the capital’s rich musical heritage. Taking over W1 this month is Soho Music Month, featuring a host of cultural events in venues across the area.

With 2018 being the centenary of women getting the right to vote, part of the festival will celebrate females in the industry. Independent label Market will be curating an all-female line-up, while female founders of independent labels will be taking over Berwick Street Market (16 June) selling their roster’s best vinyl. Meanwhile, three female DJs Xanthe Fuller, Sophie Callis and Cherrie Flava will be broadcasting live from the market on Soho Radio.

© Newburgh Quarter

Grab a bean bag or a spot on the ‘grass’ for the Newburgh Sessions

Throughout the festival, the hub and exhibition space Platform LDN will be opening its doors at 3 Carnaby Street. Daily throughout June, it will play host to a variety of free events, including a GRM Daily panel discussion, Reprezent Radio’s live broadcasts, book signings with DJ Jumping Jack Frost and DJ Target, of BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra fame. Check out the Carnaby website for listings and to register for a place on one of the sessions.

Every Thursday evening (5pm-9pm) in June, there will be a series of free outdoor gigs in the Newburgh Quarter. A pop-up stage will appear under ‘The Plug’ light installation on Ganton Street with a lawn and bean bags. Kicking things off on 7 June will be an all-female hip-hop DJ battle with Melody Kane, Emily Rawson, Ellie Prohan, Fearney and Sandra Omari. Following on 14 June will be Alex Tracey and his funk and indie pop-rhythms, presented by Stageside, a platform for unsigned, emerging or breaking artists from Instagram collective @London. On 21 June, will be a showcase of new talent from Platform LDN, NME Emerging and TuneCore. Closing the month on 28 June will be resident female DJs from NYC restaurant Dirty Bones, spinning old school hip-hop, R&B, funk and soul.

Throughout the month, there will be a host of musical events taking place in the streets, boutiques and restaurants of the area. Expect to see jazz sessions at The Duck & Rice, instore performance from Swedish singer-songwriter Natali Felicia at Sandqvist, ‘Bring Your Own Vinyl’ listening parties at Shinola and Campfire Music Sessions at Filson. There will be free guided walking tour on the music heritage of Carnaby and Soho. Meanwhile, Dirty Bones will be launching a limited-edition Doo Wop cocktail in homage to Lauryn Hill, as well as selling limited-edition Mac Daddy sliders, with a portion of the sales going to charity partner Youth Music.

For a guide to what else is on in London in June, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Fashion, discounts, workshops, cocktails and more at the Carnaby Style Weekender

© Stefan Jakubowski

Expand your skills at one of the workshops at the Carnaby Style Weekender
© Stefan Jakubowski

It’s time to kick off the new festival season and you don’t even have to worry about leaving London. This May, Carnaby are hosting a free, four-day festival celebrating fashion, lifestyle, food, drink and grooming. The Carnaby Style Weekender takes place on 10 – 13 May 2018, featuring a host of workshops, panel discussions and special events. There will be the chance to enjoy exclusive discounts and promotions in over 50 boutiques, bars and restaurants across the district’s 14 streets.

Model Jack McGuinness kicks off the Weekender on Thursday 10 May (6pm-8pm) with an exclusive fashion panel, featuring sartorial tips and where to find the best buys. Aspiring fashionistas can find how to get started in the industry in a talk hosted by independent Carnaby business owners James Scroggs of M.C. Overalls and Dane Butler of FINLAY London on Friday 11 May (6pm-7pm).

© Carnaby London

Sign up to a cocktail masterclass with Breddos Tacos

There will plenty of opportunities to update your look, including complimentary men’s haircuts from Pankhurst London. Ben Sherman and New Era hats will be offering complimentary monogramming and embroidery. You can also personalise a pair of the new Onitsuka Tiger trainers. Meanwhile, Nixon have created two limited-edition custom watches with only 20 available for sale. During the event, there will be exclusive discounts across the Carnaby brands, including Jack Wills, Pretty Green, Dr. Martens, OFFICE, Shinola, TOMS, Lazy Oaf and Skinnydip.

Ladies can head for a pamper with Urban Decay and Pixi offering free consultations and makeovers. Those who book in for a Detox Pedi at Cowshed can receive a complimentary Neville Travel Set, while Johnny’s Chop Shop will be marking their second birthday with live music and drinks on 10 May.

Throughout the Weekender, head to the Carnaby hub daily to try the free afternoon and evening workshops. Watch a carving demonstration in a Jamon Iberico masterclass at Charcuterie and tapas bar Dehesa. Make a collage with London’s unique souvenir store We Built This City and Collage Club London. Meanwhile, tequila lovers can learn how to make the perfect Margarita in a cocktail masterclass at Breddos Tacos’ bar. Pastaio are offering free Prosecco slushies with food orders after 9pm, while Senor Ceviche will be offering Peruvian Old Fashioneds for just £5. Wright Brothers Soho will be selling oysters for £1 each from 12pm-6pm.

  • The Carnaby Style Weekender takes place from 10 – 13 May 2018. In the Carnaby Quarter on and surrounding Carnaby Street, Soho, W1F. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. To find out more about the weekender, visit the Carnaby London website or to book a spot on the workshops or talks, click here.

For a guide to what’s on in London in May, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Explore the swinging sixties with the My Generation exhibition at Carnaby

© Paramount Pictures/Getty Images

Michael Caine in Alfie in 1966
© Paramount Pictures/Getty Images

Coming to Carnaby this month is a new exhibition to celebrate the launch of Sir Michael Caine’s film My Generation. The London legend narrates and stars in a documentary telling his journey through the Swinging Sixties and the people he met along the way.

To mark the release of the film, an exclusive exhibition will be showcasing photography, prints and previously unseen archive footage from the decade. The exhibition has been curated by Zelda Cheatle, who has collaborated with some of the era’s biggest photographers, such as Terry O’Neill, Brian Duffy and Barry Lategan. Many icons from the film are featured, including Twiggy, Roger Daltrey and The Who, Marianne Faithfull, Vidal Sassoon, Jean Shrimpton, Lulu, Paul McCartney and The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, David Bailey, Sandie Shaw and Mary Quant. Some of the pieces on show will be Lewis Morley’s infamous portrait of Christine Keeler and the first professional shot of Twiggy.

During the exhibition, there will be two Q&A sessions, hosted by Edith Bowman. My Generation’s director David Batty will be in conversation on Monday 12 March (6pm-7pm), while photographer Terry O’Neill will be recalling his amazing career on Monday 9 March (12.30pm-1.30pm). Tickets are free and available via a ballot on the Carnaby London website.

Meanwhile, a special screening of My Generation will be broadcast live via satellite from the BFI Southbank to UK and Irish cinemas on Wednesday 14 March. Celebrating Sir Michael’s 85th birthday, the screening will be followed by a Q&A with the birthday boy himself. Limited tickets are available via the MyGenerationMovie.co.uk website.

  • My Generation Exhibition runs from 8-21 March 2018 at 3 Carnaby Street, Soho, W1F 9FB. Nearest station: Oxford Circus. Open Mon-Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 12pm-6pm. Free entry. For more information, visit the Carnaby London website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in March, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Get your style fix with London Fashion Week at Carnaby London

Carnaby London Fashion WeekLondon Fashion Week isn’t just for the high movers and shakers of the fashion industry. This month, you can get your piece of the stylish action at Carnaby London. Just a short walk from the Brewer Street hub of LFW, the shops, bars and restaurants will be taking part with a host of on-trend activities and offers.

Grazia magazine’s fashion and beauty team are relocating to Carnaby Street to produce their ‘Live from London’ issue. Visitors can enjoy free industry talks, fashion charts, lifestyle workshops. Stylish shoppers can strike a pose for the Grazia Style Hunters’ cameras and will have the chance to win a £200 goodie bag.

A giant screen on Carnaby Street will give you the chance to sit on the FROW with live streaming of the hottest LFW shows. Among the catwalk coverage will be brands including Burberry, Peter Pilotto, JW Anderson and Roksanda. Carnaby Flash Sales will also appear on the big screen so you can get on-trend.

The Carnaby Pamper-Van will set up camp on Ganton Street in the Newburgh Quarter with complimentary fashion and beauty services, including;

  • Friday 16 September

12-4pm: The Braid Bar. London’s hottest braiders will instantly re-fresh your look.

5-7pm: Illamasqua. Carnaby’s make up brand will offer their Express Yourself service. Take a polaroid snap before you leave and visit their store throughout the week for live beauty demos for their new A/W collection.

  • Saturday 17 September

12-4pm: The Kaleidoscope Girls. Glitter up with this sparkling collective fresh from summer’s festival scene.

  • Sunday 18 September

12-4pm: Colour Riot Nails.  These creative artists will complete your new season look with pop art nail designs.

5–7pm: Benefit.  Carnaby’s beauty brand will host a brow masterclass and touch up service.

  • Monday 19 September

12-4pm: Hand & Lock. Get personal and monogram your Carnaby tote bag.

5-7pm: Pixi. Give your skin some TLC mini treatments and make-up tips.

  • Tuesday 20 September

Have a bespoke fashion sketch drawn of yourself from the creative illustrators.

Meanwhile, other offers and experiences include customise your jeans at Pepe Jeans, personalised a pair of painted Superga trainers, customise your cap at New Era and emboss your Shinola journal. Office, Evisu and Sweaty Betty will be offering 20% off, while Havaianas will be knocking 30% off the price. Cowshed will be offering complimentary body lotion with purchases over £18, while Triyoga are offering 1 weeks of unlimited yoga for £30.

Party at Paul Smith with a live DJ and drinks between 12-3pm on 17 September, while Diesel will host a pop-up bar on 16 and 17 September between 5-7pm. Wrights Brothers Soho have curated an exclusive Fashion Week menu of Dressed Oysters and Champagne, while Señor Ceviche have created a stylish new champagne cocktail.

  • London Fashion Week at Carnaby London takes place from 16 – 20 September 2016. Events take place in the Carnaby London area, including Kingly Court and the Newburgh Quarter. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby London website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in September, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Fashion talks: Discounts, freebies, shopping and more as Carnaby Style Night returns

Carnaby Panel

Panel discussions on fashion will be among the special events at the Carnaby Style Night

Love fashion? Prefer a more boutique-shopping experience to the mega malls? Well, just metres away from the hectic retail thoroughfare of Oxford Circus is a rather more chilled and relaxing shopping experience to be had in the Carnaby London district. Comprising Carnaby Street and the surrounding streets, there’s a host of shops, restaurants, cafes and bars in this Soho enclave.

Returning this May, is the annual Carnaby Style Night. The businesses of the area have teamed up with GQ magazine for an evening of discounts, freebies, competitions, special events… and of course, shopping! On Thursday 5 May between 5 and 9pm, over 100 shops, restaurants, bars and cafes will be offering 20% off.

When you fancy a break from retail therapy, there will be plenty of special events on the night, including live music on the main stage, from artists including Sinead Harnett and Croox. The Carnaby Style Panel is back so budding fashionistas can get insider knowledge from Carnaby’s Creative Brand Directors and experts. Many of the stores, such as Levi’s and Cubitts will be offering drinks while you shop, while some boutiques will be hosting in-store DJs to get you in the party mood. Dirty Bones will be hosting a pop-up bar on Ganton Street, offering an exclusive complimentary cocktail.

To register for a free ticket to get your 20% off, visit the Carnaby London website. You’ll automatically be entered into a prize draw to win £500 worth of shopping vouchers plus a year’s subscription to GQ magazine.

  • The Carnaby Style Night takes place on Thursday 5 May from 5-9pm at the Carnaby London district. Nearest stations: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information and to register for your 20% off discount, visit the Carnaby London website.

For a guide to what else is on in London right now, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Artist Julian Opie creates new permanent artwork for Carnaby as Lumiere London kicks off

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

A moving light installation called ‘Shaida Walking’ is erected on Broadwick Street

The streets of the capital will be lit up in ways never seen before this week as Lumiere London kicks off. Over four consecutive evenings (14-17 January 2016), international artists will light up some of the West End and Kings Cross’ most iconic buildings with 3D projections, interactive installations and illuminated artwork.

To coincide with the festival, British artist Julian Opie has created a new piece of moving art to be erected permanent in the Carnaby district of Soho. Entitled ‘Shaida Walking’, the piece is a double-sided LED monolith which uses light and animation to create a ‘walking portrait’. The artwork will stand on Broadwick Street and will appear as if the female figure is walking towards Carnaby Street. ‘Shaida Walking’ will join the existing permanent art and design installations among the 13 streets of Carnaby.

Opie is one of Britain’s most popular and influential artists in the country right now, with his work displayed in galleries including Tate Gallery in London and MoMA in New York City.

Clare Harris, Head of Group Marketing and Communications at Shaftesbury, enthused: ‘Lumiere London is set to be an exceptional festival celebrating London’s unique architecture as a canvas for some truly inspiring pieces of art. We are delighted to have the only permanent piece in Carnaby creating a legacy of the festival for years to come. Working with Julian Opie, a renowned London artist, felt like the perfect match for this iconic destination.’

  • Shaida Walking will be on display on Broadwick Street, W1F, near the junction with Carnaby Street from this week. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. Lumiere London takes place in the evenings at Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, St James, Carnaby Street, Oxford Circus and Kings Cross from 14-17 January 2016. Free. For more information, visit the London.gov.uk website or Carnaby London.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Indulge your sweet tooth while savouring your fave tipple at the world’s first edible alcohol store Eat Your Drink

© Smith & Sinclair 2015

Down the hatch! Try Smith & Sinclair’s trademark cocktail pastilles at their Eat Your Drink pop-up in Soho

Those with a sweet tooth and penchant for booze… did you know you can combine both loves at once? Alcoholic explorers Smith & Sinclair, who launched their alcoholic confectionary last year, are opening a new pop-up store. Based downstairs at Benefit in Soho’s Carnaby Street, Eat Your Drink is a strictly adults-only candy store with a difference.

Smith & Sinclair have deconstructed iconic cocktails, such a Mojitos and Pina Coladas and transferred those recognisable flavours into a not-so-humble sweet. Shoppers will be able to taste, touch and smell their favourite drinks in a new physical form. Be prepared for an assault on the senses with a range of boozy experiences, such as alcoholic bubbles and perfumes to infused candy floss and cocktail dib dabs and garnishes. Among the brands working with S&S include Duppy Share, Sipsmith Gin, Firefly Tonic, Jools Drinks and Two Birds Vodka.

As well as selling a range of naughty treats, Eat Your Drink will also be hosting evening events, such as panel discussions, workshop and more. Events will start from just £5.

To receive 10% off any product between 13-24 December, say ‘put a jelly in Santa’s belly’ at the till.

  • Eat Your Drink is open from 17 November until 24 December 2015. Located downstairs at Benefit, 10 Carnaby Street, Soho, W1F 9PF. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. The store is open daily for free, but evening special events will be ticketed through Eventbrite and DesignMyNight. For more information, visit the Smith & Sinclair website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The Refinery: Shopping, workshops and entertainment at the Newburgh Quarter’s special event

The Refinery is a one-day special event featuring the shops, bars and restaurants of the Newburgh Quarter in Soho

The Refinery is a one-day special event featuring the shops, bars and restaurants of the Newburgh Quarter in Soho

Being the heart of tourist season, shopping on Oxford Street and Regent Street can be rather stressful at this time of year (or any time!). So next time you need a spot of retail therapy, consider heading to the Newburgh Quarter. Located just to the east of Carnaby Street, the Newburgh Quarter offers a more relaxed pace, with a diverse range of boutiques, independent shops, bars and restaurants.

On Saturday 8 August 2015, the shops and restaurants of the Newburgh Quarter will be taking part in a one day special event – The Refinery, featuring offers, freebies, workshops, live music and art and more. Creatives and fashion fans will certainly find plenty of occupy them.

Among the activities are:
· Denim Masterclass at Levi’s Vintage Store
· Denim customisation workshops at Evisu
· Clay workshops and Piñata making class at Lazy Oaf
· BBQ Grill Masterclasses at Kua ‘Aina
· Learn the art of the perfect espresso with all day demos at Department of Coffee and Social Affairs
· Gin tasting at Cubitts
· Shave and finish at Gentlemen’s Barber Pankhurst London
· How to apply lashes and create the perfect brow at Lash Perfect Lash Bar
· Master the art of the bow tie at Peckham Rye
· Live screen printing at new store Supremebeing
· Trend talks with famed tailor Mark Powell

There’ll be the chance to pose in Lomography’s instant photobooth, listen to acoustic music at Laurel Wreath by Fred Perry, enjoy a free craft ale at the White Horse pub (by registering online), as well as entertainment from spoken-word artists, brass bands and acoustic musicians.

  • The Refinery takes place in the Newburgh Quarter (surrounded by Foubert’s Place, Marshall Street and Ganton Street), Soho, W1 on Saturday 8 August 2015 between 12-5pm. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby Street website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in August, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Spirit Of Soho mural: Celebrating the history and characters of Soho

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

The Spirit Of Soho mural stands on the side of 9 Carnaby Street overlooking Broadwick Street

Various areas of London come and go as the ‘trendy’ new postcode to visit. However, one that has remained an eternal draw to Londoners and visitors for decades as a playground for both is Soho. Bordered by the shops of Oxford and Regent Street with the theatres of Shaftesbury Avenue cutting through it, Soho today retains a mix of its old and new haunts – with iconic venues and restaurants such as Ronnie Scott’s and the Gay Hussar sharing the same roads as the inevitable chain restaurants and coffee shops.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

The right panel features (top to bottom) the Palladium, Carnaby Street and Ronnie Scott’s

Back in 1991, the community of Soho created a mural at the western end of Broadwick Street to celebrate the characters and venues which make the area so special. Crowning the mural is St Anne – who lends her name to Soho’s church in Dean Street – with her skirt forming the streets and lanes of Soho. Dotted around are dogs and hares, harking back to Soho’s origins as royal hunting ground between the 16th and 17th centuries. In fact, the word Soho is believed to have come from an old hunting cry.

Representing Chinatown in the south east corner of the skirt, is the pagoda and Lee Fung supermarket, while the western borders features a depiction of Liberty’s department store with its iconic Tudor-style timber frame. On the right panel of the mural, popular Soho spots are depicted including the Palladium, Carnaby Street and Ronnie Scott’s, while the left panel features an artist in his studio (believed to be late animator Bob Godfrey MBE), fashion stores and international restaurants. Among the streets of Soho you may well recognise one of the Groucho Brothers – likely alluding to the iconic Groucho Club on Dean Street.

At the bottom of the mural is a huddle of notable Soho residents and clientele, including revolutionary Karl Marx, artist William Blake, poet Dylan Thomas and jazz musician George Melly. When the clock (which was restored in 2006) strikes on the hour, look carefully to see Marx sipping a can of Coca-Cola, while opera singer Teresa Cornelys winks at her former lover Casanova, who returns the favour by blowing her a kiss. Marx actually lived in Dean Street in the 1850s with his family, above what is now the Quo Vadis restaurant. During his time in Soho, Marx and his wife suffered the loss of three of their children in infancy, while he also wrote his proposal for the Communist Manifesto in a room above the Red Lion pub on Great Windmill Street. Meanwhile, Teresa’s parties at her home, Carlisle House in Soho Square were legendary in the mid 1700s. She fathered a daughter Sophia during an affair with Italian playboy Casanova, who used to visit the house.

Next time you’re in Soho, why not pay a visit to the mural and see who you can recognise. Aim to visit on the hour for the very subtle animations around the clock.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Animated: As the clock strikes the hour, watch as Karl Marx sips Coke, Teresa Cornelys winks as Casanova, who blows a kiss back

  • The Spirit Of Soho mural in located on the Berwick Street side of 9 Carnaby Street, Soho, W1F 9PB. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus.

For more of Metro Girl’s history blog posts, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin