To those unaware, Mac & Wild is a Scottish drinking and dining destination across two London venues. Located a stone’s throw from Liverpool Street station, the Devonshire Square branch opened in November 2016 and has fed and watered cityslickers ever since.
Last week, I went along for the launch of two events taking place at Mac & Wild City – a virtual shooting range and the ‘Drams in the Dark’ experience. Having previously visited the Fitzrovia branch for an amazing dinner, I had high hopes for its sister venue. Located in the Georgian enclave of Devonshire Square, Mac & Wild covers two storeys and an outdoor terrace. Our visit coincided with the hottest day of the year at a sweltering 34c so a frozen gin cocktail on arrival was much appreciated.
After sipping a cocktail on the balmy terrace, stepping inside to the cool, air-conditioned enclaves of the building was very alluring. While the main restaurant is located on the ground floor, we headed downstairs to the lower ground to the new whisky bar and virtual shooting range. The vibe is Scottish Highlands-meets-contemporary with wooden beams, leather and fur seating, foliage and over 200 varieties of whisky bottles behind the bar. The team behind Mac & Wild have teamed up whisky expert Blair Bowman to curate the menu and special events, as well as Monkey Shoulder and Glenfiddich. The bar features some interesting twists on whisky servings, such as the Whisky Slushie, of which we enjoyed a few. The slushie was a short, frozen combination of apple and whisky which was both sweet and refreshing. My friend isn’t a big whisky drinker and said she really enjoyed them. As well as plenty of whisky, the bar also offers some of Mac & Wild’s most popular dishes, including Venison Scotch Eggs, Haggis Pops, Mac & Cheese and the Veni-Moo Burger.
Aside from the drinking, one of Mac & Wild’s most unique offerings is its Virtual Shooting Range. The Devonshire Square venue features two lanes equipped with state-of-the-art virtual shooting systems and replica shotguns. As a bona fide city girl and animal lover, the thought of going actual shooting is quite alien to me. However, I was a fan of shooting computer games such as House of the Dead and Duck Hunt as a teenager so was eager to see if my skills had stood up over time. My friend and I had a lot of fun as we tried shooting boars and bears, despite not being too successful, although we watched others fare better. You can choose between clays, rabbits, pheasants, grouse, to deer, boars and bears so the game has quite a variety.
Following a spot of shooting, we headed into a pitch black room for the ‘Drams in the Dark’ experience, hosted by whisky consultant and author Blair Bowman. The dark room setting means your senses are heightened so the aromas and tastes of the whiskies have new depths. Before the tasting begins, you are given an introduction as you settle in and slowly get used to sitting in the darkness. The experience sees you being guided through four or five drams of whisky, along with pairing canapes, which give an added dimension. Among the whiskies we tried were Talisker 10 Years and a Dalmore 12 Years – two very different flavours. Tasting the Talisker along with a bit of fruit cake was a really interesting combination. Despite sitting in a dark room full of strangers, we felt comfortable and really enjoyed the experience. Blair’s knowledge and passion for whisky was really evident and his guidance was useful for both newbies and experienced whisky drinkers.
- Mac & Wild, Devonshire Square, City of London, EC2M 4YN. Nearest station: Liverpool Street. The Whisky Bar is open Tues-Sat from 5pm until late, with the Whisky Hour (happy hour) available daily from 5pm-7pm. The Virtual Shooting Range lanes are available for groups of 2-40 people and are bookable between Mon-– Sat from 12pm-11pm.
- Drams In The Dark take place every Friday and Saturday night from 27 July 2018 and last 90 minutes. Tickets: £40 (include pairing canapes). For more information and booking, visit the Mac & Wild website.
Check out Metro Girl’s review of dinner at Mac & Wild Fitzrovia.
For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.
December is finally here so the Christmas countdown can really begin. This month, Londoners will be entertained with a festive extravaganza with music, dance, ice skating and more. The ‘Art for Love’ festival will take place in Devonshire Square’s historic Western Courtyard, with lunchtime and after-work performances.
The events are:
- 1 December (12.30pm) : Christmas Wonderland ballet show.
- 7 December (5.30pm) : A Magical Christmas – Traditional Carols Concert by The Capital Arts Children’s Choir and London Cantamusica.
- 8 December (12.30pm) : Magic on Ice – Ice skating show.
- 11 December (6pm) – An evening of carols by the Constanza Chorus.
- 14 December (5.30pm) – The Deep End of Sound by Composer Alberto Ferro.
- 15 December (5pm) – Violins and Butterflies Christmas Show: LED Violins concert and illuminated butterfly ballerinas.
- 16 December (6.30pm) – Zalon Live in concert with his band.
- 19 December (5pm) – Saxophonist Aaron Liddard and his band The Argonauts live in concert.
Of course, Christmas is all about the spirit of giving so Devonshire Square will be teaming up with homeless charity The Connection to grant Christmas wishes and raise money for an important cause. Taking centre stage will be the Christmas Giving Tree, featuring wishes written on paper hearts. You can help them come true by writing ‘honoured’ on them and pledging to make that special request a reality. Surrounding the trees will be the stunning ‘Twilight Trees’ installation by artist Susie Reid, featuring sparkling cherry trees covered in illuminated blossom.
Amidst all the entertainment and festive fun will be plenty of restaurant and bars in the square if you’re feeling peckish, including Mac & Wild, Cinnamon Kitchen and Pitt Cue. Located in the City of London, just a short walk from Liverpool Street or Spitalfields Market, Devonshire Square is a historic business and entertainment quarter, dating back to the 18th century.
- Art For Love Christmas Festival takes place from 1-19 December 2017. At Devonshire Square (Western Courtyard), City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.
With 2017 being the UK-India Year of Culture, there has already been a host of events across the country celebrating our cultural exchange with India. This July and August, London is honouring that special relationship with a six-week long Indian Dance Festival. The Tales Of Silk And Music festival will take place in the historic 18th century surrounds of Devonshire Square on the fringes of the City.
Over the summer, London’s leading performers will take audiences on a retrospective journey through a range of Indian dance styles, from traditional to contemporary. With Devonshire Square’s origins as the former warehouse complex of the East India Company, the setting could not be more apt. The entertainment programme has been jointly curated by Akademi South Asian Dance and the Bollywood Co. a team of professionals based at the renowned Pineapple Dance Studio.
Patrizia Sechi, Events Manager at Devonshire Square: ‘We have scoured London to find the very best artists and the programme features dancers who have performed at high-profile events such as the launch of the UK-India Year of Culture itself, at Buckingham Palace, film and TV performances, as well as Bollywood Film Festivals. In staging Tales of Silk and Music, we hope to create an opportunity for new audiences to enjoy this beautiful and vibrant art form as part of London’s diverse cultural scene.’
Among the highlights of the festival include:
- 6 July : Rainbows in Motion – a spectacular and uplifting fusion of modern and classical Indian dance by Bollywood Co.
- 13 July : Odissi (ancient Indian classical dance from East India) performance by professional dancers Maryam Shakiba and Katrina Rute.
- 27 July : Dancenbeats perform Dandiya Raas – the traditional folk dance form of Gujarat and Rajasthan, in Western India.
- 3 August : Debanjali Biswas performs Manipuri dance, one of the major Indian classical dance styles.
During the festival, Cinnamon Kitchen will be hosting a Summer Pavilion and Bombay Sapphire Gin Garden, featuring a bespoke gin bar, luxury gazebos and an inventive Indian-inspired menu.
- Tales Of Silk And Music performances take place every Thursday at 12.30pm from now until 17 August 2017. Free to watch. Devonshire Square (Western Courtyard), City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.
This September, why not celebrate the best of Italy with a festival of food and music? The historic Devonshire Square in the City of London is hosting the ‘Italia, Amore Mio’ festival from 26 – 30 September 2016. As well as giving visitors the chance to sample delicious Italian food and have their ears delighted by the country’s music, there will also be the opportunity to donate to the Italian Red Cross’ Earthquake appeal.
The festival will bring together the rich gastronomical treats from eight Italian regions, with authentic delicacies rarely found outside the country. Inside the inflatable, pop-up Duomo delle Delicatezze (Dome of delicacies) will be a variety of dishes from Sardinia, Sicily, Campania, Liguria, Apulia, Calabria, Tuscany and Lazio. Visitors will have the choice of 20 different kinds of homemade lasagna, specialty chocolate, liquors made from lemons, the finest caught tuna, and organic cheeses, among many others.
Meanwhile, Italian music will fill the air during lunchtime concerts. Artists include internationally acclaimed tenor Yuri Sabatini, swing singer Chris Vinante with the Tony P. Riccio Trio, dramatic tenor Yannis Hadjopulos, and a tribute to the iconic Italian singer Mina by vocalist Laura Araldo.
Patrizia Sechi, Events Manager at Devonshire Square, said: ‘We have a unique opportunity to celebrate the vibrant Italian culture through its foods and arts, with a wide array of delicacies under the Duomo delle Delicatezze. Italy has such a diverse range of traditional foods from pastas to cheeses to local beverages, it is a great opportunity to house them under one roof in the heart of London in Devonshire Square’s historic setting. We are also humbled to be in a position to use this event to raise money to give a charitable donation to those in Italy who were affected by the recent earthquake.’
- The Italia, Amore Mio festival takes place from 26 – 30 September 2016, daily from 11am-8pm. At Devonshire Square, City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in September, click here.
Europe is a hot topic at the moment thanks to the UEFA Euro 2016 championships and the EU Referendum. Regardless of your politics or football allegiance, you can’t deny the cultural gifts we enjoy from various countries across the continent.
Running in parallel with the football championships is a five-week programme celebrating European culture. From 10 June to 14 July, the Harlequin Euro Festival will bring European culture, language and folk traditions to the historic surrounds of Devonshire Square in the City of London.
The title of the festival is inspired by mischievous Arlecchino, the character from the 16th Century Italian ‘Commedia dell’arte’, famous for his multi-coloured chequered costume.
Among the highlights of the festival include:
- 21 June: Flamenco Vision – a stunning display of flamenco music and dance.
- 22 June: ‘The Italian Dream’ Opera – a concert by international acclaimed tenors Alberto Sousa, Leonel Pinheiro and Alex Tsilogiannis.
- 7 July: Parisian Moulin Rouge Can-Can themed show by Tillie’s Can Can.
- 14 July: Portuguese Fado music concert by Ru Vasconcellos and Mario Bakuna.
Patrizia Sechi, Events Manager at Devonshire Square said: ‘The European Football Championships have provided us with the prefect opportunity to put on a vibrant selection of events to celebrate European culture through food, music and art performances. Over the next five weeks the rich tapestry of events will unfold, under the Harlequin banner, bringing together members of the public to celebrate in line with the football.’
- The Harlequin Euro Festival takes place from 10 June – 14 July 2016 on weekday lunchtimes. At Devonshire Square’s western courtyard, City of London, EC2M. Nearest station: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in July, click here.
Vino lovers rejoice, London Wine Week is back. This week – and Bank Holiday Weekend – (23-29 May 2016), the annual celebration of the mighty grape and all its flavours returns to the capital for the third year running. Throughout the week, over 125 venues will be taking part, offering tastings, tours, parties, masterclasses and other wine-related fun. The boozy festival is from the same team behind London Cocktail Week and London Beer Week.
The main festival hub will be the historic Devonshire Square in the heart of the City. Participants can pick up their special wristbands before sampling the drinkable delights from the various pop-ups. The Square will also host the new LWW Banquets, a series of wine-tasting meals in conjunction with the Disappearing Dining Club.
Your wristband, which costs just £10, means you can join in the special LWW events and try wine flights for just £5 across the venues. Among the highlights is the self-guided wine tasting tour, where you can sample new grapes, varieties and vintages as you hop between bars and restaurants.
In the relaxing surroundings of Devonshire Square, there will be a range of bars and pop-ups, including English sparkling wines on the terrace, the Wines of Portugal Discovery Bar, Vins de Provence Le Beach Bar and the DrinkUp.London Vermouth Bar. The Disappearing Dining Club will be hosting five banquets made to match different wines at the Devonshire Square suite.
Not far away from Devonshire Square, the fun will continue at the rooftop BBQ at the Queen of Hoxton, Franciacorta’s pop-up bar at Andaz Liverpool Street or Aldi’s wine-tasting bar at Boxpark Shoreditch.
- London Wine Week 2016 takes place from 23 – 29 May at venues across London. Buy a £10 wristband so you can take part in £5 wine taster flights, discounts and deals. The main LWW hub is in Devonshire Square, City of London, EC2M. Nearest station: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the London Wine Week website.
For a guide to what else is on in London this week, click here.
With all the partying and shopping in the run-up to Christmas, it can be easy for the season’s true message to get lost amidst all the pomp. So why not venture to Devonshire Square in the City of London this month for a dose of Christmas revelry while celebrating the spirit of giving.
For those who don’t know, Devonshire Square is a relaxing space on the edge of the City, full of historic Georgian townhouses and converted 18th century warehouses. As well as a host of restaurants, bars, galleries and more, its open courtyard is a hub of activity and entertainment. Among the restaurants on site include Hix City, Marco Pierre White Steak & Alehouse and Cinnamon Kitchen.
At the centre of attention in Devonshire Square this festive season will be the Christmas Wishing Tree, decorated with paper hearts featuring handwritten wishes from those in need. Visitors can read the wishes and pledge to make it come true by writing ‘honoured’ on the hearts. For every wish granted, a floating candle with be lit and released into the fountain in the Western Courtyard on 22 December. The granted wishes will then be given to homeless charity The Connection on Christmas Day.
As well as offering an opportunity for you to do your bit for those less fortunate, there will also be a host of free live entertainment over December.
- Thursday 10 December @ 12.30pm : The High Society Brass Band
Part of an 80-piece marching band, they will be playing popular classical, pop and jazz hits while wearing their Christmas jumpers.
- Monday 14 December @ 6pm : The Constanza Chorus
Local choral society will be singing to raise money for the Help Musicians UK charity
- Tuesday 15 December @ 12.30pm : Tenori
Talented trio of internationally acclaimed opera singers (Alexander Grove, Nicholas Ransley and John Hudson) will be performing.
- Tuesday 22 December @ 12.30pm : Sammie Jay and Wishing Tree Ceremony
The floating candles will be lit for each wish honoured on the Wishing Tree, while singer/songwriter Sammie Jay will rouse the audience will her powerful voice.
- Devonshire Square, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street, Aldgate or Aldgate East. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.
For a guide to what else is on in London this December, click here.
For a guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs, click here.
Fancy yourself a bit of a whiz at the pool table? Well for over 10 days this September, London’s Devonshire Square will be playing host to a charity pool tournament. Cue For Change will take place in the historic surroundings of the former 18th century warehouses with money raised going to the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust.
City workers and pool enthusiasts will be invited to play a game or two on the three pool tables between 12.30-2.30pm each day for the tournament, with more relaxed playing available outside those hours. The games will cost £1, with proceeds going to Dame Kelly’s trust, which supports athletes and young people. The prize giving will be conducted by European Junior Champion, Triple Jumper and Rio 2016 hopeful Julien Allwood.
During the tournament, Hix City will be hosting a pop-up restaurant, serving a special £5 per item menu of food and drinks. They’ll also be giving out free chicken popcorn to anyone who donates to the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust.
- Cue For Change will run from 1 – 10 September 2015. The tournament will take place daily between 12.30-2.30pm, while the pool tables will be available to play on outside of these hours. Devonshire Square, EC2M. Nearest station: Liverpool Street, Aldgate or Aldgate East. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in September, click here.