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Kylie and Madonna as you’ve never heard them before: Cabaret sensation Michael Griffiths comes to Live at Zedel

Michael Griffiths Kylie show Live at Zedel

Award-winning cabaret star Michael Griffiths brings his ‘Lucky: Songs By Kylie’ show to Live at Zedel

The songs of Kylie, Madonna and Cole Porter as you’ve never heard them before! Coming to London this summer is award-winning cabaret star Michael Griffiths. Following his sold-out performances at the Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room and this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the talented Aussie will be premiering his new show ‘Lucky: Songs by Kylie’ at Live at Zedel. From 30 August to 5 September, Michael will be performing ‘Lucky’, along with his two previously critically acclaimed shows, ‘In Vogue: Songs by Madonna’ and ‘Cole: Songs by Cole Porter’ at the intimate Crazy Coqs club.

His three shows are inspired by each artist, with songs and stories. Michael will showcase his Broadway voice while tinkling the ivories and regaling the audience with some classic tunes and funny anecdotes. Michael has already wowed audiences and critics across his native Australia, along with New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Hong Kong, Auckland and the Edinburgh Fringe. Broadway Baby has hailed Michael as ‘obscenely talented’, while the Scotsman described his show as ‘a fittingly debonair tribute to an artist of grace and style’.

Crazy Coqs is an intimate vintage cabaret club in the Zédel building in Piccadilly. It serves a wide selection of drinks and small plates to fuel you while you’re entertained. The building encompasses Crazy Coqs, the Brasserie Zedel and Bar Américain, featuring the original Art Deco interiors designed by Oliver Percy Bernard in the 1930s.

  • Michael Griffiths will perform ‘Lucky: Songs by Kylie’ from 30 August – 2 September, ‘In Vogue: Songs By Madonna’ on 30 – 31 August and ‘Cole: Songs By Cole Porter’ on 4 – 5 September 2018. Live At Zedel takes place at Crazy Coqs, 20 Sherwood Street, Soho, W1F 7ED. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. For more information and tickets, visit the Brasserie Zedel website.

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

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Music, dance and giving back at the ‘Art for Love’ Christmas festival at Devonshire Square

Devonshire Square © Patrizia Ilaria Sechi

Help those less fortunate at Devonshire Square’s Giving Tree during the ‘Art for Love’ festival
© Patrizia Ilaria Sechi

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:

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.

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Brixton Beach: The spirit of Cuba comes to South London with cocktails, food, music and more

© Brixton Beach

The spirit of Cuba comes to South London at the Brixton Beach this summer

As the weather gets warmer and the nights get brighter, there’s not much better places to be in London than a rooftop bar. This summer, city slickers will be able to enjoy a slice of Cuba at Brixton Beach. The open-air hotspot comes from the award-winning team behind South Pole Saloon, Big Apple Brixton and last year’s popular Brixton Beach Boulevard. Londoners can step away from city life for a few hours as they are transported to a tropical paradise with plenty of food, drink and entertainment.

Revellers will be entertained by a series of events and experiences, including day or night parties, DJs, film and beach barbeques. As you would expect, the bar will be serving up a plethora of tropical concotions with a Cuban-inspired menu. Expect to sip on classics including Rum Daiquiris, Piña Coladas, Cubanitos and Mojitos from Bacardi while you inhale the scents of mint and other hanging, fresh and fruity foliage. While fans of Jamaican beer will be able to visit the dedicated Red Stripe bar, others can quaff Argentine sparkling wine from Moët Hennessy at their exclusive beach side lounge bar. As the nights draw in, guests can dance the night away at The Clubhouse – a covered area inspired by iconic venues such as La Floridita and La Bodeguita del Medio, which will play host to live music, dancers and cabaret performers.

When revellers are feeling peckish, there will be a choice of street food stalls, including Mac and Cheese experts, Mac to the Future, Nanban’s Japanese soul food, Del 74’s Mexican tacos and STAKEhaus. There will also be weekly BBQ pop-up residencies from some of the capital’s most smoking venues every Thursday, such as Mama’s Jerk and Negril.

Every weekend there will be a beach party with entertainment from a range of genres by live DJs, traditional Latin American brass bands and exciting cabaret performances. This summer’s line-up includes Ben Pearce, Norman Jay MBE, Late Nite Tuff Guy, Maxxi Soundsystem, Paul Woolford and PBR Streetgang. Meanwhile, Sunday Sessions will be hosted by the likes of SolidGrooves, Metalheadz, Midnight Riot and Supa Dupa Fly. In July, the Brixton Beach will be hosting Cuba’s biggest holiday, Carnival de Cuba, with their Beach Carnival, featuring Cuban dancers and afro-Cuban drum music.

  • Brixton Beach, Pope’s Road, Brixton, SW9 8JH. Nearest station: Brixton. Brixton Beach opens for the summer from 26 May to 1 October 2017. Open Thu: 6pm-11pm, Fri: 6pm-12am, Sat 2pm-12am, Sun 2pm-11pm. For more information, visit the Brixton Rooftop website.

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Foodie talks, music, comedy and more as Live At Zédel launches

Live At Zédel

Gizzi Erskine and Grace Dent will be among the names appearing at Live At Zédel

The Zédel building in Piccadilly is a pretty special place. It comprises of the Brasserie, Crazy Coqs and Bar Américain – located in the former basement of the Regent Palace Hotel, which stood on the site until 2016. The three venues feature the stunning, original Art Deco interiors designed by Oliver Percy Bernard in the 1930s, making you feel like you have stepped into an Agatha Christie novel set on a luxurious cruise liner. While many people know of the Zédel building as a place to eat or drink, it’s soon to be a new hotspot for West End arts events.

Launching this month, ‘Live At Zédel’ will host a series of events, featuring music, theatre, comedy and literature. Londoners of all ages will find a place to whet their cultural appetite – whatever their interests – at evenings in the Brasserie and Crazy Coqs spaces. The bill will include a diverse range of established and upcoming talent, with names such as Doc Brown, Grayson Perry and the Philharmonia Orchestra.

This week (21-24 September 2016) will be themed Food Week, with Gizzi Erskine, Grace Dent, Levi Roots and Jay Rayner sharing their foodie knowledge.

Acclaimed songwriter Scott Alan has been appointed Artistic Director in Residence for the Autumn season. He will bring a host of musical theatre talent to Zédel, including Shoshana Bean, Rachel Tucker, Mark Shenton and Julie Atherton. Meanwhile, a host of music acts from across the genres will also perform, such as Maria Friedman, Sam Smith’s pianist Reuben James, singer-songwriter Jono McCleery, X Factor winner Matt Cardle, drag super-group DENIM, La Voix and Crazy Coqs’ favourite Miss Hope Springs.

Diners at the Brasserie can head upstairs to the Crazy Coqs for some post-meal jazz at the ‘After Hours’ and ‘The Early Late Show’. However, if comedy floats your boat, Girl power troupe Birthday Girls, Theatre With Legs, the Althea Theatre’s new show Double Trouble, and Dolls Eye Theatre’s Might Never Happen will also be performing.

  • Live At Zedel takes place at Crazy Coqs or Brasserie Zédel, 20 Sherwood Street, Soho, W1F 7ED. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. Matinee times: 3-6pm, early evening: 7pm, evening: 9pm, late night: 11pm. For more information, visit the Brasserie Zedel website.

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

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Spotlight Festival: Music, performances, shopping and more at the West End’s one day festival

© Matt Alexander/PA Wire

The Spotlight festival returns to Seven Dials, a one-day festival of comedy, music and arts.
© Matt Alexander/PA Wire

Many festivals can be rather tough on the wallet. However, this weekend, you can get your festival fever fix for free as Spotlight returns to Seven Dials. The iconic West End shopping and dining destination will be closed to traffic for one day for a festival of music, comedy and arts.

An open-air stage will feature a host of performances, including the cast of Motown The Musical and Treasure Island, comedy from Nathan Caton and magic from Britain’s youngest illusionist Ben Hart. The stage, hosted by George Lamb, will also feature music from Sample Answer, Old Dirty Brasstards and King Charles.

Among the activities on offer include pop-up tea garden, crazy golf, giant chess, giant Connect 4, Airstream photo booth, design your own flower crown and watch Margaux Carpentier’s live art mural unfold. The surrounding shops and restaurants will be taking part with discounts and special events, such as complimentary drinks, goodie bags, competitions and more.

  • The Spotlight Festival is on 13 August 2016. 12-7pm. Free entry. Seven Dials, Covent Garden, WC2H 9HD. Nearest station: Covent Garden or Leicester Square. Register for free on the website for your free glass of Prosecco from the Prosecco truck on Earlham Street. For more information, visit the Seven Dials website.

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

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Listen to live music while showing your charitable side at Devonshire Square this Christmas

© Devonshire Square

Be entertained by a host of live music acts at Devonshire Square this Christmas
© Devonshire Square

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.

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.

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Spitalfields Winter Music Festival 2015: Music, dining and more returns to E1

© Spitalfields Music Winter Festival

Instrumental group She’Koyokh will be performing at Shoreditch Church on 10 December during the Spitalfields Music Winter Festival

Returning to London this month is the Spitalfields Music Winter Festival 2015, bringing together local and international musicians. Straddling the border of the City of London and the East End, a host of concerts and special events for adults and families will taking be place across E1 over the 12 day festival. While there’ll be plenty of music on offer, there will also be a pop-up dining club, a walking tour, a film screening and interesting talks.

Among the highlights of this year’s festival are The Riot Ensemble – who mix the classics of Bach with world premieres of new music. Led by Serbian-Swedish composer Djuro Zivkovic, the ensemble will also performing a composition by the festival’s youngest composer 10-year-old Marie-Louise Ptohos. 7 December.

Take a lively journey across the Baltics with instrumental group She’Koyokh, bringing together winter music, traditional Eastern European melodies, stomping klezmer music and a puppeteer. 10 December.

© Spitalfields Music Winter Festival

For music-loving foodies: The Disappearing Dining Club will be whipping up a feast while diners are entertained with live music

For those who like something a bit different, why not visit the House Of Love. Inspired by Angela Carter’s short story The Lady of the House of Love is a special collaboration between choreographer and dancer Ella Robson Guilfoyle and composer and installation artist Mira Calix. 7 December.

If you fancy some fine food with your music, pop-up supper club Disappearing Dining Club is appearing at the festival for one night only. Diners will be treated to a cocktail apéritif and three-course meal in the historic surrounds of Shoreditch Church of St Leonard’s while listening to contemporary singer/songwriter Mara Carlyle and viola player Liam Byrne. 5 December.

For those feeling festive and prefer more traditional music, the Marian Consort is a traditional choir performing Renaissance music inspired by the visitation of shepherds at the nativity. 14 December.

Throughout the festival, keep your eyes peeled for the Rocking Chairs, an installation by Dutch sound artists Strijbos & Van Rijswijk. A modern rocking chair will pop up at various locations around Spitalfields, bringing the listener through a kaleidoscope of sounds, while creating a good selfie opportunity.

  • Spitalfields Music Winter Festival runs from 4 – 15 December 2015. Tickets start from £5. Discounts include 25% off for 16-25 year olds, £5 students for best seats available and Tower Hamlet residents can attend for free. For more information and tickets, visit the Spitalfields Music website.

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

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Say goodbye to summer with music, circus, food and more at JJ’s Soulshack End of Summer Festival

JJ's Soulshack

A host of live music, DJs, circus and more will be part of JJ’s Soulshack End Of Summer Festival

With the advent of September, it means another British summer is drawing to a close. So why not say goodbye to our favourite season at JJ’s Soulshack End Of Summer Festival. For one night only, the festival will be offering live music, circus entertainment, food, drinks and market stalls across two rooms. The event takes place at the Islington Metal Works, a historic venue built in the late 19th century, which was originally used to store horses that pulled London’s trams. During the festival, the venue will place host to a live music room, a magical secret garden and an indoor courtyard complete with a tube carriage cocktail bar and BBQ.

Now in their 6th year of live events, JJ’s Soulshack is run by talented sisters Jessica and Juliette Ashby. Jessica is a circus performer, while Juliette is a singer/songwriter. JJ’s Soulshack originally started out as a musical showcase for both unsigned and signed artists. It’s played host to performers such as double platinum selling soul artist/writer Jon B and Grammy nominated Glenn Lewis as well as Kwabs, Michael Kiwanuka, Laura White, Ade Omotayo and Daniel Walker.

So far on the bill for the festival, there will be entertainment from Jack Tyson Charles, Juliette Ashby, Terri Walker, Amie Jean, Teresa Callan, Jessica Ashby (aka Miss CiCi Steele) and more TBA. Among the market stalls will be Love YaaYaa (unique fashion accessories handmade in the UK and Ghana) and Sun & Moon Holistic (reflexology, holistic facials & homemade products).

  • JJ’s SoulShack End of Summer Festival takes place on Sunday 13 September 2015 from 5-11pm. The Islington Metal Works, 7 Torrens Street, Islington, EC1V 1NQ. Nearest station: Angel. Over 18s only. General admission tickets include entrance, 1 drink and 1 BBQ meal (veggie options available) for £20. For tickets, visit Billetto. For more information, check out JJ’s Soulshack’s Facebook page or visit their official website.

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

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Head underground as The Vault Festival returns to Waterloo

© Jack Abraham

The Vault Festival returns to The Vaults underneath Waterloo station
© Jack Abraham

From the end of January for six weeks, the Vault Festival returns to the tunnels below Waterloo station. The unthemed, arts event, which originally started in 2012, features 500 events, including theatre, comedy, music, entertainment, food and drink.

Situated underground at The Vaults, this year’s festival will feature London premieres of radical theatre company Filter’s Macbeth, a new play True Brits from Rich Mason Productions and HighTide Festival Theatre, as well as shows from interactive artists Artful Badger, Red Bastard’s longest ever run and comedian and performance artist Yve Blake.

On Wednesdays and Sundays, a music programme has been curated by Mercury Prize nominee and contemporary folk pioneer Sam Lee’s The Nest Collective. For those looking for some after-hours action on the weekend, there will be late night parties on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays up until 3am. Among the Vault Lates events include The Love & Lightning Valentine’s Ball (13-14 February), Kansas Smitty’s Collective’s speakeasy club (31 January), Jum Jum old school house and garage (30 January), Mardi Gras (20-21 February) and Time Out Presents Filth – a silent disco with a difference (7 February), among others.

© Jack Abraham

The festival bar will be open nightly featuring drinks and music
© Jack Abraham

For younger arts fans, there is mini Vault over three weekends for families, including a comedy club, Big Fish Little Fish family raving crew with their Magic Under London rave (8 March) and interactive children’s show Albee Vector The Sound Collector.

Vault Festival Director Tim Wilson said: ‘We programme for Lambeth, for London, for the UK and for everyone. We make sure the festival has a pulse of many voices – there are 500 individual events happening at Vault, chosen by mixture of invitation, public submission and charitable competition, so each day has a unique heartbeat… It is now the longest, biggest, broadest-programme, most central performing arts Festival in London, all behind one magical door in Waterloo. It is a madness of superlatives. And you can drop by anytime and discover us, and surprise yourself, for free.’

Tickets range from free to £15. For those unorganised to get tickets in advance, the festival bar is free and will be open nightly for drinks and dancing.

  • The Vault Festival runs from 28 January – 8 March 2015 and takes place at The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information and tickets, visit the Vault Festival website.

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

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Honky Tonk Clapham review: Burgers, cocktails and a taste of Americana

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Chow down: Halloumi burger with rosemary fries at Honky Tonk in Clapham

There has been a resurgence in burgers in recent years, and as a result, American diners are now popping up in London. Originally dismissed as fast food, American cuisine is now finding favour with foodies. Following the success of their first Chelsea branch, the team behind Honky Tonk opened their second branch by Clapham Common last autumn.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Carnivore: Pulled pork sandwich with rosemary fries

Located moments from Clapham Common tube station, with alfresco seating for the warmer months, Honky Tonk is an American-inspired diner, with exposed brick, plush leather seating and vintage-style artwork, giving it a very New York feel. Although most of the seating is at a regular level, unfortunately our party of five were placed at a high table with bar stools, which wasn’t as comfortable as we would have liked. The first thing that struck us about the restaurant was the noise. Honky Tonk prides itself on its vintage playlist and live music, but the volume could have been just a little lower. We were dining from around 7-8pm ish on a Saturday and could barely hear the person beside us talking. Admittedly, the DJ and musician were good, but it was still too loud. Our party was a mix of 20 and 30somethings and all left in agreement that the volume had lessened our enjoyable experience of the venue somewhat.

Noise and seating aside, everything else about the venue for a positive experience. Our waitress was very attentive and speedy and we gave her a good tip. All anticipating the main meal would be pretty filling, we decided to share a plate of Smashing Nachos (tortilla chips topped with smoked applewood, red Leicester and cheddar cheese, guacamole, sour cream and tomato salsa), which was swiftly demolished. Not too greasy, the nachos’ good flavour was down to the evident freshness of the ingredients. For our mains, most of our party opted for the Pulled Pork Sandwich (Slow roasted shoulder of outdoor reared pork smothered in barbecue sauce and apple slaw in an onion bun with a side of rosemary fries). My friends said the pork was cooked well, tasted good and was filling. As I’m a pescatarian, I chose the Halloumi Burger (Roasted aubergine, peppers, flat mushroom, lettuce, tomato, homemade burger sauce, grilled halloumi cheese and guacamole) which was really tasty. The halloumi was cooked perfectly so wasn’t too chewy and the burger wasn’t too overloaded so it was possible to actually eat it without making a mess (like some other burgers I have eaten!).

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

The Smashing Nachos were… smashing

Accompanying our meal we tried some drinks from the short, but sweet cocktail list. The Over Proof Zombie (Triple rum with pineapple and passion fruit) was pretty strong, but fruity and zesty. I also tried the more refreshing USA Elderflower Martini (Hanger vodka with mint with elderflower liqueur) which was really good. The venue is renowned for its milkshakes, which I usually love, but we were strictly drinking alcohol on the night in question as it was a celebration so I didn’t get to sample.

Billed as a bar/restaurant, this is probably not the venue to come to if you want a relaxing meal. While the food is admittedly good and filling, the energetic ambiance means it’s near impossible to have a decent conversation. For those looking for a night out, there’s a fun atmosphere and is open until 2am on weekends so a good place to pop into for a cocktail or two.  The food was enjoyable so I’m considering returning, but maybe earlier in the day or a weeknight to see if it’s a bit quieter.

  • Honky Tonk, 16a Clapham Common South Side, SW4 7AB. Nearest tube: Clapham Common. For booking and menus, visit the Honky Tonk website.

For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.

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