Alfresco drinking is one of the best things about London in the summer (in my opinion!). When the weather is good, there’s nothing better than relaxing with a cocktail in the fresh (fresh-ish – we are in London after all!) air. This summer, the urban scenic surrounds of the Grand Union Canal is playing host to a new drinking destination.
Setting up camp on Paddington’s Floating Pocket Park is a new pop-up venue from the team behind Lockhouse. The Botanical Bar will serve a range of gins and gin cocktails, with workshops and tastings on offer for dedicated gin lovers. Some of the signature concoctions on offer include ‘We’ve Got The Whole World Gin Our Hands’ (Beefeater 24, fresh lavender and lemon balm), ‘Dr Greenthumb’, ‘Monkey Business’ and ‘Island In The Sun’. Among the many gin brands will be Beefeater London Dry Gin & Beefeater 24, Plymouth and Monkey 47, while the mixers come from the London Essence Company. Non gin drinkers are also catered for with mocktails, Perrier Jouet Champagne, soft drinks and Cornish ice cream.
Gin-tastic events @ the Botanical Bar
- Gin Tasting (Thursday 20 July and Thursday 10 August)
Find out your perfect G&T as you’re guided through ‘beautifully balanced botanicals, tantalising tonics and gorgeous fresh garnishes’ so you can make one at home. Learn tasting techniques so you can detect the best quality gin. Tickets: £25pp.
- Cocktail Masterclass (Thursday 3 August)
Learn how to mix up classic cocktails or Botanical Bar originals with talented mixologists. Event includes a welcome drink, before you take part in a fun, interactive masterclass. After you’ve learned your skills, there will be a farewell shot to finish. You can also enjoy 15% discount of a meal at Lockhouse. Masterclass lasts 90 minutes and costs £25pp (inc 5 drinks).
- Botanical Bar @ Floating Pocket Park, Paddington Basin, W2 1JS. Nearest station: Paddington or Edgware Road. Open Thursday and Friday until 18 August 2017 from 12pm-9pm. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website or Lockhouse website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in August, click here.
While a lot of people enjoy sparkling wines, London’s champagne bars tend to be rather exclusive and expensive destinations. With the rise in popularity in the more affordable Prosecco and Cava in recent years, the capital has been ripe for an alternative. Opening in Soho this summer is the capital’s first dedicated sparkling wine bar. Fiz Bar is having a 10 week residency at the Lights Of Soho, offering a range of bubbles and food.
I popped (excuse the pun!) along with a gal pal last week to check it out in its first few days. The venue has taken over the ground floor of members’ club Lights Of Soho in Brewer Street. Immediately walking in the atmosphere was a world away from champagne bars – bustling, casual and full of energy. We pulled up a stool at one of the side tables so had a good vista of the busy bar and kitchen area. The drinks menu features a range of sparkling wine including Prosecco, Cava, English sparkling, Cremante and more by the bottle or glass, with most of the latter in the £5 range. If you’re with a friend who’s not into wines, there’s also a small selection of other drinks, including cider, lager and spirits to keep them refreshed.
As the day on question was pretty hot and summery, I was in the mood for some sparkling rose so started with the Paternina Cava Rose, a fruity wine which went down very well. Next to shake things up I hoped across the Mediterranean to Italy for a glass of Canal di Rajo Lemoss Frizzante, which had a fuller aroma and richer taste because it was unfiltered. Finally to finish off, I enjoyed a couple of glasses of the 47 AD Prosecco, a lovely soft and refreshing wine.
Of course, with all this quaffing going on, it was only sensible we should be lining our stomachs too. Quite wisely, Fiz Bar serves a mix of buns or sharing dishes ranging from £3.75 to £9.50. We opted to share the Grilled asparagus with salsa verde; Smoked Trout with Fennel, Dill Pickles and Charcoal Sourdough; and Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Comte, Emmental and Ogleshield. All three dishes were delicious. I thought the charcoal sourdough was particularly interesting, with the trout absolutely yummy. The grilled cheese was very naughty, but incredibly moreish.
Overall, Fiz is a great addition to the London bar scene, offering something different from craft beer houses, champagne bars and speakeasies that are becoming so commonplace. The staff were really friendly and the quality of the food and drink is exceptional. Fiz Bar is in residence until August so check it out while you can.
- Fiz @ Lights Of Soho, 35 Brewer Street, Soho, W1F. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. Open Mon 6pm-11.30pm, Tues-Thur 10am-11.30pm, Fri-Sat 10am-12am; Sun 12pm-4pm. For more information, visit the Fiz Bar Website.
For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.
Forget boring quinoa! For me, a hearty weekend brunch has got to come with baked beans. Heinz Beanz have been satisfying British appetites for over 100 years and, this year, marks the 50th anniversary since the ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’ advertising slogan was first coined.
This spring, Heinz are celebrating 50 years of its Beanz slogan by launching a pop-up bar in London’s iconic Selfridges department store. The counter will be serving Beanz with a modern twist, including with crispy bacon, with smoked ham hock or scrambled egg. There will also be the chance to opt for an additional cheddar cheese topping.
Meanwhile, Heinz is also launching a limited edition can to mark the anniversary. The commemorative design will only be on sale in Selfridges, featuring different iterations of the Beanz Meanz Heinz slogans, such as Beanz Meanz… Yummz, Famz, Chatz, Spudz, Eggz, Morningz and Brekkiez. Meanwhile, Beanz fans will also have the opportunity to buy 50 collectable cans numbered individually and personally signed by copywriter Maurice Drake, who came up with the slogan in 1967. Proceeds of the cans will go to The Ideas Foundation, a charity which identifies and nurtures creatively gifted 13-19 year olds, as well as working to increase diversity in the creative industries.
- The Beanz Meanz Heinz Pop-Up Bar is open from 27 March – 23 April 2017 at the food hall in Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, Marylebone, W1A 1AB. Nearest station: Bond Street or Marble Arch. Opening hours Mon-Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 11.30am-6pm. For more information, visit Selfridges website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in April, click here.
Following on from their success of The Flavour Rooms at the Sanderson Hotel and Bluewater last year, flavour pioneers Smith & Sinclair are back with a new sensory, taste experience for adventurous Londoners. Launching in Soho this March will be an exciting new pop-up cocktail bar with a twist.
Smith & Sinclair are teaming up with Tanqueray London Dry Gin to launch the Tanqueray Experimental Garnish Bar. The menu will feature a bespoke collection of four Tanqueray cocktails which drinkers are invited to get creative with and experiment with their own edible garnishes, such as edible perfumes, gin oils and spherification balls that pop in the mouth. Guests are encouraged to reserve a spot at the bar in advance at £12pp, which includes a Smith & Sinclair edible cocktail, a Tanqueray cocktail and a range of garnishes.
For those in a really creative mood, you can head to the edible perfume workshop to make your own scents to smell… and taste. You’ll be taken on a journey through the history of fragrance along with tastings, before the opportunity to create your own bottle. Sessions start from £35pp and can be booked in advance.
Meanwhile, in addition to the bar and perfume workshops, Smith & Sinclair’s range of boozy sweet treats, including its signature cocktail pastilles, alcoholic bubbles, cocktail-infused vapours, alcoholic dib dabs and more will be available to buy.
- The Flavour Room, Carnaby will be open from 3 March – 2 April 2017 at 8 Ganton Street, Soho, W1F 7QP. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. Opening times: Shop – Mon-Sun 10am-7pm. Bar (over 18s only): Wed-Sat 10am-12am. For more information, visit the Flavour Room website. For tickets for the Smith & Sinclair and Tanqueray Experimental Garnish Bar, visit this DesignMyNight link, or for tickets to the Smith & Sinclair Edible Perfume Experience, visit this link.
For a guide to what else is on in London in March, click here.
Fancy a bit of Alpine action, but can’t get to the slopes? Well, the Vauxhall Winter Village is bringing some winter fun to the capital. Following their November-December opening before the Christmas and New Year break, the Village is reopening for business from 19 January 2017.
The Vauxhall Winter Village is presented by the team behind Vauxhall Street Food Garden and offers weekday lunchtime and evening venue for eating, drinking and socialising. Located just moments from Vauxhall station, the pop-up alpine ski village features plenty to keep you entertained, including a Retro Ski Wear with Cable Car Photo Booth, bookable alpine cabin booths and Winter Sports Bar screening the latest sports.
For those feeling peckish, there is a host of street food stalls, including Valcie Flavours jerk shack, City Burger, Win & Lilly’s Oriental Foods, Country Kitchen and Souper Soups and special weekly foodie pop-ups on Fridays. Meanwhile, drinkers can head to the Smirnoff pop-up bar, serving Hot Pimm’s Winter Cider, Festive Glühwein or Mulled Cider, together with spiced drinks; beer, wine, spirits and champagne. There is also the Red Bull Winter Lodge serving Red Bull cocktails while showing Red Bull TV. With the temperatures biting outside, the Winter Village is fully undercover with heating and lighting to give a cosy and relaxed atmosphere with plenty of dining areas to sit.
- Vauxhall Winter Village is open from 19 January 2017 on Monday to Fridays only from 11.30am-10pm. Free entry. Vauxhall Winter Village, South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall, SW8 1SP. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the Vauxhall Winter Village website or the Facebook page.
To find out what else is on in London in February, click here.
While Christmas is fast becoming a distant memory already, it’s probably a bit premature to be thinking about Easter. However, it’s never too early to think about eating chocolate eggs! This January, a rather exciting pop-up is coming to the capital to lift us out of the winter doldrums.
With Easter approaching, you may have noticed Cadbury Creme Eggs appearing more prominent on shelves in recent days. Fresh from the new Cadbury Creme Egg advert, the travelling Hunting Lodge will be going on tour, with three dates in the capital. Creme egg fans will have the chance to enjoy an immersive chocolate experience.
The Hunting Lodge will feature a display of Creme Egg hunting paraphernalia, the chance for guests to hone their hunting skills and chow down on a range of Creme Egg inspired treats. The cosy outdoor area will feature four choco-tastic dishes for diners to sample, including:
- Gooey Creme Egg S’mores – gooey Creme Egg pieces and a giant marshmallow, sandwiched between two toasted biscuits.
- Creme Egg Hunters’ Hot Choc – Cadbury hot chocolate, with melted Creme Egg added in.
- Creme Egg Forest Fridge Cake – crushed biscuits, nuts and apricots, coated in a thick layer of Cadbury chocolate, topped with Creme Egg pieces.
- Creme Black Forest Toastie – Creme Eggs mixed with black cherries, sandwiched between golden toast.
There will also be a takeaway area for those in a rush, serving Creme Egg S’mores to-go. Meanwhile, 100% of the proceeds at the Lodge will be donated to the Prince’s Trust Charity.
- The Cadbury Creme Egg Hunting Lodge will stop at the Coca-Cola London Eye, Jubilee Gardens, South Bank, SE1 7PB on 27 January (4.50pm-9pm) and 25-26 February 2017 (1.50pm-6pm). The lodge will also be touring Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds and Edinburgh. For more information, visit the Facebook event page, or tweet @CadburyUK using the hashtag #CremeEggHuntingSeason, or booking, check out Eventbrite.
For a guide to what else is on in London in February, click here.
Christmas is one of the best times of the year to be a chocoholic. So fans of the sweet stuff may be a tad excited to hear about a special pop-up coming to London this festive season.
Italian chocolatier Ferrero Rocher are launching a pop-up dessert destination at St Martin’s Courtyard in Covent Garden. Opening on 1 December 2016 for just 10 days, guests will be able to explore the after-dinner chocolate in a multi-layered dining experience at Dolce.
Customers will savour a tasting plate of five mini hand-crafted desserts curated by Cuisson head chef and director Paul Hannagen. Then to finish will be a classic Ferrero Rocher with its smooth combination of chocolate and hazelnut.
- Dolce by Ferrero Rocher, 21 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard, Covent Garden, WC2E 9AB. Nearest station: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. Open from 1-11pm. Sessions last 45 minutes: £10 for walk-ins and £15 for pre-booked slots (includes a glass of Prosecco). For more information, visit the Dolce by Ferrero Rocher website.
For a guide to what’s on in London this December, click here.
For a guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs, click here.
For listings of London’s pop-up ice rinks this festive season, click here.
Sweets aren’t just for the kids! This Christmas, adult Londoners can get their sugar fix while indulging their passion for cocktails. Following the success of their first ever edible alcohol store Eat My Drink in Soho last year, candy wizards Smith & Sinclair are returning with two immersive shopping experiences. This festive season, two pop-up sweet stores will be opening in Fitzrovia and Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.
The Flavour Rooms at the Sanderson hotel will be like a trip to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory with a boozy twist. The fun new experience will run alongside Smith & Sinclair at Purple Bar – which will serve alcoholic concoctions, including cocktails that change flavour. From 18 November until Christmas Eve, guests will step inside a surreal installation featuring a cocktail sherbet wall, pick ‘n’ mix, edible perfumes, twisted ‘salt & pepper’ shakers and alcoholic dib dabs. After sampling some of the treats, you can shop for boozy goodies – a great Christmas gift for your cocktail aficionado pals.
Smith & Sinclair have enlisted creative studio BeyondExact – famous for their works with Adidas, House of Holland and Lady Gaga – to design the Flavour Rooms. The studio’s founder James Ruth said: ‘Working with a brand like Smith&Sinclair is always a pleasure, as like us, they like to push ideas, through design and concept. To make people think, challenge and abandon the mundane.’
- The Flavour Room London is open from 18 November – 24 December 2016 from 12-8pm. Sanderson Hotel, 50 Berners Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 3NG. Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road, Goodge Street or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit The Flavour Rooms website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.
Or to find out about London’s Christmas markets and fairs, click here.
It’s that time of year again. With the temperatures dropping and the lights a twinkling, it’s no surprise many people want to take to the ice. As usual, there are a host of pop-up, open air rinks on around town. Many are accompanied by other wintry activities and festive food and drink offerings. Here’s a guide to open-air and pop-up ice skating in London this winter season.
- 27 October – 8 January 2017 : Natural History Museum Ice Rink
A 1,000 square metre rink in the gardens of the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Opening hours vary. Session times last 1 hour. Adults from £12.65, Children 12 and under from £8.80. Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest station: South Kensington. To book, visit the Natural History Museum website.
- 4 November – 25 February 2017 : Luminocity – Ice Rink Canary Wharf
Skate over ice filled with 8km of LED lights in the middle of the soaring skyscrapers of Canary Wharf. Non-skaters can watch the action from the bar or street food stalls. Session times last 1 hour. Opening times vary. Adults £9.95-£16.95, Children £9.95-£10.95. Canada Square Park, E14 5AB. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. To book, visit the Ice Rink Canary Wharf website.
- 14 November – 2 February 2017 : Broadgate Ice
Temporary ice rink at Broadgate Circle in the City of London is open for over three months. There is also a rinkside bar and street food stalls. Open 10am-10pm. Session times last 1 hour. Adults £13.50, Children £9.50. Broadgate Ice Rink, Exchange Square, Broadgate, EC2A 2BQ. Nearest station: Liverpool Street. For more information, visit Broadgate’s website.
- 16 November – 3 January 2017 : Tower Of London Ice Rink
Skate on a rink in the moat of the Tower of London. After a skate, visit the Eis Haus Ice Experience, an immersive ice bar where you can drink out of glasses made of ice. 11am-10pm. Tickets: Adults £13.50, Children under 12: £9.50. Tower Of London (off Lower Thames Street or Tower Hill), EC3N 4AB. Nearest station: Tower Hill. To book, visit the Tower Of London Ice Rink website.
- 17 November – 15 January 2017 : Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason
One of the original pop-up ice rinks located in the courtyard of Somerset House. As well as general skating, they also host club nights on ice and skate lessons. Session times last 1 hour and are from 10am until 10.30pm (later for club nights and New Year’s Eve). Adults from £14.65 (inc booking fee) and Children from £8.90. Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. To book, visit the Somerset House website. Read the rest of this entry
‘Jungle Juice’ cocktails, abandoned ruins and super comfy seating at Backyard Cinema: The Lost World
As one of London’s roaming film clubs, Backyard Cinema gives movie fans the chance to watch their favourite films in more comfortable surroundings than your typical Odeon or Vue. I’ve previously checked out BC’s outdoor summer screenings at Camden Market and, earlier this year, watched Romeo + Juliet accompanied by a live choir in a church. The last Backyard event I attended – those star-crossed lovers – brought two different elements to one of my favourite films so when I heard about the company’s latest experience, I had high hopes.
Backyard Cinema have created a Lost World in a corner of the capital’s latest foodie paradise Mercado Metropolitano. The premise is screenings of your favourite adventure movies complemented by a suitably atmospheric setting. After lunch at one of the Mercado’s Italian food stands, it didn’t take long for us to find the entrance to the Lost World. A friendly staff member, dressed in a khaki safari ensemble, greeted us outside a rather diminutive entrance and explained the ‘perils’ of our journey to our seats. We then crouched down and made our way through the ‘abandoned jungle’, with low-lighting, eerie calls and nature sound effects putting you in the frame of mind. Finally, I tentatively jumped into the foam pit (the lighting made me somewhat unsure of judging how deep I would plunge), but found there was plenty of the soft stuff to cushion my landing as I emerged into the cinema.
The screening room was full of comfortable bean bag chairs against a backdrop of what I would describe as ‘Indiana Jones chic’ interiors and continuing sound effects. Before taking our bags, we headed to the bar and embraced the theme by ordering the cocktails, ‘Jungle Juice’ and ‘Fire Monkey’. We went in blind as had no idea what was in them, but they were fruity, suitably alcoholic and tasted good. We accompanied our sweet drinks with even more sugar – popcorn and sweets – as we were clearly having the afternoon off being healthy (well, it is the cinema!).
Finally, the movie. On this occasion, we were here to see Finding Dory – the recent sequel to Finding Nemo. Backyard are screening a lot of classic adventure films such as Goonies and Jurassic Park, but also a few new ones too. One of the first things which struck me was that no one was ruining my shot of the screen. I often find heads in the way, but the spaced out bean bags meant this wasn’t a problem. I usually get pretty uncomfortable in traditional cinema seating, but settled back in my bean bag and was incredibly cosy and settled. The film itself, was exactly what I hoped it would be and I really enjoyed it.
Overall, we had a good few hours in the Lost World. The quirky entrance and the décor of the screening room was a fun way to start proceedings. The staff were, as ever, friendly and helpful. I would particularly recommend the Lost World to families as they have screenings during the day on weekends. The 1hr 45 minute film whizzed by in the comfort of our bean bags… which I’m not considering buying for my own home actually.
- Backyard Cinema: Lost World, Mercado Metropolitano, 42 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6DR. Nearest station: Elephant & Castle. Tickets start from £16.50. The Lost World runs until 11 November 2016. For booking, visit Backyard Cinema’s website.
For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.