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.
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 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 will be offering an evening of discounts, freebies, competitions, special events… and of course, shopping! On Thursday 4 May between 5 and 9pm, dozens of shops, restaurants, bars and cafes will be offering 20% off.
When you want a break from the retail therapy, there are a host of activities and experiences to keep you entertained. Pose up a storm in the Airstream GIF booth at the Style Studio or capture your style in a live digital illustrations with artist Willa Gebbie. Johnny’s Chop Shop will be giving free on-street haircuts. Meanwhile, fashion fans will want to drop into Carnaby’s style session at 3 Carnaby Street to hear what’s hot.
People who register for their free discount ticket can enjoy a complimentary cocktail at the Beetle Juice VW pop-up bar. During the evening, Carnaby Style Hunters will be rewarding fashionistas with a goodie bag worth £200. For those wanting some entertainment, steps into MOSCOT for live music, or watch the Drag Queen ‘Men In Make Up’ event at Illamasqua. Meanwhile, Fred Perry and Onitsuka Tiger will be serving complimentary food and drink, and Superga will be offering trainer customisation. Early starters can head to triyoga for a free class with Jeff Phenix from 4.30-5.30pm, in collaboration with Ohmme.
Among the bars, restaurants and cafes offering discounts includes Dirty Bones, Le Bab, Whyte & Brown, Pizza Pilgrims, Island Poké, Dehesa, Señor Ceviche, Cahoots and Disrepute. To register for a free ticket to get your 20% off on the evening and the chance to win £500 to spend in Carnaby and digital subscription to GQ for a whole year, visit the Carnaby London website.
- Carnaby Style Night takes place on 4 May 2017 from 5-9pm. Nearest stations: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. For more information and to register for your free ticket, visit the Carnaby London website.
For a guide to what’s on in London in May, click here.
As much as we’d like to see consistently warm weather throughout the summer, unfortunately British climes cannot always be relied upon. However, one venue in Soho will be keeping up the summer spirit come rain or shine.
The capital’s first beach club bar Myki Sand Bar is a new pop-up in the heart W1. Located on the lower ground floor of Archer Street, guests will be transported to a tropical world, featuring palm trees, golden sand, glamorous beach backdrops and ceiling sails.
Among the drinks on offer will be a special menu of bespoke cocktails curated by Cîroc vodka, featuring its Cîroc Blue Stone, Cîroc Pineapple and the exclusive new Cîroc Pink Grapefruit in the mix. Inspired by international beach clubs, the signature Heatwave (Cîroc Blue Stone, peach liqueur, lime, chilli bitters and orgeat) and Yes I Like Piña Coladas (Cîroc Coconut blended with cream, pineapple, Coco Lopez and a pinch of salt) will be getting revellers feeling fruity!
The Myki Sand Bar will be open from Thursday to Saturday, with VIP booths available so you can party with your pals while sinking your feet into the sand. The Archer Street team will also be keeping drinkers entertained with live music, while DJs will be taking to their decks as they bring a taste of Ibiza to London.
- Myki Sand Bar @ Archer Street, 3-4 Archer Street, Soho, W1D 7AP. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. Myki Sand Bar is open Thursdays to Sunday from late May until the end of 2016. For more information, visit the Archer Street website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in August, click here.
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.
Without a doubt, Wardour Street is one of the busiest roads in the West End. Stretching the length of Soho and bordered by Chinatown, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street, it means the street attracts a lot of traffic – both vehicle and pedestrian. Most Londoners and tourists will have passed down Wardour Street at some point in their commute to work, sightsee or socialise. However, with the road so busy, how often do you have time to stop and look up at the buildings around you?
Wardour Street is home to a wide range of architecture from the 1700s to present day – such as the W Hotel. The road itself has been named various things over the centuries and has been visible on maps since the Elizabethan times. In the late 16th century, it was named Colmanhedge Lane, which was then a popular route across the fields of the Burton Saint Lazar lands. The lane linked the Charing Cross area to the main road we now know as Oxford Street, which was simply described as ‘the Way from Vxbridge to London’. Old maps of what is now known as Soho shows the lane follows the current Wardour Street nearly exactly, including the slight bends at Old Compton Street and Brewer Street.
Following the Restoration in 1660, the land at the southern end of Wardour Street was leased by Queen Henrietta Maria (1609-1699) to Henry Jermyn, Earl of St. Albans (1605-1684). By 1676, her son King Charles II (1630-1685) granted the freehold of the three and half acre plot to the Earl, who swiftly disposed of the land to builders, who erected buildings by 1681-2. On a 1682 map, what we now know as Wardour Street were actually three different roads – So Ho in the north, Whitcomb Street in the middle and the abbreviated Hedge Lane had remained for the southern end. However, within three years, the portion of the road between Coventry Street and Brewer Street was renamed again as Princes Street after Prince Rupert (1619-1682), while the upper part near Oxford Street was renamed Wardour Street after the landowner at the time Sir Edward Wardour (d.1694). It was during the 17th century that Soho was really transformed from fields into a residential and business district. By 1687, the properties on Princes St were owned by Sir Anthony Deane, who sold them to Richard Bourne. By the 1720s and 1730s, many of the buildings on Princes Street were of poor quality and were torn down and rebuilt by Bourne’s family.
This is where we come to the history of one particular building which caught my eye when visiting the W Hotel bar. Directly across the road is No.9 Wardour Street, a three-storey Georgian terrace with distinctive period signage on the façade. On 10 November 1725, George Bourne of Enfield (some relation to Richard Bourne we can assume) leased the site of No. 59-61 Princes Street (now No.7-11 Wardour Street) to watchmaker Henry Parsons for 42 1/2 years. In 1726, the two houses on the site were demolished and were replaced with three new ones in 1727. No.7 and 9 are identical terraces made of brown and red brick with slate dormered mansard roofs and sash windows. No.9 features a stone panel between the 1st and 2nd floor with ‘Exchange and Bullion Office’ in raised letters. Situated between the windows on the 1st and 2nd floor respectively are ‘1798’ and ‘No.9’ in white lettering. However, as the building was known as No.60 Prince Street until the late 19th century, it isn’t clear how old the No.9 lettering is.
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.
Indulge your sweet tooth while savouring your fave tipple at the world’s first edible alcohol store Eat Your Drink
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.
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.
Music festivals are one of many people’s favourite things about the summer. However, as much as many of us (myself included) love them, there are some downsides – leaky tents, mud, portaloos…
This summer, festival fans can have the chance to enjoy the spirit of their favourite fest without all the negatives. Archer Street in Soho is transforming its downstairs bar into a celebration of festivals. Entitled Festival, the cocktail hotspot will pay tribute to the music, free spirits and late night revelry for their Summer of Music. The team behind the venue have been inspired by some of the world’s best musical festivals, such as Glastonbury, Coachella, Lovebox and Burning Man.
Entering Festival, the wide bar will feature a stage, private winnebagos, backstage area and a photo booth stacked with quirky props. There will also be intimate lounges underneath the ‘sky’ in the real camping wagon built into the wall. Among the cocktails being mixed up will be ‘The Burning Gummy Man’ (Bacardi Rum, Passion Fruit Juice, Lime, Vanilla Syrup, and garnished with half a Passion Fruit and a Burning Gummy bear) and ‘The Best-of-All’ (Tanqueray 10, Grapefruit Juice, Lime and German Liqueur, served in a Wellington Boot).
Early in the evening, footage of some of the summer’s biggest festivals will be projected on screen, before the music is cranked up for the party to begin. Guests will be encouraged to dress festival chic, with loud prints, beat-up denim, swing dresses and retro ponchos.
Festival is the latest pop-up from the Archer Street team, who change the downstairs area every six months with different themed pop-ups, such as alpine lodge Piste, polo-inspired Chukka and Brazilian-themed Barzinho. Meanwhile, upstairs the original Archer Street is open Monday to Saturdays, a spacious two floor venue with 400 capacity.
- Festival @ Archer Street, 3-4 Archer Street, Soho, W1D 7AP. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. Festival is open Mon-Thurs: 4pm-1am, Fri-Sat: 2pm-1am. For more information, visit the Archer Street website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in August, click here.
For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.
Many Londoners (including me) have been feeling the unique spirit of Soho is under threat following the recent closure of iconic venues such as Madame JoJo’s and the 12 Bar Club and the destruction of many buildings for the Crossrail project. So it’s refreshing to see a new opening in Soho that isn’t a new branch of Starbucks or Nando’s.
This week, I went along to the launch of Soho Revue, a new art gallery in Greek Street. Bringing some much needed creativity and culture into Soho’s dwindling stock of both, the space is a contemporary gallery which will aim to put the spotlight on young, emerging artists. The gallery is owned by India Rose James – the grand-daughter of Soho legend Paul Raymond.
The gallery has maintained the original neo-classical façade with the ‘St James’s & Soho Club – Estd 1864’ engraving back from when the building was a working men’s club. Despite the traditional exterior, the gallery’s interior is a total contrast with two white rooms, a perfect blank canvas for showcasing. The back room spans the equivalent of two storeys, with skylights adding light to the airy space and room for bigger installations. Currently the back room is displaying Wendy Bevan’s Slow Light on large sheets of silk suspended from the ceiling.
Currently running at the Soho Revue is the inaugural show ‘Nothing Perishes’, curated by Victoria Williams and Marine Tanguy. On display is a range of mediums, from young artists Bignon, Jennifer Abessira, Scarlett Bowman, Wendy Bevan, Maximilian Herbert, Walter Hugo & Zoniel. I particularly liked the pastel hues of Jennifer Abessira’s light boxes. As part of the exhibition, there will also be a three-screen cinematic installation Eleanor, by Alex Warren and Tobias Ross-Southall. Eleanor, which stars acclaimed actress Ruth Wilson, tells the story of three lonely women in London and is on show until May 12.
- Soho Revue, 14 Greek Street, Soho, W1D 4DP. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus, Tottenham Court Road or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the Soho Revue website.
For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.