Visit London Blog » Pubs & Bars http://blog.visitlondon.com Enjoy the very best of London Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:00:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 48 Hour Gay Guide to East London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/48-hour-gay-guide-to-east-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/48-hour-gay-guide-to-east-london/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 09:00:16 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38310 A guest blog post by Adam Groffman, author of travel blog Travels of Adam

London’s East End is one of the capital’s coolest neighborhoods. A longtime working class area, East London is now home to some of the city’s best restaurants and bars. And while London’s gay scene is traditionally in Soho, most hipsters have moved further afield to Shoreditch and Hackney. Here’s our guide to a fun weekend in East London, including gay nightlife and tourist attractions:

Shoreditch

FRIDAY NIGHT

Stay at The Boundary Hotel
A former Victorian warehouse, Shoreditch’s Boundary Hotel is a great place to stay if you’re visiting on a romantic weekend as it has a rooftop restaurant and bar, as well as a boutique style which make the place seem homely yet elegant. Rooms from £200 per night.

A Taste of the East
Rather than splurging on a meal at the rooftop bar in the hotel, visit the popular Indian restaurant across the street Dishoom. The garden and laid-back style make it a great place to chill out before heading out for the night.

Loungelover

Cocktails at Loungelover
For a Friday night nightcap, take a short stroll to the trendy Loungelover bar, which has won countless awards for its menu as well as its design. Every room is luxuriously decorated.

Shoreditch grafitti

SATURDAY

Enjoy a food tour
To get a taste of East London, skip breakfast at the hotel and instead make your way to Spitalfields Market. There, at 10am, the East End Food Tour begins. At £59, the walking food tour includes enough food to cover both breakfast and lunch taking in some of East London’s best eateries. It also covers Brick Lane and a bit of history about Jack the Ripper. On a budget? Free Tours by Foot offer pay-what-you-like food and history tours of the East End.

Vintage shopping at Broadway Market
Broadway Market takes place at the foot of London Fields park every Saturday. It’s basically a food market, though some of the shops along the street include bookstores and vintage shops. If you want to visit an authentic London pub, enjoy a pint at The Cat & Mutton.

Dining out in Shoreditch
After a long day of walking through East London, a relaxed dinner near Shoreditch High Street is in order. Keep an eye out for one of the food trucks to grab a light snack. Across the street from Shoreditch Box Park on the High Street is a canopied food hall (inside you’ll want to try Tulum Tacos or Yalla Yalla). Across the street is the trendy Hoi Polloi restaurant inside ACE Hotel. They’ve got a selection of small food plates and great cocktails to go with them.

Gay clubs in East London
For a proper night out, there are a few great options for gay clubs in East London. Dalston Superstore is a classic. Check their website for a calendar of events. East Bloc  is where all the indie boys and girls go — so you’ll be sure to get some good music and fun nights there. But if you’re after a more British setting, go to the George & Dragon pub on Hackney Street for a sample of the Shoreditch hipster scene.

Columbia Road

SUNDAY

Brick Lane and Columbia Road Markets
Sunday is arguably the best day to be hanging out in East London. With the Columbia Road Flower Market in Hackney and the massive Brick Lane market, there are more than enough things to do and see. Here you’ll find vendors selling everything from street food to vintage clothing.

Tramshed

Art gallery in a restaurant basement
To top off the weekend, make your way to the trendy Tramshed Restaurant on Rivington Street. In the basement is a small gallery space featuring a wide range of artists — not just established ones, but local up-and-coming ones as well.

TRAVELS OF ADAM focuses on the most hip and cool things to do around the world. Follow Adam on Instagram and Pinterest to discover his latest cool travel finds.

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Top 5 Whisky Bars in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/top-5-whisky-bars-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/top-5-whisky-bars-in-london/#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 10:00:28 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38195 The Golden Arrow's whisky cabinet in Pullman London St Pancras

Do you prefer your whisky with or without water; do you spell whiskey with an ‘e’; or are you a Japanese-distilled whisky aficionado (try saying that after a few drinks)? There’s a great choice of whisky bars in London; Christian Rose-Day and Jonny Payne pick five of the best.

Golden Arrow at Pullman London St Pancras

With around 200 whiskies, Golden Arrow at Pullman London St Pancras is the perfect place for a wee dram. Try one of the organised monthly tastings or ask resident whisky expert, Sarah O’Donovan, for advice on the perfect bottle to match your tastes. We joined her masterclass in Scottish peaty whiskies, and learnt about how whisky is made, which factors make whiskies so different, and how smoked salmon or chocolate are the perfect accompaniments to Scotch.

This restaurant and bar has a chic and airy feel, with attention drawn to the fabulous glass display case of whiskies – some of which are limited editions. Fine wines are served by the glass here as well, making use of its Enomatic dispenser, while the kitchen dishes up European specialities.

The Whisky Lounge at Hilton London Metropole

The Whisky Lounge at Hilton London MetropoleThis lounge in Hilton London Metropole is so whisky-focused, it even features decanters as light fittings. The bar is flanked on either side by display cabinets showcasing more than 70 whiskies. “Whisky Flights” are available for novices to “tour” the best of Scotland, or the best picks from the rest of the world. There are more unusual bottles to sample, such as Indian whiskies, while arguably the pick of the bunch is a Johnnie Walker Odyssey Triple Malt served from a show-stopping swinging decanter.

Boisdale Canary Wharf

As we all know, the home of whisky is Scotland and there’s no more Scottish home-from-home in London than Boisdale Canary Wharf. This East London restaurant, jazz club and bar is loved for its meaty treats (including haggis) and live music, but it’s the 12m backlit back bar that’s possibly the most impressive aspect. More than 1,000 bottles of amber deliciousness adorn the shelves, representing 400 varieties of whisky – some of which were produced by distilleries that no longer exist. If you can’t find a whisky you like here, you’re not a fan of whisky.

The Whisky Bar at The Athenaeum

The Whisky Bar at The AthenaeumThis classy Piccadilly hotel’s whisky bar features more than 300 versions of the grain-based liquor. The aptly named and intimate Whisky Bar serves nibbles and cheese pairings with its whiskies, while connoisseur Ivo is on hand to help with your selection. Whisky-lovers of all sorts will be catered for at The Athenaeum, with a large menu of malted and blended Scottish whiskies, as well as Irish, North American and Japanese bottles – there’s also the chance to try Welsh and vintage tipples.

Red Bar at Bam-Bou

Fitzrovia is fast becoming one of the best areas in London for bars. Red Bar on the third floor of Bam-Bou restaurant is furnished with red leather seating and lit by candles, giving the secret cocktail bar a sexy lounge vibe. To match the Asian cuisine served below, Red Bar boasts 75 different Japanese whiskies, including bottles from the Yoichi, Hakushu, and Yamazaki distilleries.

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London’s Top 10 Bizarre Places http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/londons-top-10-bizarre-places/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/londons-top-10-bizarre-places/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 10:00:01 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38137 Guest Post by David Long, Author of Bizarre London

From the time of Boudicca to the Boris Bike, in a sprawling metropolis covering 600 square miles – a city where eight million Londoners speak 300 different languages – it’s only right to expect places which are unexplained, unusual or just plain odd. Here are 10 of our favourites:

The Wapping Project

London Hydraulic Power Company
For more than 100 years the turbines here sent pressurised water through 200 miles of pipes all over London to power hotel lifts, theatre curtains and even dockyard cranes. One of the turbines has now been transformed into a restaurant and art gallery called The Wapping Project.

Kensal Green Cemetery
This Victorian cemetery with its huge elaborate tombs and beautiful landscaping is the final resting place of Thackeray, Trollope, Brunel and the great showman Blondin. Also two of George III’s children, Princess Sophia and Augustus, Duke of Sussex, were laid to rest here.

Fortnum & Mason
Far from the Highlands, the so-called Scotch Egg was actually invented in 1738 by upmarket grocers Fortnum & Mason. The store also sold Britain’s first-ever baked beans (after buying H.J.Heinz’s entire stock in 1866) and silver-plated ‘sporks’ – a combined spoon and fork – for soldiers to use in the trenches.

Dans Le Noir

Dans Le Noir
The great Victorian engineer Marc Brunel once held a banquet under the River Thames to show his tunnel was safe (it wasn’t and flooded soon afterwards) and in 1843 several stonemasons had supper at the top of Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square. Today, the Dans Le Noir restaurant offers guests the chance to eat in total darkness, allowing the food’s taste and texture to be appreciated without distraction.

 Burlington Arcade

Burlington Arcade
Opened in 1819, Burlington Arcade is one of London’s oldest shopping centres. Uniformed beadles are still on hand to enforce an old bylaw forbidding visitors to run, sing, whistle or open their umbrellas.

Christchurch Greyfriars Garden

Christchurch Greyfriars
The converted tower of a ruined Christopher Wren is London’s tallest house, with three bedrooms spread over 11 storeys. Christchurch Greyfriars Garden – open to the public and free to enter – is the burial place of no fewer than three queens.

Churchill War Rooms

Cabinet War Rooms
Winston Churchill’s wartime bunker is just a tiny portion of a vast, top secret government complex hidden under Whitehall. In the 1930s, more than six acres of bomb-proof offices were excavated beneath ministry buildings, shielded by a 17’ layer of concrete which can still be seen from the road outside. Visitors can explore this wartime bunker at the Churchill War Rooms.

The Mason’s Arms
This Central London pub was where condemned prisoners could enjoy a last pint free of charge on their way to the gallows at Tyburn. On hanging days it was traditional to deal with highwaymen first, as the ‘aristocrats of crime’, then common thieves and finally anyone convicted of treason. The gallows are long gone but the pub is still said to be haunted by at least one of the poor unfortunates. Enjoy a drink at the pub at 51 Upper Berkeley Street, W1.

The Travellers’ Club
Unique among London’s traditionally secretive gentleman’s clubs, The Travellers’ Club offers occasional guided tours for the public. It was founded in 1819 when new members were required to have travelled at least 500 miles from London.

Berry Bros & Rudd

Berry Bros. & Rudd
This 17th-century wine merchants is a veritable museum of viniculture, and is still family-run after more than 300 years. Giant leather-bound ledgers contain the personal details of distinguished customers. Not just Byron, Beau Brummell and George IV but Frenchmen too, including King Louis-Philippe and Napoleon III.

David Long is author of Bizarre London: Discover the Capital’s Secrets & Surprises

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Top 10 Hot London Nightspots by DesignMyNight http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/top-10-hot-london-nightspots-by-designmynight/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/top-10-hot-london-nightspots-by-designmynight/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 10:00:23 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38097 Guest post by DesignMyNight

From the fabulously lavish to the endearingly intimate, there’s a nightspot in London to suit all tastes. Check out our top 10 of the hottest venues in London and try one (or all!) of them out when you next fancy a night out in town.

Mr Fogg's

Mr Fogg’s
Step inside this quirky Mayfair retreat and you’ll need a few minutes just to take everything in. Weird and wonderful artefacts greet you at every turn, as guests sip on Victorian-themed cocktails served up by the team’s expert mixologists.

Portside Parlour
If a stylish rum bar shrouded in secrecy sounds like your kind of thing, then look no further than Portside Parlour. Guests perch themselves on inviting Chesterfield sofas, where they encounter a drinks menu packed to the rafters with delightful rum-based concoctions crying out to be tried.

Opium

Opium
Another hugely secretive retreat situated in the heart of Chinatown, you’ll need one of their stunning cocktails just to celebrate finding your way in! Opium is well worth seeking out though – their killer drinks are complemented expertly by the compelling Dim Sum menu, which is adjusted and updated according to the time of year. Bang on trend.

XOYO crowd

XOYO
Situated in the heart of bustling Shoreditch, XOYO is a must-visit for any given clubbing enthusiast. It’s a great place to take in some live music, but XOYO is most famous for the calibre of international DJs that grace its decks. Ideal for tie off, hair down partying at the weekend.

The View

#TheView
A trip to #TheView on the29th floor of the Millbank Tower is a treat for the senses. The exquisite views of the London Eye and Houses of Parliament are more than matched by the standard of the six course tasting menu, which comes courtesy of some of the capital’s leading chefs.

Drink, Shop & Do
Great drinks, tasty food and hilarious events are the order of the day at Drink Shop & Do. Gems coming up in the near future include Lego Robot building, a Pop-Up Opera and even a ‘Learn to Twerk Dance Class’ (yes, seriously!).

The Toy Shop

The Toy Shop
Boasting a bright, colourful and adventurous décor, this Putney-based retreat includes more than the occasional nod to the blissful simplicity of childhood. Be sure to try out their alcoholic ice cubes carved into lego men, fumigated martinis and homemade absinthe wine gums.

Oskar’s Bar at Dabbous
This classy Fitzrovia cocktail bar specialises in innovative concoctions that leave a lasting impression on palettes of all persuasions. There’s a wide range of fantastic food to match, and the friendly and hospitable staff make it a truly amazing bar that needs to be experienced.

Ruby’s
Situated below the cinema sign on Stoke Newington Road is Ruby’s, an intimate drinking den known for the high quality of its cocktails and the vibrancy of its atmosphere. Perfect for catching up with your nearest and dearest, or suitably impressing your partner on date night.

Steam and Rye

Steam and Rye
Steam and Rye fuses a sense of 1940s glam with the romantic influences of the Wild West to create a unique atmosphere that strikes a chord with revellers from all over. With both a Michelin-starred chef and an award-winning bartender on board, it’s no surprise that the standards of this bar are consistently high.

DesignMyNight is passionate about bringing you the very latest and greatest venues on show in the capital.

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London Video of the Week: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Stars Share London Tips http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/dirty-rotten-scoundrels-stars-give-their-london-tips/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/dirty-rotten-scoundrels-stars-give-their-london-tips/#comments Fri, 07 Mar 2014 09:45:42 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38005

We ask Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ stars for their thoughts on the musical and top London tips ahead of the show’s opening at The Savoy Theatre on Monday.

Robert Lindsay (Lawrence Jameson) and Rufus Hound (Freddy Benson)

Dirty Rotten ScoundrelsHow would you describe your character?

RL: I’m the older guy who’s done very well, reached the top of his game, getting slightly bored who wants a bit of chaos in his life.

RH: I’m doing the same thing as Lawrence (a con man), but he’s doing it on a far grander, more professional scale. My character is so overwhelmed he wants to learn at the feet of the master.

Describe the show in a few words…

RL: It’s essentially a great story. People love a con man, they love a rogue. There are two wonderful rogues.

RH: Great big stuff…It’s a full-on, full-out class show…It’s so perfect for people who love a good West End musical.

What would you recommend for a first-time visitor?

RL: Book a ticket for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels!

RH: Go to the pub. Nowhere has pubs like London. Sit in one of those for 10 minutes and try some London Pride or something like that.

Samantha Bond (Muriel Eubanks) and John Marquez (Andre Thibault)

How would you describe your character?Samantha Bond and John Marquez

SB: I play Muriel, a very wealthy divorcee who has gone to France in search of love.

JM: Andre, chief of police. He’s not very good with women, but then…

Describe the show in a few words…

SB: I think it’s brilliant. Thrilling, exciting, funny, sexy. It’s phenomenal

JM: Hilarious, quality.

What would you recommend for a first-time visitor?

SB: You need to see architecture, go to art galleries, walk in our beautiful parks – there are hidden parts of St James’s Park that I only discovered last year. The London Eye is glorious. I also love the Duck Toursriver boats are great ways to see London.

JM: The thing that always strikes me is the history. I love going to the streets around London Bridge and Borough, standing looking around and imagining what actually went on there.

Do you have a secret hangout in London?

SB: I like to be in Covent Garden Piazza watching everything. There are also some fantastic walking tours to see the hidden parts of London.

JM: I always like to go to Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden, just to sit and have some food there.

Where would you go for a post-show meal?

SB: Three of my favourites are: J. Sheekey, The Ivy and The Delaunay.

JM: I just did a play near J. Sheekey. I’m not a big one at eating but I did get into having a few oysters and champagne there after the show.

Katherine Kingsley (Christine Colgate) and Jerry Mitchell (director)

How would you describe your character?

Katherine Kingsley and Jerry Mitchell

KK: She’s the heiress of a soap company from America. She’s goes to the South of France where she meets two men who turn out to be con men.

Describe the show in a few words…

JM: A big, fun musical comedy where you get a chance to meet some fabulous people and get conned along the way.

KK: Fun, sexy, classy.

What would you recommend for a first-time visitor to London?

JM: The London EDITION  hotel has a wonderful bar called the Punch Room; but you can only get in with a reservation – I also recommend the Berners Tavern restaurant in the hotel. I’m a fan of J. Sheekey – it’s the theatre hangout, and you might even see a star or two.

KK. You could start off with a cocktail at The Savoy.

Where would you go for a post-theatre meal?

JM: J. Sheekey. But I’m dying to eat in The Savoy’s Grill, and there’s also Joe Allen and Orso.

KK: Joe Allen is probably easier to get a booking and not quite as expensive – it’s so theatrical, a great place.

Do you have a secret hangout in London?

JM: The thing that’s different about London from America is you have all these private clubs. I would also give a shout out to The Coal Hole, which is right next to the Savoy Theatre.

KK: Private clubs are really nice because they’re quite quiet so you don’t have to shout over people. Sometimes if you go to a pub after doing a show you can lose your voice.

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I’m With the Band: Top 10 London Attractions for Musicians http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/im-with-the-band-top-10-london-attractions-for-musicians/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/im-with-the-band-top-10-london-attractions-for-musicians/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 09:00:36 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=34272

London has long been a magnet for the world’s most famous singers and bands – and it’s produced a fair few itself, from Queen to Amy Winehouse. So the city is full of great attractions where musicians and lovers of music can learn about their idols, buy classic records and even record a tune. Here are 10 of the best:

Abbey Road
The iconic Beatles album cover picturing the famous four walking over a zebra crossing on London’s Abbey Road has inspired endless copies and parodies. The nearby Abbey Road Studios are not open to the public (unless you’ve booked a recording session), but they do have a live web cam online so why tell your friends back home to look out for you doing the famous walk?

Jersey Boys
Even if you’re not familiar with the name Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, you’ll know their songs: Bye Bye Baby (Baby Goodbye), Big Girls Don’t Cry, Beggin’, December 1963 (better known as Oh What A Night)… the list goes on. So Jersey Boys, the Olivier Award-winning musical about the band, is a must for all music fans – even if you think you’re not into musicals! Other great musicals to check out include Thriller – Live (Michael Jackson) and We Will Rock You (Queen).

British Music Experience
Roll back the years at the British Music Experience (located inside The O2) and explore amazing outfits, instruments, videos, photos and other memorabilia from the past and present of British popular music. Look out for John Lennon’s glasses, Ziggy Stardust’s 1970s number outfit and ‘Ginger Spice’ Geri Halliwell’s Union Jack dress. Plus you can show your best moves in the Dance The Decades booth, record a track in the Gibson Interactive Studio and transport yourself to some of the biggest concerts of the past 60 years in The Finale.

Open Mic Night at The Spice of Life
Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Jamie Cullum have all performed at The Spice of Life in Soho. And you can too if you pop along to its Open Mic Night, held every Monday. Make use of the in-house piano and PA, or bring along your own instrument. The music kicks off at 7pm, but performers should sign up at 6.30pm to be sure of getting a spot.

Denmark Street
Denmark Street, near Leicester Square, is known as London’s Tin Pan Alley. Both sides of the small street are lined with music shops, including Wunjo Guitars (selling new, used and vintage guitars), Vintage & Rare Guitars and Sax.co.uk. Stick around into the evening to enjoy live music at the intimate 12 Bar Club or Alleycat Bar Club, located below Regent Sounds Studio – where the Rolling Stones recorded their first album.

Rock and Roll London Walk
If you love to be regaled by tales of rockstar exploits, book a spot on the fascinating, two-hour-long Rock and Roll London Walk. You’ll visit the famous Marquee Club, pop into the pub where Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton once jammed, discover the location of the Sex Pistols’ world debut, and much more. No need to book, just turn up at Tottenham Court Road station (Exit 3) any Friday at 2pm.

Honest Jon’s Records
Arguably the most legendary of London’s independent record stores, Honest Jon’s is the retail arm of the acclaimed record label of the same name. Specialising in reggae, jazz and soul, Honest Jon’s has enjoyed a colourful, rollercoaster existence since its birth in 1974 and is still considered to be one of London’s best record shops by those in the know.

Wembley Arena
Every musician dreams of shouting “Hello Wembley!” to a sea of screaming fans – and many have done it, including Madonna, David Bowie and Prince. Check out Visit London’s music section for listings of gigs taking place every night across London at venues including Wembley Arena.

Music Gallery at Horniman Museum
See, hear and play instruments from around the world at Horniman Museum – from a 3,500-year-old pair of Egyptian bone clappers to a retro synth. Make time to visit ongoing exhibition The Art of Harmony, exploring Western classical music traditions, as well as the Hands-On Base, where you can give the instruments a go. Other London music museums to check out are The Royal Academy of Music Museum and The Royal College of Music’s Museum of Instruments.

Hard Rock Cafe
Today there are Hard Rock Cafes all around the world, but the London branch is where it all began in 1971. The walls of the restaurant – and the vault below – are lined with memorabilia, including the first piece donated to the cafe: Eric Clapton’s Lead II Fender. You may even spot the odd rock star popping in for a burger, according to the cafe – or witness one of the occasional jamming sessions. And if you don’t, you’ll still get a great meal out of it.

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Top 5 Pie Restaurants in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/top-5-pie-restaurants-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/top-5-pie-restaurants-in-london/#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 09:00:05 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37942 The Windmill

Pies have been served across the capital for centuries, whether in the East End by bakers on carts or in the west at Twickenham, where there’s even an island named after the eel pies that were served to passing boatmen.

To celebrate the start of British Pie Week, we look into one of London’s age-old but often underrated dishes with our pick of London’s best places for pies.

The Windmill – Mayfair

The Windmill's game pieAlthough many pubs claim to be ‘pie specialists’, The Windmill is one such establishment that can safely stand by its love for the pastry-cased delicacy. Boasting its own pie club with thousands of members, not one but two dedicated pie rooms, and even a pie-focused YouTube channel sharing their talents in pie making, this is definitely a place for pie enthusiasts. Try the award-winning steak and kidney version for a warming, meaty hug.

Old Bank of England – The City of London

It’s no surprise this spacious City pub serves demon pies considering the Victorian legend of its Fleet Street site – it was allegedly flanked by Sweeny Todd’s barber shop and the house of his mistress, Mrs. Lovett. As the fictional story goes, Todd murdered his clients below in the tunnels and vaults and used their bodies as pie fillings with help from his lover. Today, the Old Bank of England has less barbaric neighbours, and serves far more appetising pies with revived classic British fillings.

The Newman Arms – Marylebone

The Newman ArmsThis pie-focused pub in Marylebone is another with a special pie room upstairs, where you can tuck into one of the pies or suet puddings featuring the likes of chicken, gammon and leek or stilton and mushroom; each lovingly crafted from locally sourced ingredients. Once a regular haunt of Dylan Thomas and George Orwell, The Newman Arms has a long history in serving fine beer; this continues to this day with a number of ales on tap.

M. Manze – Southwark

The Manze family pie dynasty – at one point the family owned 14 pie and mash shops in London – started here at 87 Tower Bridge Road in 1902, when Michele Manze set up his self-titled shop, M. Manze. Now run by Michele’s grandsons, London’s longest continuously opened pie and mash shop serves homemade pies, mash and the classic green liquor; as well as cockney classic, jellied eels.

Goddard’s at Greenwich – Greenwich

Get your pie fix every day at this restaurant that also serves eels, mash and liquor as were traditionally plated up in the Victorian era – the original family shop in Deptford opened in 1890 and has since closed, but the family name lives on in its location just a few steps away from the Royal Museums Greenwich. ForFamily-run Goddard's at Greenwich those not so keen on river-dwelling delicacy, try Goddard’s at Greenwich‘s pies with fillings such as steak and kidney, chicken and mushroom or the veggie Banks pie.

Pie Week Events 2014

Make sure to look out for British Pie Week events, such as a charity pork pie-off at Princess Victoria and a pie-filling competition and pie-eating rewards at The Water Poet in Spitalfields. The Windmill, unsurprisingly, is not skipping the fun, with a special quiz night and dinner featuring a new Spicy Chicken & Chorizo Pie.

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St Patrick’s Day 2014: Top 5 Irish Bars and Restaurants in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/st-patricks-day-2014-top-5-irish-bars-and-restaurants-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/st-patricks-day-2014-top-5-irish-bars-and-restaurants-in-london/#comments Thu, 27 Feb 2014 10:00:35 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37872 On 17 March each year, London adopts a decidedly Irish attitude to celebrating the patron saint of Ireland, St Patrick. In addition to the free St Patrick’s Day parade and Irish festival in Trafalgar Square (this year on Sunday 16 March) many London bars and restaurants take the opportunity to become Irish for a day.

There is usually a sharp rise in Guinness sales during the St Patrick’s Day weekend and the experience of having fun with friends over a beer is often referred to as “the craic”. When raising your glass, it is also polite to say “Sláinte” (pronounced “slawnt-yeh”). Here are our Top 5 Irish bars and restaurants in London for celebrating St Patrick’s Day 2014.


Vinopolis
London’s top wine tasting attraction, Vinopolis, is hosting two St Patrick’s Day events in March. On Friday 14 March. a Celtic Céilí will take place under the railway arches. This will include dancing and a live céilí bands performing Celtic and Irish tunes; an ideal opportunity to try Irish dances such as Walls of Limerick and Waves of Tory. You can enjoy a wine tasting experience plus entry to the event (with free Irish whiskey cocktail) for £35 per person. For those who like to celebrate the Irish at a slower pace, there is also an Irish whiskey masterclass on Monday 17 March.

Porterhouse
The Porterhouse is probably one of the biggest and most authentic Irish bars in London. This multi-level bar in Covent Garden is filled with an array of interesting beers, stouts, ales and porters, each lovingly hand-crafted in Dublin, then exported to London. There is also a basement bar where live music is performed on Sunday afternoons.

Waxy O’Connors
Another Central London bar that has strong connections with Ireland is Waxy O’Connor’s in Chinatown. This unique rabbit warren bar is popular with many London visitors due to its West End location and unusual décor. The bar will be hosting a week of Irish-themed, St Patrick’s Day events with drinks promotions, whiskey tastings, live music, St Patrick’s Day menu, live Six Nations rugby (France Vs Ireland producing probably the biggest crowd), plus a St Patrick’s Day parade party on Sunday 16 March.

Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill
Mayfair restaurant Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill is run by celebrity chef and Irishman, Richard Corrigan. On Monday 17 March, Richard himself will be hosting a special three-course menu (£60) from 12:30pm which will be accompanied by live Irish music. Bentley’s still stands in the same Victorian building where it first opened back in 1916, providing a traditional backdrop to this St Patrick’s Day feast.

O’Neill’s
The Irish bar group, O’Neill’s, has a number of pubs around London. O’Neill’s Soho is hosting a week of events in celebration of St Patrick’s Day starting on 12 March with two Irish bands playing until 3am. Other highlights of the week-long party include dancing, lots of Guinness, comedy hats, live football, live GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association), live Six Nations rugby, and an all-day party on St Patrick’s Day itself.

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Where to See Live Music for Free in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/where-to-see-live-music-for-free-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/where-to-see-live-music-for-free-in-london/#comments Thu, 20 Feb 2014 10:00:27 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37599 Ain't Nothing But... blues bar

In most cities, the only free music you’ll find is the odd busker. In London, you can find free gigs and concerts taking place every night across the capital – at prestigious arts centres, happening bars and even galleries.

The venues we’ve picked below offer everything from jazz and soul to classical and world music – some of their events are ticketed, but many are totally free. Check times and listings for full info.

Southbank Centre

The Southbank Centre is a fantastic community arts centre, so it’s fitting that it holds regular free musical performances in the Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall. February highlights include Argentian duo Sigamos (28 Feb).

St Martin-in-the-fields concert

St Martin-in-the-Fields

St Martin-in-the-Fields, located bang opposite Trafalgar Square, is known for its candlelit concerts. But this striking church also hosts regular free lunchtime concerts. Future participants include the NLSO Flute Trio (25 Feb).

The Forge

The Forge

A few minutes walk from Camden Town Station, The Forge is a bar/music venue, with an unusual central stage. Classical, jazz, world and folk music is on the bill here, with free jazz concerts every Monday night.

Royal College of Music performance. Photo credit: Chris Christodoulou

Royal College Of Music

Musicians studying at the Royal College of Music perform free lunchtime concerts at St Mary Abbots every Friday (1.05pm) and free ‘rush-hour’ concerts every Friday at the National Gallery (6pm) and V&A (6.30pm). Visit the RCM website for full listings of future events and participating venues.

Hip hop at Hootananny Brixton

Hootananny Brixton

About 10 minutes’ walk from the centre of bustling Brixton, Hootananny is the place to go for ska, roots, reggae and folk rhythms. Upcoming free gigs feature the likes of The Fontanas + Barking Bateria + New Street Adventure (22 Feb) and Rollo Markee & The Tail Shakers (26 Feb). Check the listings before you go, as some events are ticketed and others are only free until 10pm (or earlier).

Union Chapel

Union Chapel

A working church and community centre, Union Chapel is a wonderfully atmospheric venue for live music. As well as its popular concert series, the chapel puts on free music performances in its Daylight Music series. This month’s guests include Chris T-T & The Hoodrats + The Capybaras + Laura Cannell (22 Feb).

Katie Bradley and Chris Corcoran

Ain’t Nothing But…

This excellently named blues bar, tucked away just off Regent Street, is a real find. Every night at Ain’t Nothing But… there’s live music, and entry is free Sunday to Thursday – and before 8.30pm on Friday and Saturday. Singing (or playing) the blues this month is the Dust Me Down Blues Band (26 Feb).

Charlie Wright's

Charlie Wright’s

With the name and relaxed feel of an underground jazz club of yesteryear, Charlie Wright’s is an intimate music lounge/restaurant located close to Old Street Station. The venue has been serving up live music (and, somewhat randomly, delicious Thai food) since 1992. Today, entry is free on Mondays, when Charlie’s Comedy Club is followed by a late jazz jam session hosted by the Nikki Mackenzie Quartet, and also on Tuesdays, when drummer Shane Forbes hosts Charlie’s Jazz Jam.

Primo Bar

Primo Bar at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London Hotel

A short walk from the London Eye, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge is a design-led hotel with a surprisingly packed live music calendar. Every night in the hotel’s glossy Primo Bar you’ll find free performances, from ‘Brazilian Vibe’ Wednesdays to ‘Chilled Jazz’ Sunday with the Spitz Collective. With views out onto Big Ben and a lengthy cocktail menu, it could become a new favourite.

Check out our listings for more live music bars in London

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Spotlight on: Kingston upon Thames http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/spotlight-on-kingston-upon-thames/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/spotlight-on-kingston-upon-thames/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 10:00:40 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37714 Kingston's falling over phone boxes

The picturesque riverside town of Kingston upon Thames is just a 30-minute train journey from Central London and is well worth the short journey.

Here’s why:

For messing about on the river

Kingston’s stunning location on the River Thames is a big part of its appeal. In summer watch the world go by while dining al fresco in Charter Quay or enjoying a health bite at The Terrace Eatery or drink on the terrace of the ever popular Woody’s pub.

Alternatively experience the river up close on a cruise. Turks Launches has 300 years of boating heritage and operates regular cruises between Kingston, Hampton Court Palace and Richmond.

Jack Wills in Kingston

To shop until you drop  

No trip to Kingston upon Thames is complete without a spot of shopping. With over 500 stores the town has something for every taste and budget, ranging from designer brands and high street fashion in large retail outlets like the The Eden Walk Shopping Centre and The Bentall Centre, to independent boutiques that appeal to those seeking one off or unique finds.

A great area for more unusual purchases is Old London Road – marked by Kingston’s famous falling over phone boxes (officially named ‘Out of Order’ by artist David Mach).

Old London Road is also home to the Kingston Antiques Centre, one of the biggest, liveliest and most affordable destinations for collectors in the South-East of England with more than 100 dealers offering a startling array of antiques and quality vintage items.

For its rich history

Kingston is a town steeped in history. In 1208 it was granted its first Royal charter by King John and it is said that seven Saxon kings were crowned here – the Coronation Stone remains to this day.

Discover the town’s rich history at the fascinating Kingston Museum. Housed in a beautiful, custom-built building, the museum has three permanent exhibitions. Two tell the story of the borough from Saxon times and the third details the life and work of renowned Kingston-born Victorian photographer Eadweard Muybridge.

See its historical sites up-close on a guided walking tour. Tours take place every Sunday during summer and on the first Sunday of the month in winter and depart from All Saints Church.

Rose Theatre

To see a show

Catching a show in the 900 seat Rose Theatre is a real treat.  Its circular design brings great intimacy and epic scale to all the productions that appear here.

The Rose works with internationally-renowned theatre companies and many West End stars appear here. The theatre even has a pit area where audiences can sit on cushions to watch performances, a popular option for families or those on a budget.

For fabulous food

Visitors to Kingston are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out. Choose from homely pubs, like the Druids Head, and riverside restaurants to al fresco cafes and stylish and even stately venues for afternoon tea.

The ancient market place is home to a six-days-a-week market, featuring a fabulous range of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Also choose fresh fish at Webster’s Fishmongers, pick out delicious meat cuts at Jimmy’s Meats or sample the flavours of Morocco at Exotic Tagine and tasty fresh sushi at Namu.

This blog post was provided by Kingstonfirst, which is branding for the Business Improvement District (BID) of Kingston Town Centre. The branding is used for the delivery of all events, services and marketing undertaken.

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