Things To Do

Jason Allen 30/01/24


Your February Agenda

February is the shortest month… and any other month might get insecure and start googling ‘how to extend your days naturally’, but no.

It still has plenty of dates.

And they’re filled with the likes of a few vibrantly colourful lion dances; a chance to microdose a classic theatre festival; some secret gigs in a beautiful treehouse; a gloriously fun cabaret show (soundtracked by Bollywood & K-pop hits); possibly the fanciest dinner in history; a pop up that shatters a 317 year old tradition; an erotic dinner at a private members’ club; and a candlelit view over a stunning light show


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POP UP EVENTS

Beats & Boards | Music & board games at the Tate Modern

tae modern

Haseeb Iqbal is a broadcaster, DJ, writer, and now the man in charge of the Tate Modern’s newest alliterative series of Lates. They’re called Beats & Boards, and they take place at The Corner roughly every other Thursday. Head down, and you’ll be able to play board games (From scrabble, ludo and chess to Ghanian board game Oware and South Asian tabletop game Carrom) while being delightfully entertained by the live DJing.

Details: 1st, 8th & 15th February, 14th March | The Corner at Tate Modern, SE1 9TG | Free

Camden Hot Sauce Festival | It’s fire

If you hate your tastebuds and want to mercilessly punish them, then there’s no better way than by exposing them to the wares at the Hot Sauce Festival in Camden this month. There’ll be competitions, DJs, pub games, and a big public tasting to decide who serves up the finest torturously spicy condiment.

Details: 1st February | The Farrier, 87/88 North Yard, NW1 8AH | Free

Life | A Light Show In A Church

luxmuralis unusual things to do in january

Artist group Luxmuralis is giving you Life this winter: a vast sound & light show that’ll drench the walls and windows of St Martin-in-the-Fields in dazzling hues. It’ll start by colouring the church’s facade overlooking Trafalgar Square, seep down into the subterranean crypt, then finally burst across the elegant, double-height interiors, accompanied by a bespoke soundtrack…

Details: Until 3rd February | St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JJ | £8-12

The Handmaid’s Tale, The Opera | The bonnets are back

The operatic version of The Handmaid’s Tale is returning to the London Coliseum this month. It was written back in 2000 (for context, that’s closer to the book’s publication than it is to this year). Put to dissonant and unnerving music by the Danish composer Poul Ruders, the FT described it as ‘one of the most powerful operas of the century’. And tickets start at a tenner.

Details: 1st – 15th February 2024 | London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4ES | £10-£150

One Track Minds | Life-Changing Music

One Track Minds

For those of you with one track minds… no, this event isn’t about that.

Instead, it’s an uplifting, thought-provoking, life-affirming evening that combines live storytelling with music – resulting in a kind of wild, inspirational mash-up of TED Talks and Desert Island Discs. Taking place every few months in the crumbling, Victorian beauty that is Wilton’s Music Hall, it sees a bunch of thoroughly interesting people take to the stage to talk about a song that changed their lives.

Details: 2nd & 3rd February | Wilton’s Music Hall, Graces Alley, E1 8JB | £10-£18

Orchid Festival & Orchid Lates | Kew the pretty flowers

The Kew Orchid festival is back, and this year they’ll be celebrating the colourful tropical bounty of Madagascar. And as well as constructing a miniature indoor rainforest, they’re also putting on some Lates, complete with an upbeat & exuberant Malagasy band called the Boriza Brothers, as well as cocktails and some Malagasy food & cooking demos.

Details: 3rd February – 3rd March | Princess of Wales Conservatory, Kew Gardens | £17

Coalescence at The Old Royal Naval College | Impressive Art in an Impressive Space

coalescence

Mark Cocksedge

If Santa gave you coal this year, take some inspiration from Paul Cocksedge – the artist has corralled some 2,500 lumps of the stuff into a stunning suspended installation. It’s on display all month in Greenwich’s magnificent & ancient Painted Hall, which, as gallery spaces go, is pretty special itself – it’s even been called “Britain’s Sistine Chapel”…

Details: Until 4th February | Old Royal Naval College, Romney Road, SE10 9NN | £15

Joker Live in Concert | Villains & violins

Yes, the tragi-comic-book movie is getting a screening at the Royal Festival Hall this month with the score being entirely played by a live orchestra. (You’ll still have to supply the laugh track though.) More into heroes? They’re giving Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse the same treatment later in the month.

Details: 7th February | Royal Festival Hall, The Southbank | £27.50 ⁠–⁠ £70.50

The Rebellious Wine Club | Unpretentious Wine Tastings

rebellious wine club january

This may come as a surprise, but The Rebellious Wine Club likes to do things a little differently. For one, their tasting evenings are distinctly unpretentious. For two, they’re hosted by trailblazing women in the wine industry. This month Hannah Crosbie, podcaster & the founder of Dalston Wine Club, will give you the big picture on wine in a way that’s – rebellion alert! – actually quite funny.

Details: 8th February B&H Buildings, 42 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0HU £39

The Candlelight Club Valentine’s Ball | Balls are so romantic

candlelight club

Aside from live swing bands, cabaret and Champagne, they also have a fortune teller who can categorically state if you’ve found The One. Probably.

Details: 10th February | A Secret Location | £30+

Lunar New Year parade Trafalgar Square | Lion dances! Music! Dumplings!

This is probably the grandest way to spend Chinese New Year (aka Lunar New Year) in London – because outside of China, this is the biggest Lunar New Years parade in the world. So yes, it’s pretty f**king impressive. And this year there’ll be dragon dances, live music, street food and more. Things usually kick off at 10am, and work their way from Trafalgar Square through to Chinatown, and onto Soho.

Details: 11th February | Central London | Free

A Pinch of Vault | Microdose a theatre festival

A Pinch of VAULT, aka mini VAULT Festival, is back, taking up venues across the city this month. Like its big brother, the festival is an all out feast of the performing arts with many of the country’s on-the-rise stage talent – both comics and theatre acts – trying out work-in-progress and debut shows. Hence the ‘A Pinch of VAULT’ name. And this month, you’ll get to see shows with promising titles like Eelmageddon, Violence in Mundane Places, DO YOU FANCY THEM, OR ARE THEY JUST IN THE VICINITY?

Details: 12th February – 10th March | Various venues

Pancake Day | Get stacked

Pancakes at EVE

Pancake Day is rapidly crêping up on us. But there’s no need to flip out. Because we’ve put together a stack of the best places to get the fluffy, flat, favourites in the city…

Details: 13th February | London

Valentine’s Day | A bouquet of ideas

best restaurants london neighbourhoods

The countdown to V-Day has begun.

And whether you want to stay at home and have a nice relaxed, laid-back panic attack as you realise you didn’t plan anything, or go out on the town, you’ll need this guide. Because it has everything from date ideas, to romantic bars & restaurants, live music venues, hidden spots, and more…

Details: 14th February | Hearts everywhere

DEBUT’s Secret Concert at Shoreditch Treehouse | Not secret, not a treehouse, but still cool

DEBUT are a group of extremely talented classical musicians who decided to band together in order to play accessible, fun concerts in interesting & unusual spaces. And the Shoreditch Treehouse is quite an interesting & unusual space, hence the fact that they’re playing a “Secret Concert” there this month. Now, it’s worth pointing out that these gigs aren’t literally secret (we’re shouting about them, after all) and the Shoreditch Treehouse isn’t literally a treehouse (it’s a loft, aka the urban treehouse), but still. Misleading names aside, they’re usually great events…

Details: 16th February | Shoreditch Treehouse, 34 Charlotte Rd, EC2A 3PB | £32

Slay The Dragon | The Bitten Peach do a Lunar New Year Cabaret

The Bitten Peach is a Pan-Asian collective of drag artists, burlesque performers, and variety acts – and this February is their 5th birthday. So, to celebrate, they’re putting on a big ol’ Lunar New Year show. Expect two rooms of K-pop, Bollywood, pop classic and club bangers, all followed by one of their signiature cabaret shows.

Details: 17th February | Electrowerkz, 7 Torrens Street, EC1V 1NQ | £15-£18

MimeLondon | There Are No Words

mimelondon january 2024

Ambregris – Mickael Titrent

When the London International Mime Festival announced that 2023 would be its final year, performers around the world were left speechless. So it’s excellent news that the festival’s directors have curated a kind of mini mime-fest this February, with four hand-picked shows going on stage at the Barbican. Expect a poetic journey into the human body, an animation improvised in real time, and a giant nose inside a whale’s ribcage…

Details: Until 17th February Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS £18

Cabinets of Death | A Macabre Museum & Cocktelarium

Beth Evans

Winter can be miserable. But you know what’ll cheer you up? A visit to the Death Museum. It’s a macabre new pop-up from the eccentric experiential wizards known as Bompas & Parr, inspired by the death cabarets that, we’re assured, were highly popular in turn-of-the-century Paris. It’s all being staged, quite appropriately, in Viktor Wynd’s Museum of Curiosities below The Last Tuesday Society, and alongside the exhibition you can sip from a menu of special cocktails that are all dead tasty.

Details: Until 18th February | 11 Mare Street London E8 4RP | Free entry

The Balloon Museum | Dive into an ocean-sized ballpit

Okay so, to be clear, the Balloon Museum is anything but perfect. It’s quite pricey (£38 per ticket), and absolutely packed on weekends (with kids, whose adorable-ness varies wildly) – but if you can see past those things, then there’s a great experience to be had. There are 19 different balloon related exhibitions, many of them quite amazing, but the best is the absolutely vast ballpit that you can take a swim in.

DetailsUntil 18th February | 1 Old Billingsgate Walk, 16 Lower Thames St, EC3R 6DX | £38

Battersea Power Station Light Festival | South London gets a glow up

battersea light festival

Battersea Power Station is going to light up London once again. Only, it’ll be a considerably smaller portion of it. And only for a few weeks. But nevertheless, it’s looking like it’ll be pretty amazing.It’s all on account of The Light Festival, which back for the month. It’s all free, and it includes illuminated pianos, bike-powered light battles, and huge glowing butterflies…

Details25th January-25th February | Battersea Power Station | Free

Classical Vauxhall | Old fashioned music, new fashioned festival

If you google ‘classic Vauxhall’, you’ll have to wade through a lot of old bangers before you get to the proper musical bangers being played this month. It’s all courtesy of Classical Vauxhall, a south London show that seeks to modernise classical music and make it more accessible for all. This year, you’ll see the likes of The Chineke! Wind Quartet, and the Apollo 5 a cappella vocal ensemble, all rounded out by guided walks, dance workshops, and loads more.

Details: 29th February – 3rd March | Venues around Vauxhall | £5+

Rollerscape | Roll Up, Roll Up

rollerscape

Theatres are used to a little roll play. But Rollerscape’s taking it up a notch, by transforming Wembley Park’s Troubadour Theatre to a giant, glitzy roller rink, with DJ sets, well-stocked bars and a ceiling full of disco balls. It’s only in place until Starlight Express opens next summer (the only musical to be performed entirely on roller blades)… so if you want to get in there, you’d better get your skates on.

Details: Until 10th March Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, 3 Fulton Road, HA9 0SP £14+ (2-4-1 Wednesdays)

The Moonwalkers | The closest you can get to the lunar surface without rocket fuel

moonwalkers things to do in january

If you have even the slightest curious inclination to see The Moonwalkers – a new immersive show about the moon landings, narrated in the soothing baritone of Tom Hanks – then you should just lean into that feeling and book the tickets, because it’s an absolutely beautiful, enthralling, and genuinely quite moving experience. You will get goosebumps. And the less you know going in, the more blown away you’ll feel coming out.

Details: Until 21st April 2024 | Lightroom, 12 Lewis Cubitt Square, N1C 4DY | £25

TT Cinema | Cult Films & Cocktails

TT cinema at TT Liquor

What with the cocktail bar housed in the old Victorian police cells, the Australian-Greek fusion restaurant, the rare bottle shop, the cocktail workshop and the rooftop bar, it might have escaped your attention that TT Liquor also has its own tiny little cinema, too. So consider this a timely reminder that if you can snag one of its 50-odd seats, you’ll be treated to a cult film (this month’s flicks include Stand By Me, Death Becomes Her, Robocop, and No Country For Old Men) and a themed cocktail to go with it.

Details: Throughout February TT Liquor, 17b Kingsland Road, E2 8AA £15

Check out an Exhibition

As much as you probably love staring at your own walls, there are some pretty first-class bricks propping up the ceilings of London’s many galleries. And here’s what’s adorning them this month… Check out our guide to the best exhibitions in London right now.

Go To The Theatre

the best london theatre shows right now - the motive and the cue

You may laugh. You may cry. You may throw up, or potentially do all three. See The Best Shows On At The Theatre Now

 


POP UP RESTAURANTS

Calçotada Festival at Brindisa | Like spring onions, but better

The Calçotada festival is a traditional Catalan feast in which calçots (like big spring oinions) are grilled over a roading fire, then wrapped newspaper to steam, before being eaten with romanesco sauce as you strip the charred exterior off. It’s delicious. And at Brindisa, they’re putting on three-course feasts involving cava, lamb, chorizo, crema catalana and – of course – calçots.

Details: Wednesdays in February | Tapas Brindisa Battersea & Richmond | £65

Anthony Demetre at The Old Royal Naval College | Stunning dinner, stunning space

In terms of pop up dinners, this one is a brush with greatness: Anthony Demeter is holding a one-night-only banquet in Greenwich’s Painted Hall. Yes, that’s the same legendary chef Anthony Demeter who has won three Michelin Stars at three different restaurants (Wild Honey is his current stomping ground) and helped change the London dining scene with his approach to local & sustainable food. And yes, that’s the same Painted Hall that’s sitting in a building designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and is frequently called “Britain’s answer to the Sistine Chapel”. And also yes, it is currently home to an astonishing modern art installation, making this into what sounds like an insanely good evening…

Details: 3rd February | Old Royal Naval College | Romney Road, SE10 9NN | £150

Richard Foster x Forest Wines | Great chef meets great booze

Richard Foster is used to cooking for the ‘my other car is a yacht’ crowd at The Chiltern Firehouse, but for now he’s taking his talents to a wine shop in Walthamstow. And that means slow-cooked chicken in bourbon sauce, shaved pumpkin salads, and Basque cheesecakes with marinaded cherries, all paired up with a whoooole load of vino.

Details: Until 3rd February | Forest Wines, 149 Forest Road, E17 6HE | £15 deposit

Untapped at The Sea, The Sea | £75 tasting menus from rising star chefs

the sea the sea hackney guest chefs

The Sea, The Sea have decided to lend their beautiful alien steampunk spaceship style chef’s table space to some up & coming chefs. And by ‘up & coming’ they mean people like Therese Andersson (Head Chef of Ekstedt), and Chris Nam (The River Cafe). But the best bit? The full tasting menu is only £75, which is a bargain for what you’re getting…

Details: 4th, 18th, 25th February | The Sea, The Sea, 337 Acton Mews, E8 4EA | £75

St John at Fortnum & Masons | Nose-to-tail-to-Piccadilly

For The First Time In 317 Years, Fortnum & Mason has invited another restaurant to cook in its hallowed halls. St John is popping up for three weeks in February, and they’re going to be remaking St John itself, with its distinctive white walls & polished steel bar. They’re even bringing in the original furniture, too. Expect breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a £25 corkage if you want to BYOB.

Details: 6th – 25th February | Fortnum & Masons, 181 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1A 1ER

Bridesmaids by Taste Film | Watch what you eat. Literally.

Taste Film does dinner and a movie unlike anyone else: as you watch the film on their big screen, they’ll bring you a menu shaped around the dishes being eaten in the movie itself, timed to land on the table at precisely the right moment. This month they’re showing Bridesmaids. You know, the film famous for having a scene about food poisoning. So, that should be fun.

Details: 9th-12th, 16th-19th, 23rd-26th February | The Refinery, Citypoint | £80

Jay Wolman x 107 | NYC Chef Comes to Clapton

Jay Wolman - 107

Lucia Bell-Epstein

As Elliot Hashtroudi heads off to prepare for the opening of Camille, Clapton’s 107 wine bar is reeling in a new resident chef. And they’ve managed to hook a big fish from across the pond: Jay Wolman, who’s been cooking up a storm at Brooklyn’s Diner, LaLou, and MIMI…

Details: Until 11th February | 107 Lower Clapton Road, London E5 0NP

Sins Of The Flesh | An erotic dinner at a private members’ club

Sex and food usually go together like a hedgehog in a ballon store, but the Century Club are promising an evening of truly erotic & sensual dining. There’ll be live music, a salacious cabaret, some aphrodisiac oils, and a three course feast…

Details: 14th February | The Century Club, 61 – 63, Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 6LQ | £70

Restaurant Hjem at The Water House Project | A Michelin Star Popup

For two nights this month, chef Alex Nietosvuori of Northumberland’s Michelin starred restaurant Hjem will be teaming up with chef Gabriel Waterhouse of The Water House Project, to create what they are describing as a “one-of-a-kind, Northumbrian – Scandinavian, via East London hybrid menu“. Which means 10 courses of exquisite Hipster Geordie Viking food including dry-aged deer with oxtail sauce; Cornish bream with winter tomato; and chestnuts with red currant & rye.

Details: 15th & 16th February | The Water House Project | 1 Corbridge Cres, E2 9DT

Blackout Dinner At Joia | A candlelit dinner overlooking the light show

Joia is a rather lovely Portuguese & Catalan restaurant overlooking Battersea Power Station. And because it’s overlooking Battersea Power Station, it’s also the perfect place to see the Batter Light Festival from. So the powers that be have decided to scatter some candles around and turn off all the lights for one evening this month, so to see the pretty installations all the better. And thankfully they’re not keeping you in the dark about the menu, which will feature the likes of wild mushroom escabeche, madeira braised beef featherblade, and white port sorbet.

Details: 21st February | Joia, art’otel Battersea, 1 Electric Boulevard, Nine Elms, London SW11 8BJ | £95

Poons Wontoneria | Last chance

Poon’s Wontoneria opened in Carousel’s incubator space for a three month pop-up. That was a year ago. Since then, it’s remained ridiculously popular, and has had its residency extended again and again, until now it’s finally having its last hurrah. At the end of February, it’s finally closing, for real this time, so get down there while you can.

Details: Until the end of February | No.23 at Carousel, 23 Charlotte St, W1T 1RL

essi | Australian-Greek fusion in a cocktail bar

esti pop-up restaurant

If you’ve never had Australian-Greek fusion food before – and we’ll take a wild, stab-in-the-dark guess here and say no, you probably haven’t – then get ready to say an Aegean g’day to the current popup restaurant at TT Liquor. It’s called essi (the lower case is intentional), and it’s the work of head chef Sal Galasso, who’s spend the last decade working at some of Oz’s finest restaurants. Now, he’s cooking up ‘straight-off-the-coals’ pork souvlaki, twice-cooked lamb ribs with Australian ‘desert dust’ spice mix, and smokey aubergine with brown butter & fried peanuts…

Details: Throughout February | TT Liquor, 17B Kingsland Rd, E2 8AA

Fowl | A popup chicken shop from the Fallow peeps

FOWL

The guys at Fallow have opened an all-chicken popup restaurant. And when you consider that their last pop up restaurant won a Bib Gourmand, expectations are, well, high. And for this one, poultry is involved in every part of the menu. Even dessert.

Details: Throughout February | Norris St, St. James’s Market, SW1Y 4RJ

Jackson Boxer at Selfridges | Uberchef meets department store

Chef Jackson Boxer has taken over The Corner in Selfridges this winter for a popup (albeit one with no end date) to fill the gap while he sorts out another of his own restaurants. His first couple – including Orasay and Brunswick House – weren’t too shabby, so this ought to be a belter. Dishes include smoked butter noodles with Madagascan pepper, XL diver scallop with artichoke, and a fried veal sandwich. Yes please.

Details: Throughout February | Selfridges, Oxford Street, W1A 1AB

Pamir Zeydan at Kebab Queen | Tasting menus in a secret space

Kebab Queen

Kebab Queen, everyone’s favourite secret-tasting-menu-only-restaurant-within-a-restaurant, just got a new chef. That chef’s name is Pamir Zeydan, and it’s one you’re going to want to remember. His culinary style has been imbued with Kurdish and Mediterranean influences from his upbringing in Turkey, as well as the fine dining techniques he’s picked up working in some of the world’s most elegant restaurants. And his tenure is going to mark a brand new direction for Kebab Queen, infusing the menu with echoes of classic Turkish and Mediterranean dishes in a one-of-a-kind, super-intimate dining experience served to just eight people at a time…

Details: Throughout February | Kebab Queen, Downstairs at Maison Bab, Mercer’s Walk, WC2H 9QE

Tiella at the Compton Arms | Italian food in a classic North London boozer 

The Compton Arms always gets in great residencies. The last two – Four Legs and BELLY – both impressed massively, so they took a slight risk with Tiella because a) it’s not named after a body part, which seems to be the theme here, and b) it’s the debut of Italian chef Dara Klein, who has not yet helmed her own restaurant. But luckily, it turns out that she almost literally grew up in her family’s restaurant kitchen, and soaked up experience the whole time, then worked her way up through the ranks at places like Brawn, Trullo, and Sager + Wilde. So – surprise surprise – that risk has paid off…

Details: Throughout February | Compton Arms, 4 Compton Avenue, London, N1 2XD


POP UP BARS

Bar Night at Novelty Automation | Pop up bar in a surreal arcade 

novelty automation

Novelty Automation has some truly weird arcades. There’s a Money Laundering cash drop, an ‘Auto Frisker’ that will pat you down like a mechanical bouncer, and a ‘Small Hadron Collider’ among many others. It’s like satire meets surrealism meets stainless steel. And for one night a month, there’s a pop up bar there too.

Details: 1st February, 5-9pm | 1a Princeton St, Holborn, WC1R 4AX

Midnight Apothecary Valentine Night | Love is in the air. Literally.

Valentine’s Day at The Midnight Apothecary involves deluxe hot toddies, botanical cocktails, toast-your-own s’more kits and a guided tour round Brunel’s Tunnel Shaft (oo-er?).

Details: 14th February | The Midnight Apothecary, Brunel Museum, Railway Avenue, London, SE16 4LF | £8

The Winter Martini Garden | Hot Cocktails on a Hidden Rooftop

ham yard hotel pop up bar

In December, Sipsmith took over the beautifully bohemian, lantern-lit, and entirely exclusive rooftop of Soho’s Ham Yard Hotel with a pop-up bar serving hot cocktails and table-side martinis. To absolutely no-one’s surprise, it was quite popular. So they’ve decided to extend the run until the end of February, which should raise a couple of cheers…

Details: Until 24th February Ham Yard Hotel, 1 Ham Yard, Soho, W1D 7DT £22 (inc. 2 cocktails)

 


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