YOUR JANUARY AGENDA | Pop Up London 2020
We didn’t quite know what to expect of the new year.
That’s the problem when you don’t have 2020 vision.
But if this month’s anything to go by, it’s shaping up spectacularly well – because you’ll be kicking off the new decade with a free light show with an interactive illuminated thundercloud; a whole festival of fascinating short films; two weeks of experimental circus and acrobatic performances; a Burns Night ceilidh underneath the Cutty Sark; a secret cult to investigate at a 5* hotel; a Spanish festival dedicated to onions; folk music in a subterranean Victorian tunnel; and a series of talks that might just help you to keep your New Year’s Resolutions…
Main image: Sky On Earth by UAII Studio – Winter Lights 2020
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POP UP EVENTS (January 2020)
New Year’s Day Parade
Nothing cures a hangover like seeing 10,000 people pull off a spectacularly large parade packed with musicians, performers, floats, marching bands, Chinese dragons, cheerleaders, vintage car convoys, donkeys, horses, and dance troupes as they make their way through the city.
Details: Mercifully, from 12 noon | Starting at Piccadilly | Free
New Year’s Day Celidh
If you have a keen urge to actually do something active to ring in the New Year, and not to pay a penny for it, then make your way to the Southbank Centre. Vaunted ceilidh band Cut a Shine (Bestival, Port Eliot Festival, etc.) will be leading three & a half hours of willow-stripping fun, for free.
Details: From 1pm | The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall, SE1 8XX | Free
If you don’t know what Winterfest is, that’s understandable, because this will be the first year it’s happened. It’s basically a huge outdoor light & sound show up in Wembley Park, and it’s set to hit town for six weeks. It’s completely free, and it involves a 100ft installation from a pair of former Pixar animators…READ MORE
Details: Until 3rd January | Wembley Park, Wembley, HA9 | Free
No Fit State
An eclectic, bohemian collective, No Fit State hit the Roundhouse this month with their both poetic and exhilarating brand of circus. From the quirky (playing chess on unicycles) to the downright impressive (try three performers simultaneously riding the ‘Wheel of Death’), it’s a beautifully presented cabaret of jaw-dropping skill.
Details: 3rd-18th January | Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8EH | From £15
The Great Christmas Feast
What the Dickens is the best immersive Christmas feast taking place in London this festive season?
Funny you should ask.
Because it’s unquestionably The Great Christmas Feast; a ravishing retelling of Dickens’ Christmas Carol set in a Victorian yuletide dining room, with a four course banquet woven into the story itself… READ MORE
Details: Until 4th January | 47-49 Tanner Street, London, SE1 3PL | £34-109
Describing itself as “an inspired melange of cabaret, new burlesque, circus and contemporary vaudeville”, La Clique’s a raucous, risqué and fun-filled night featuring, amongst others, a debonair juggler; a tattooed, sword-swallowing fire-eater; and a lady who swings around the famous spiegeltent while hanging by her hair… READ MORE
Details: Until 4th January | The Spiegeltent, Leicester Square,WC2H 7LU | From £26
The Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City
Building an entire city out of gingerbread may sound like a half-baked idea…
…but when it’s constructed by the architects & engineers at the Museum of Architecture, it’s actually pretty impressive, with over 100 artists and architects constructing their own sugar-dusted, fairylit gingerbread edifices… READ MORE
Details: Until 5th January | Somerset House, Strand, Covent Garden, WC2R 1LA | £9
Southbank Centre Winter Festival
If you’re looking for an excuse to drink mulled cider and wine around crackling firepits; eat festive street food from raclette to bratwurst; and buy festive wares from twinkling fairylit chalets, then look no further than the Southbank Centre.
Details: Until 5th January | Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX | Free Entry
It’s a classic for a reason. Every year it seems to come back even bigger, and this year there’s London’s largest outdoor ice rink (with live music from the central bandstand); rollercoasters and rides; circus acts; street food; mulled wine; firepits and tipis; karaoke huts; and… a 70m observation wheel.
Details: Until 5th January, daily from 10am-10pm | Hyde Park, W2 2UH | £9.50-£15.50
Circus 1903 is all about old-school spectacle. Settling into the Southbank’s Royal Festival Hall, they’ll be showcasing the kinds of feats that health and safety did away with years ago: acts like knife-throwers; trapeze artists and acrobats without safety nets; and an all-new act called the ‘Brazilian wheel of death’. Thankfully, the one tradition they haven’t revived is the use of live animals – instead, they’ve collaborated with the War Horse designers to create jaw-dropping, life-sized puppets instead… READ MORE
Details: Until 5th January | Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX | £29.50-125
London International Mime Festival
If you haven’t heard of the London International Mime Festival… well, they’re probably doing something right. For their 44th year, they’re returning to the capital with an incredible line-up – there’s puppetry on a barge; breathtaking physical theatre; silent movies with live jazz accompaniments; a tribute to Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin in the crumbling Wilton’s Music Hall; hand dancing in a miniature set; and a show about two clowns featuring ‘disappointing nudity’.
Details: 8th January – 2nd February | Across London
London Short Film Festival
Taking place over nine days, this is actually a pretty long short film festival. Which is understandable, considering they’re fitting in industry talks; music videos with live accompaniments; dozens of experimental, heart-breaking and uplifting shorts; and quirky collections, including a screening dedicated to the internet phenomenon of ASMR; and compilations of 70s PSAs on subjects from sex ed and gateway drugs to hand safety for industrial workers, and the joys of pork.
Details: 10th-19th January | Across London
Set in Eccleston Yards, Wave is an experiment in chromotherapy, which we’re told is “the science of using the powers of light and colour to balance energy in the body and mind.”
So basically, it looks cool as f*ck.
It’s been set up by the people at SquidSoup, and it’ll have 500 individual lights that you can wander through while evolving harmonies play.
Details: Until 11th January, 4pm-10pm | Eccleston Yards, SW1W 9AZ
Head to the labyrinthine tunnels beneath Waterloo station this month, and you’ll happen upon a night of theatrical revelry full of dark, beguiling characters ripped out of a gothic fairy story. On your interactive journey through the palace, you’ll eat dishes by a Masterchef finalist, sip unusual cocktails, and watch performances by ballerinas, contortionists, and a very talented ghost orchestra… READ MORE
Details: Until 12th January | The Vaults, Leake Street, SE1 7NN | £15-70
Hidden Jazz Club
The team behind HJC are so dedicated to jazz, they even improvise their venues. They pop up in undisclosed locations around the capital with a rotating roster of talented musicians, ready to soothe your eardrums with ever-changing set lists in intimate and atmospherically-lit settings. READ MORE
Details: 16th & 26th January | Secret Locations | £18
Not to be outdone by the flurry of interactive light shows that have been dazzling the capital of late, Canary Wharf has brought back their annual outdoor exhibition of luminous artwork. This year, you’ll find a giant illuminated storm cloud made of foam; a kaleidoscopic video screen made from 7,344 recycled plastic milk bottles; an infinitely reflected tunnel of light; an illuminated ‘bra tree’; and a huge, high-tech canvas that allows you to paint with light.
Details: 16th – 25th January | Throughout Canary Wharf | Free
The Old Operating Theatre Museum is hosting one of their instant sell-out Victorian surgical demonstrations this month – but just to put it even more in demand, they’re throwing in a little live music, too. From the theatre stalls where medical students would have once watched complex operations, you’ll be able to listen to a selection of pieces written by overlooked 19th century female composers.
Details: 16th January | Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret, 9a St Thomas Street, London SE1 9RY | £20
Joining the avalanche of light-based art installations popping up across the capital this month, Leo Villareal’s latest exhibition comes up top for three key reasons: 1) He’s the artist who’s recently illuminated 14 bridges across the Thames; 2) It’ll feature an array of eye-dazzling artworks, including a 10m wide screen of cosmically undulating lights; and 3) It’s indoors.
Details: Until 18th January | Pace Gallery, 6 Burlington Gardens, W1S 3ET | Free Entry
Wassail at the Midnight Apothecary
Here to cure wassails you, rooftop garden bar the Midnight Apothecary is honouring the old folk tradition of blessing the forthcoming apple harvest with wassail carolling, a candlelit procession to the apple trees, and plenty of cider. And unlike the old folk tradition, there’ll also be marshmallows to toast by the fire, hot cocktails, street food, and late night dancing to live folk music in a subterranean Victorian tunnel.
Details: 18th January | Midnight Apothecary, above the Brunel Museum, Railway Avenue, SE16 4LF | £10
Calçotada at Brindisa
It takes a lot of skill to do the Catalan Calçotada festival justice.
Luckily, the people at Brindisa really know their onions.
Every weekend from January to March, their Shoreditch and Battersea restaurants will be holding traditional feasts in honour of the calçot (a long, green onion), scorching them over an open flame and serving them up with fresh romesco sauce. And to go with the main dish, there’ll be roasted poussin, grilled Spanish artichokes, flame-roasted veg and jugs full of cava…
Details: Weekends from 18th January | Brindisa Shoreditch & Battersea| £35
The Candlelight Club
The Candlelight Club – the roving 1920s party lit almost entirely by candles – is decking the halls of their secret ballroom space for a special festive edition this month. There’ll be live music from the Swing’It Dixieband, vintage DJ’ing by The Bees Knees, and MC’ing from the compère without compare, the inimitable Champagne Charlie. READ MORE
Details: 18th January | A Secret Location | From £25
Explorer Series at Mr. Fogg’s
Making circumnavigating the globe in 80 days look tame, ex-rugby player and recovering quadriplegic Ed Jackson climbed Mt. Snowdon a year after being told he’d never walk again. And if you’re looking for a strong dose of new year motivation, he’ll be speaking about his inspirational journey at an intimate soirée at Mr. Fogg’s Residence this month.
Details: 20th January | Mr. Fogg’s Residence, 15 Bruton Lane, Mayfair, London W1J 6JD
How To Change Your Life With Tiny Habits
It’s the 21st January, and on the off-chance you haven’t yet mastered Italian, quit smoking forever, and learnt to unicycle blindfolded, you might find some solace in this talk from the How To Academy. Behavioural scientist B. J. Fogg will be talking about the scientific basis to changing habits, and will let you in on the hacks that could make at least one of your New Year’s Resolutions last past February.
Details: 21st January | Emmanuel Centre, 9-23 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 3DW | £30
The people at Chiswick House must have been wondering what to do with their 65 acres of grounds this month.
Then somebody had a lightbulb moment.
They’re going to fill the huge estate with a spectacular trail of lanterns, lights and interactive installations. There’ll be glowing musical eggs, rainbow tunnels, a field of 70,000 roses and epic projections onto the house itself – all alongside acrobats, street food and live music… READ MORE
Details: 22nd January – 1st March | Chiswick House Gardens, W4 2QN | £20
The Little Orchestra
Beethoven never heard some of the music he wrote.
But by all accounts he was still a pretty solid composer – and his music sounds even better when it’s played in a spine-tinglingly intimate and special setting by an orchestra who specialise in taking the pomp and stuffiness out of classical concerts… READ MORE
Details: 24th & 25th January | Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, London, SW11 5TN | £25/£45pp for a sofa
Raise A Glass To Robert Burns
Whether you decide to pay tribute to the Scottish bard with whisky, haggis, dancing, or a combination of all three, we’ve rounded up the best spots in London in which to do so. Take a wee peek at yer Burns Night Guide.
World Championship of Ping Pong
It takes a lot of balls to enter Ping Pong’s most prestigious tournament. And you can watch the competitors in action at Ally Pally this month, who are hosting two days of fast and furious wiff waff that’ll be broadcast around the world.
Details: 25th & 26th January | Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY | From £21.05
VAULT Festival 2020
London’s answer to the Edinburgh Fringe is back, and promises (as ever) an extraordinary motley crew of performers. This year, you can catch a one-to-one immersive physical theatre show based on the diaries of Dalí; a VR holiday where you can taste and smell the world around you; a theatrical cookery lesson inspired by Dungeons & Dragons; a dramatised first-hand account of the slave trade through traditional African Griot storytelling; and an attempt to answer the age-old theatrical dilemma: “how pregnant is too pregnant to perform a one-woman show?” READ MORE
Details: 28th January – 22nd March | The Vaults, Leake Street, SE1 7NN
What is this an invitation to, exactly? Well, it’s the next show from Secret Theatre, which has just sold out its run in Hong Kong and is now settling in to the 5* Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel. You’ll be required to don a mask before entering an exclusive club committed to the debauched and the occult. Described as Eyes Wide Shut meets SE7EN, there’ll be a sinful dinner (prepared by Simon Shand at The Corner Room restaurant); passwords to exchange; live music to enjoy and deadly secrets to uncover… READ MORE
Details: From 28th January | Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel, 8 Patriot Square, London, E2 9NF | From £39
The Travelling Circus
The Travelling Circus is going to be staying put for the near future at Elephant & Castle’s sprawling street food marketplace, Mercato Metropolitano, which is putting on a very different kind of festive shindig this year. It’s all being curated by Josie and Rob da Bank, the co-founders of Bestival, who are essentially staging a fully-fledged festival inside the market every weekend until the end of January.
Details: Until end of January 2020 | Mercato Metropolitano, 42 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6DR | £30
Adventure Film Club
The insanely popular Adventure Film Club is back this month – and suitably, they’re trying it out in pastures new. This time, they’ll be screening half a dozen thrilling short films (including one about a guy who wanted to slackline, without safety equipment, across a Canadian canyon) in a beautiful Hackney church, as well as setting up a mulled wine bar and campfires for marshmallow toasting outside. READ MORE
Details: 31st January | Round Chapel, 1d Glenarm Rd, Lower Clapton, E5 0LY | £20
Pitch Black Playback
If you’re in the dark about PBP, well… that’s only to be expected. They’re an underground listening party collective who stage album listening nights in the dark, in beautiful, unusual venues around the city. This month, there’s six new events in the line-up, including play-throughs of Frank Ocean’s album Endless, the new Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album Ghosteen, and the soundtrack to Twin Peaks… READ MORE
Details: Throughout January | Various locations | £8-10
Sneak In One Last Round of Ice Skating
Most of them are still open – but leave it later than the 12th, and you might find yourself skating on thin ice. Check out the best rinks in London.
London’s Best Winter Rooftops
Rooftop drinking. It’s the height of sophistication. Especially when you do it at one of the city’s finest high-altitude spots, which have all been decked out with suitably wintry decor, hot cocktails, and fondue menus… READ MORE
It’s an escape room, set on a plane. As in an actual plane, not just a narrow room with a drinks trolley. It’s a decommission jet they’ve parked in Greenwich, you’ll play a jailbird in a criminal gang aboard a prisoner transport, and you’ve got to find the tools smuggled abroad to help escape. The company behind the entire enterprise, The Riddle Within, haven’t done any escape rooms before, so yes – this is their pilot show. Hopefully it takes off.
Details: Throughout January | 338 Boord Street, Greenwich Peninsula SE10 0PF | £20-£87pp
Secret Cinema Presents: Stranger Things
We never thought we’d see the day that Secret Cinema adapted a TV show. But Stranger Things have happened. Yes, the immersive experience pioneers are back, and after a staggering 70 productions they’re taking on a whole new branch of entertainment… READ MORE
Details: Until 29th February | A Secret Location | From £49
Moving to Mars
You can now see what it would be like to live on Mars, thanks to the new exhibition from the Design Museum – because they’ve got a full-scale, completely liveable Mars home inside it… READ MORE
Details: Until 23rd February | The Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High Street, W8 6AG | £16-£18
WOW at Japan House
When you call your visual design studio an all-caps, back-patting, rakishly confident name like WOW you had better deliver. And WOW certainly does. They’re a Japanese firm whose work has been stunning audiences in the Far East, and is now making its way to the UK for the first time. It’s at Japan House, and you’ll find digital installations including Tokyo Lights Odyssey, a 360-degree immersive look at Tokyo at night, and Poppo, a chance to carve a traditional wooden doll and project your own face onto it.
Details: Until 22nd March 2020 | Japan Centre, 101-111 Kensington High Street, W8 5SA | Free
This vast exhibition is apparently the last chance you’ll have to see the riches of Tutankhamun’s tomb before they return to Egypt forever. Hopefully, it’s not just some kind of pyramid scheme. The largest exhibition ever staged outside of the country, it promises to feature over 150 of the awe-inspiring objects the boy king was buried with, from precious gold artefacts and statuettes to a pair of 3000 year-old gloves.
Details: Until 3rd May 2020 | Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, SW3 4RY | £24.50-28.50
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019/20
There’s only one acceptable context for shooting wild animals, and it’s the one practiced by the world’s wildlife photographers.
And now in its 55th year, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year is back to show off the very best amongst them. This year, they trawled through some 48k entries from 100+ countries before landing on the winning images, which are displayed on special lightboxes (alongside dozens of runner-up shots) throughout the Natural History Museum’s gallery. READ MORE
Details: Until 31 May 2020 | The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD | £14
See The Best London Theatre Shows On Right Now
Ever since the dawn of time, human beings have gazed at the stars in awe and asked themselves “Where can I get a list of only the best London Theatre shows playing right now – divided into musical, comedy, drama, and immersive categories – in which I can also discover a heap of nearby bars and restaurants to help me make a night of it?”
And the answer is… well, here.
Peruse London’s Best Art Galleries
And over in the art corner, we have an exhibition of a 1930s surrealist female photographer; prize-winning works from emerging young artists; another chance to see some Antony Gormley; an immersive journey into one of da Vinci’s greatest paintings; pioneering infographics used to fight for racial equality; the first collection of self-portraits by Lucian Freud, and much more… SEE WHAT’S ON IN LONDON’S ART GALLERIES
Head To One Of London’s Big Museums
Because this month’s visiting exhibitions include priceless silk Buddhist scrolls; a collection of only recently declassified top secret files; an exhibition dedicated to the maybe-real, maybe-fictional ancient city of Troy; aand a peek below ground at vintage posters, artefacts and lost tunnels on the Underground. SEE WHAT’S ON IN LONDON’S MUSEUMS
Go To The Best Restaurants In London
If we simply wanted to round up the 39 best restaurants in London… we’d just say 40. But we’re not. We’re rounding up the single best restaurant in every London neighbourhood.
Or, at least, 39 of them. Selected on the basis of a strict set of criteria, namely 1) supreme deliciousness, 2) a superlative atmosphere and 3) being located somewhere; we’ve picked out each area’s classic, must-visit eatery. It’s the most delicious tour of London you’ve ever been on.
Check out the best restaurants in London.
Lola, the chef behind Club Naija, has followed her roots back to Lagos for this convivial Nigerian supperclub. On the menu, you’ll find Yoruba classics like spicy groundnut soup, peanut barbecued skewers, dumplings, stew, and ‘puff puff’ for dessert – deep fried dough balls with tiger nut custard and pineapple.
Details: 8th January | Grounds & Grapes, 41 Honor Oak Park, London, SE23 1DZ | £35
We won’t write a monograph on this Japanese supperclub. Suffice to say that you’ll be treated to some of the country’s most delicious dishes (udon, soft tofu, matcha dorayaki) in a secret warehouse conversion with evocative Japanese A/V projections splashed across the walls. Oh, and it’s all BYOB.
Details: 17th & 18th January | Secret Whitechapel Location | £36.90
Feeling a little Rande? You will be, because it’s a Mexican pop up restaurant that seeks to “explore life beyond tacos” in ever-changing, unusual venues, from laundromats, to warehouses, to distilleries. This month, they’re popping up behind a door in Hackney with a four-course Mexican feast.
Details: 18th January | Secret Location | £39.50
Lunar New Year Banquet with the Dinner Ladies
2020 is the year of the rat. And if you can smell something, it’s probably the delicious feast that supperclub pros The Dinner Ladies are cooking up in its honour. They’ll be putting together a four course Chinese feast to ring in the new year, with welcome cocktails and live entertainment.
Details: 24th January | Secret London Location | £33
Chubby Buddies describe their cooking style as “American mess touched by Asian fluffiness”. And that comes across as being startling accurate when you see the dishes they produce: BAOgers (that’s a burger in bao buns) and BAOdogs (you can guess) and other such cross-Pacific fusion.
Details: Until the end of January | The Rose & Crown, 71-73 Torriano Ave, NW5 2SG
Bar Under The Bridge
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. The bar: a sprawling lodge with cosy heated chalet booths, fleece rugs, and board games, serving up food from Baggio Burger as well as mulled booze. The Bridge: Hungerford, next to the Southbank Centre.
Details: Until January 5th | Under Hungerford Bridge, Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX
These two young Brixton lads met in the kitchens of double Michelin-starred Dinner, and are now spreading the word about sustainable dining. Following a residency at Carousel, they’re now settling into the kitchens of Spitalfields café Crispin for two months, serving dishes like crispy potato skins with cod roe; chicken kofta yakitori; and caramelised cauliflower cheese.
Details: 7th January – 7th March | Crispin, Pavilion on The Corner, White’s Row, E1 7NF
Berber & Q’s Pita Takeovers
Berber & Q are gearing up to throw themselves their annual pita party. First, though, they’ll be letting five guest chefs take over their kitchens for a week, serving their own signature take on the dish before it culminates in the grand pita-off. This year, those chefs include Gunpowder’s Harneet Baweja, Bala Baya‘s Eran Tibi, and the duo behind the recently closed (and much-missed) Hoxton deli, Monty’s Deli.
Details: Every week in January | Berber & Q Shawarma Bar, 46 Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QE
The Gun’s Winter Wonderland
The Gun in Spitalfields have pulled the trigger on their new festive pop up restaurant: a life-sized gingerbread chalet with edible walls. It’s got all manner of sparkling fairy lights, cozy throws, festive decorations, and bricks that look good enough to eat (and literally are). Thankfully, your hunger should be taken care of by their new menu, which includes braised beef short ribs and whole, deep-fried bries.
Details: Until the end of February | The Gun, 54 Brushfield St, Spitalfields, E1 6AG
What covers two thirds of the earth and can be found in Mayfair?
It’s taking up the space in Mayfair’s rotating residency 10 Heddon Street, and it’ll be headed up by Aussie chef Shaun Presland, who’se spent the last 25 years training under the best Japanese chefs on the planet… READ MORE
Details: Until March 2020 | 10 Heddon Street, Mayfair, W1B 4BX
Pampushka at the Sun & 13 Cantons
We feel cockily confident in asserting that you’ve probably never had Ukrainian food before, which is a pity, because if it’s all as good as the stuff they’re serving at Pampushka – wild mushroom & tarragon dumplings; clay pot chicken with root vegetables; layered chocolate & cream cake – then we’ve all been missing out. Luckily, you can find out for yourself at the Sun & 13 Cantons for the next few months.
Details: Until March 2020 | 21 Great Pulteney Street, Soho, W1F 9NG
Filthy Buns (aka John & Debs) are settling into the kitchen at Dalston’s 3 Compasses, and cooking up their ludicrously large, jaw-dislocating burgers. They’re all made with aged beef, and they’re serving something gloriously called a ‘Sunday Roast Bun’ at the end of the week.
Details: Until April 2020 | The Three Compasses, 99 Dalston Lane, E8 1NH
Fodder’s watchword is sustainability. And they’re going to be sustaining themselves in Brixton’s Shrub & Shutter for the next six months, serving an environmentally aware menu filled with foraged ingredients. Expect confit ray tail, wood pigeon yakitori, and beech leaf sorbet, all cooked up by a former Cub chef.
Details: Until April 2020 | Shrub & Shutter, 336 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8QH
It was a sad day when Swedish restaurant Rök was officially beaten by paper. Specifically money. And the lack thereof.
But the good news is that something just as delicious is settling into the Scandi-chic space, at least for the next few months. Emile will be run by chef Damian Clisby (formerly of Petersham Nurseries) and wine man Nick Gibson (landlord at The Drapers Arms), and they’ll be putting together a wine-driven menu of Modern European dishes.
Details: Until mid-2020 | 26 Curtain Road, EC2A 3NY
Seb Myers at P Franco
Celebrated wine bar P Franco regularly give up their kitchen space for a new chef residency – And currently, that chef is Seb Myers, whose London cheffing career started alongside Nuno Mendes at the iconic Viajante, and has since taken in Chiltern Firehouse and Sager + Wilde Paradise Row. His menu here changes daily, but you can expect a line-up of around seven or eight elegant dishes – which so far have included the likes of red mullet tartines; pork rillettes and cuttlefish rice.
Details: Throughout January | 107 Lower Clapton Rd, E5 0NP
Mei Mei’s Street Cart’s Residency at LP Bar in New Cross
Mei Mei’s have already followed the traditional plan of opening pop up, then following it with a permanent restaurant: their north London pop up was followed by a brick-and-mortar joint… in Liverpool. Now they’re back, slinging excellent Chinese fusion dishes (the tacos are particularly popular) at LP Bar in New Cross.
Details: Throughout January | LP Bar, 401 New Cross Rd, SE14 6LA
Hello Kitty Matcha Bar at Tombo
Sure, Hello Kitty doesn’t have a mouth, but that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t start a pop up restaurant, which she has: it’s in Fitzrovia for four months. It involves all manner of poke, branch, ramen, and doughnuts. And it’s exactly as charmingly twee as you’d imagine.
Details: Throughout January | 4 Windmill St, W1T 2HZ
French-American burger outfit Le Bun are taking over the kitchens at Fitzrovia’s Smugglers Tavern, serving up truffle honey bacon cheeseburgers; bone marrow loaded fries, and buffalo cauliflower wings. Oh, and a cheeseburger Scotch egg.
Details: Throughout January | 28 Warren St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 5ND
Hideaway by Dabbous
Set in the culinary gardens of the ultra-luxe Chelsea Barracks development, Hideaway comes to us from Ollie “I collect Michelin Stars” Dabbous. He dipped his toes into the pop up scene here briefly during the Flower Show in spring, and now he’s back for something longer-term. You can expect light, cafe-style fare including black truffle Croque Monsieurs; Ibaiama sauscisson; and buckwheat pain au chocolats. READ MORE
Details: Throughout January | Chelsea Barracks, Garrison Square, SW1W 8BG
Prairie Fire at London Fields Brewery
Having been at the vanguard of the craft beer renaissance, London Fields Brewery are unveiling a renovated taproom overlooking their brand new railway arch brewery. And they’re not only filling it with dozens of brews fresh out of the tanks, they’ve drafted in Midwestern BBQ specialists Prairie Fire to take care of the grub. You’ll find Kansas City classics like applewood-smoked pork buns; brisket and pulled pork platters; hickory smoked chicken wings… and veggie options.
Details: Throughout January | London Fields Brewery, 365-366 Warburton Street, E8 3RR
Luardos at The Gipsy Queen
Mexican street food afficionados Luardos have taken over the pans at Kentish Town’s Gipsy Queen, a cosy 1920s pub with a suntrap of a back garden. They’re serving burritos, burrito bowls, quesadillas and sides like cassava chips, fried plantain and elotes – and on Tuesdays their tacos (baja fish, chicken thigh and carne asada) are £2 a pop.
Details: Mon-Sat throughout January | The Gipsy Queen, 166 Malden Road, London NW5 4BS
Chinese Laundry @ 10 Coulgate St
After their restaurant almost burned down and its charred husk was then occupied by squatters, the seemingly irrepressible ladies behind The Chinese Laundry are back with a long term residency in Brockley’s 10 Coulgate Street. And unseated of a fixed menu, there’s a rotating roster of dishes on offer, all inspired by their recent trip across China… READ MORE
Details: Weds-Sun until February | No. 10 Coulgate Street, SE4 2RS | £35 (including corkage, if you want to BYOB)
Liu Xiaomian at The Jackalope
It takes a seasoned chef to get the level of spices right in a dish. Luckily, Liu Xiaomian has two. The duo behind the noodle outfit have won themselves queues round the block for their ‘spicy, numbing, addictive’ Chongqing cooking. And they’re settled into the kitchens at Marylebone pub The Jackalope for the near future, serving delicious, freshly made wonton, spicy noodles and slow-cooked pork with Chinese vegetables.
Details: Tues-Fri, 12-2.30pm & 6-9pm | The Jackalope, 43 Weymouth Mews, W1G 7EQ
Supa Ya Ramen
Ramen is getting souped up.
Because ex-Nopi, Patty & Bun and Hand & Flowers chef Luke Findlay is running his own underground ramen restaurant. It only takes place on Saturday nights, with four sittings and six people at a time. To make sure you’re one of them, DM him on instagram and he’ll reply with a booking and directions to find it…
Details: Saturday nights | Secret N16 Location
The Ski Lodge
Pine trees. Falling snow. Reindeer. Snowmen. Ski racks. Piste maps.
Palm trees. The Montague’s pop up ski lodge is only really missing a slope – but after a steaming hot spiced cider, you won’t really care.
Details: Until 5th January | 15 Montague Street, WC1B 5BJ
Brewdog AF Beer Bar
Not technically a pop up, but pretty relevant for anyone staying dry this month – Brewdog have opened the first permanent beer bar… with non-alcoholic beer. Unlike a lot of other 0% beers, these actually taste pretty good – and they’re offering free refills for the whole month of January.
Details: Open daily | The Bower Development, 211 Old Street, EC1V 9NR
Cabaret Fledermaus is an iconic jazz bar. It’s a little tricky to visit, however, given that it’s in Vienna, and closed in 1913. However, as part of their exhibition on early 20th century club culture, the Barbican have painstakingly recreated the venue – including all 56 handmade decorative tiles – from just one black and white postcard. And if you swing by the exhibition on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, you can pop in to the Fledermaus for a cocktail, before catching live jazz in another recreated bar, L’Aubette.
Details: Thursday-Saturday until 19th January | Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS
Hot Gin Roof
A light at the end of the tunnel of dry January – or even just regular January – is the Hot Gin Roof pop up, a now annual collaboration between gin slingers Sipsmiths and the bohemian Ham Yard Hotel. They’ll be opening their usually private rooftop up for the month, while Sipsmith take over the bar and serve up a plethora of (both boozy and non-boozy) hot cocktails. READ MORE
Details: 24th January – 29th February | Ham Yard Hotel Rooftop, 1 Ham Yard, W1D 7DT
Alpine Whisky Lodge
Flat Iron Square just got a little less flat, and a little less square thanks to its pop up whisky lodge – you’ll find a stellar lineup of malts, some live acoustic music, and even a cozy après ski lodge.
Details: Throughout January | Flat Iron Square, 53b Southwark St, SE1 1RU
In English folklore, the leaves of an aspen tree are said to grant the wearer the ability to visit the underworld and – importantly – return safely. Which in fairly literal way is what you can do at Bar Aspen. Because it’s a subterranean natural wine speakeasy, popping up for just one day a week (Fridays) in a hidden Camden cellar. And it’s got live music. READ MORE
Details: Fridays until 28th February | The Cellars at Music & Beans, 82 Camden High St., NW1 0LT
This miniature pop up alpine village has thought of everything – there’s sourdough pizzas from Radio Alice; DJs; a heated terrace; private log cabins for hire; and bars serving mulled wine and hot spiced plum ciders. So nobody will be left feeling piste off.
Details: Mon-Sat until 29th February | Canada Square, E14 5AB
The Emerald City at Queen of Hoxton
The Queen of Hoxton’s rooftop is once again switching its theme for the season, and this time it’s taking a whirlwind to the Emerald City (Oz, not Dublin). You can expect green beers, hot buttered rums, a light dusting of Wiccan magic workshops and storytelling in their cosy wigwam.
Details: Throughout January | Queen of Hoxton, 1-5 Curtain Road, EC2A 3JX
The Mind Palace
A Sherlock Holmes-themed cocktail bar has opened next to the pop up immersive experience The Game Is Now. It’s called The Mind Palace, and it’s a pretty good place to sharpen up by destroying any of the weaker brain cells that may have been holding you back. They even have immersive cocktail games, like “The Case of the Poisoned Chalice” to help you do it.
Details: Weds-Sat throughout January | Doyle’s Opticians, W12 Shopping Centre, W12 8PP
Drams in the Dark
In the dark about whisky? Then try literally drinking it in the dark. It’ll help to heighten your senses of taste and smell, and give you a much deeper appreciation for the spirit. And if the whole thing is hosted by a whisky author like Blair Bowman, at a Scottish restaurant & whisky bar like Mac & Wild, all the better.
Details: Fridays throughout January | Mac & Wild City, 9a Devonshire Square, EC2M 4YN | £40
Looking for more inspiration? See all the best things to do in London