YOUR FEBRUARY AGENDA | Pop Up London 2020
Main image: RA Lates
January, the month of restraint – whether it be avoiding meat, booze, or popular public health initiatives – is over.
And now you’re about to embark on a month that’s crammed with thrilling things to do – including epic orchestral renditions of cult albums; a pop up cinema in a preserved 1950s ballroom; an immersive theatre show plunging you into the world of 1920s criminal London; a party in Jimi Hendrix’s old flat; a festival of life lessons from the likes of Richard Dawkins and Ruby Wax; a Picasso-inspired romp around a 17th century mansion; and a trio of sonic adventures inside old shipping containers. Plus, of course, everything you need to plan the best Valentine’s Day you’ll have all year.
It’s your February Agenda…
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Orchestral Renditions at XOYO
We like to think that music sounds at least 80% better when it’s performed by a full orchestra. We call it the Big Band Theory. And you can see for yourself at XOYO this month, where the celebrated Re:imagine orchestra will be staging epic play-throughs of cult albums. For the very specific price of £16.96, you can bop along to Beyoncé’s Dangerously In Love, Frank Ocean’s big hitters; or a play-through of classic Queen with a ten-piece brass band.
Details: Throughout February | XOYO, 32-37 Cowper Street, London EC2A 4AP | £16.96
Charles Merser & co Tasting Day
London’s been bereft of rum blending houses for over a hundred years. But now the family behind Hayman’s gin are reviving an 18th century tradition by opening a four-storey workshop where they expertly blend and age rums. This month, they’re inviting the public in for an open day, when you’ll be able to explore their underground cask room, learn a little more about the ageing process, and even sample their first bottlings in a free tasting.
Details: 1st February | The Sign of the Post & Hound, 44 Essex Street, London, WC2R 3JF | Free
The Chapel of Love
Fortnum & Mason have installed a pop-up chapel in the middle of their store, complete with a chiming bell, stained glass windows and a steeple stretching up through three storeys. Classic. And for the whole month of February, you can actually get married there – perfect if your partner wants a church wedding, but you’ve always wanted to tie the knot in a 300 year old luxury grocery store.
Details: 1st – 29th February | Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, W1A 1ER | Free to visit
COLAB have played an absolute blinder with their newest immersive theatre show. You’ll be part of a criminal network in 1920s London, trying to broker a deal with the Italian gang leader Sabini and his West End Boys. There’ll be boxing matches to gamble on, traitors to win over, and an almost ever-present threat of violence to contend with, putting you in complete control of your storyline. Plus, you can dress up for the night and feel suave AF.
Details: Wednesday – Sunday throughout February | King William IV, 16 Harper Road, London, SE1 6AD | £28
Berber & Q’s Pita Party
Berber & Q Shawarma Bar are throwing themselves their annual pita party, where they invite top chefs from across the city to serve up guest dishes. This year, those chefs include Gunpowder’s Harneet Baweja; Eran Tibi from Bala Baya; ice cream purveyors Happy Endings (putting together a sweet pita with sour cherries and golden syrup soft serve); and Owen Barratt from Monty’s Deli, who’s filling his with chopped liver, coleslaw, hot sauce and pastrami.
Details: 2nd February | 46 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QE | £25
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’. READ MORE
Details: Until 2nd February | Across London
The Grimaldi Service
Timing neatly with the end of the Mime Festival is this annual church service to remember Joseph Grimaldi – which wouldn’t be all that unusual, were it not for the fact that the church gets packed to the rafters with clowns. Grimaldi was a 19th century clowning icon, and this event draws dozens of circus performers, slapstick artists, comedians and mimes in all their finery.
Details: 4th February | All Saints Church, Livermere Road, London, E8 4EZ | Free
Drop in to The Drop, the King’s Cross wine bar from the Barrafina team, for an Alpine wine party. They’ll be showcasing high-altitude, high-acid whites and light-bodied reds from the region alongside servings of tartiflette – a steaming hot Alpine dish of melted Reblochon cheese, potatoes, lardons and onions.
Details: 4th February | The Drop, Unit 22-24 Bagley Walk Arches, Coal Drops Yard, London, N1C 4DH | Free entry, no need to book
The Great Sausage Roll-Off
This annual contest isn’t about seeing how far people can roll sausages. It’s a heated, live-cooking event where 20 chefs from across the UK go head to head to create the best sausage roll. There’s a panel of Michelin-starred chefs judging, but you’ll be heartily encouraged to try as many as possible of the entries, too.
Details: 5th February | The Red Lion, 2 Castelnau, London, SW13 9RU | Free
Orchids at Kew
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew
Indonesia has over 5,000 different species of orchid scattered across its 17,500 islands. And Kew have done a pretty good job of squeezing most of them into one of its greenhouses. They’ve been putting on an orchid festival for a quarter of a century, so they’ve got the flower arranging down to a fine art. And on a couple of evenings, they’re opening their doors after hours, when you can walk through boughs of orchids with a drink in hand, before sampling Indonesian cooking and watching traditional dance performances.
Details: 8th February – 8th March | Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond TW9 3AB | From £16.50
Read Between The Wines
Become wine list literate at this intimate masterclass from Michelin-starred eatery Trishna. Starting this month, their wine expert, Seamus Sharkey (ex-Head Sommelier at The Ledbury) will be hosting monthly tastings in the restaurant’s private dining room, where you’ll sip four different wines from a particular region alongside a four-course lunch of paired Indian dishes.
Details: 8th February | Trishna, 15-17 Blandford Street, London, W1U 3DG | £80
New Ground Coffee
New Ground has, well, broken new ground.
Because the pop up coffee shop has brought a first to Selfridges in the form of a giant, yellow slide. It’s only there till the 9th, and will require you to publically whizz down in full view of passers-by on the other side of the window. But once you’ve gone down, you can perk up again with one of their sustainable, socially conscious coffees. READ MORE
Details: Until 9th February | Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, W1A 1AB | Free
Valentine’s Film Night at The Shard
The Extraordinary Travelling Film Show are travelling up to the 69th floor of the Shard once more, for a very special Valentine’s themed screening. They’ll be showing A Star Is Born right under the stars; and you’ll be able to cosy up with a G&T and fresh popcorn.
Details: 12th February | The View from The Shard, Joiner Street, London, SE1 9QU | £45
Cinema Nights at The Rivoli Ballroom
London’s only remaining 1950s ballroom is hosting a trio of pop up film screenings this month. You’ll be able to sip cocktails and munch on classic cinema snacks as the chandeliers are dimmed, and they load up the slate with The Notebook, Pretty Woman or Romeo + Juliet.
Details: 12th-14th February | 350 Brockley Road, Crofton Park, SE4 2BY | From £10
Yes, V-Day is coming. And instead of the traditional chocolates and garage flowers, we’re giving you what you really want this year: a completely comprehensive run-down of the most romantic things to do in London, from eclectic date ideas to hidden bars and candlelit restaurants. NAIL VALENTINE’S DAY
Midnight Apothecary Valentine Night
Botanical cocktails. Cosy rooftop firepits. Unlimited complimentary marshmallows for toasting. The Midnight Apothecary is already a romantic spot for a laid-back Valentine’s. But this month, they’re bunging a live band in the Victorian tunnel shaft beneath it for good measure.
Details: 14th February | Brunel Museum, Railway Avenue, London, SE16 4LF | £12-40
The insanely popular event is back, and yes – they’re doing a Valentine’s special. You’ll hear speakers and famous performers read aloud some of the most powerful and touching love letters from history, all in the stunning surrounds of Shoreditch Town Hall.
Details: 14th February | Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, London EC1V 9LT | £60
Hendrix Flat Friday Lates
Jimi Hendrix was the soundtrack to the Summer of Love. And now he’ll be the soundtrack to the day of love – because on V day you can head to a house party in his old London flat, with psychedelic DJs, go-go dancers, jam sessions right outside his bedroom and pop up bars around the house.
Details: 14th February | 25 Brook Street, London, W1K 4HB | £25
RA Lates: Barcelona Modernisme
In honour of their current Picasso exhibition, the RA are throwing open the doors to their 17th century manor for an after-hours romp inspired by Modernist Barcelona. They’re laying on live music, experimental circus, cabaret, artistic salons, cocktail bars, and Picasso-style charcoal sketching. Which means that even if your drawing looks nothing like your subject, it’ll totally look like a Picasso. READ MORE
Details: 15th February | Royal Academy, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD | £25-75
Life lessons generally come in two forms:
1) Scary & painful.
2) As a festival taking place at the Barbican this month.
And trust us when we say, if you miss out on the latter, you’ll likely get the former. Because this particular festival is going to have some of the country’s finest minds (including Richard Dawkins, Ruby Wax and Derren Brown) doing their damnedest to make you happier, healthier, and basically make sure you live up to all your better hashtags. READ MORE
Details: 15th & 16th February | Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS | From £60
Ciné Real was founded by a pair of film enthusiasts: one an Oscar long-listed director, the other a projectionist who owns a shop in Hackney, shelves piled high with old film reels. Once a month, they select a film to screen on original 16mm celluloid, in all its flickering, reel-changing glory, in the plush refurbished surrounds of The Castle Cinema. And for the month of love, they’ve picked The Killing: a thrilling heist movie that Kubrick considered his first mature film.
Details: 19th & 23rd February | The Castle Cinema, 64-66 Brooksby’s Walk, Hackney, London E9 6DA | £10
The Little Orchestra
DUH DUH DUH DUUUUUUUUUH. That was the opening of Beethoven’s fifth symphony, as played in your head by three letters of the alphabet.
Now imagine it played by an actual orchestra. One that’s just a few feet away from you, for a spine-tinglingly intimate experience in a gorgeously atmospheric space… READ MORE
Details: 20th-22nd February | Porchester Hall, Porchester Road, London, W2 5HS | £5-45 for a sofa
Three Sisters (W)R.A.P Party
A huge music and spoken word party at the National Theatre, celebrating the end of an acclaimed three month run of Inua Ellams’ take on Chekhov’s Three Sisters, reimagined in 1960s Nigeria. There’ll be poetry performances on the themes of sisterhood and feminism, Afrobeat DJs, and food from Angry Black Kitchen.
Details: 20th February | National Theatre, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PX | £10
Witness cutting-edge choreography at this contemporary dance festival, where soloists, duets and groups will be showcasing hypnotic, enigmatic and touching performances inspired by everything from Japanese anime to the feeling of being old.
Details: Until 21st February | The Place, 17 Duke’s Road, London WC1H 9PY | Individually ticketed
What do you get when you bring together ten of the city’s finest pizzerias? A leaning tower of pizza. Or, if you’re as organised as Hawker House, a huge festival of dough-toppers, pitting London’s best pizza traders against each other in a two-day extravaganza. For your part, you’ll need to sample each of their wares (available by the slice, with plenty of vegetarian & vegan options on offer) before picking your top of the toppings.
Details: 21st & 22nd February | Hawker House, Canada Street, London, SE16 7PJ | £8-15
Ceilidh in a Brewery
Given how notoriously difficult it is to organise things in breweries, Fiddle Paradiddle have kept things simple – so just a full night of Scottish dancing for 50 people, a rambunctious live band, callers to teach you the steps, and a wealth of beers on tap that have been brewed in the very same room.
Details: 22nd February | Southwark Brewing Company, 46 Druid Street, London, SE1 2EZ | From £20
This party is going to go down in history. It’s set in 1734 at King George II’s birthday bash, where you’ll be right in the midst of a heated love triangle between the King, Queen Caroline, and his mistress, Henrietta Howard. It’s the latest immersive show from Les Enfants Terribles (the theatre company behind Alice’s Adventures Underground), and will actually take place in the rooms where it all happened… READ MORE
Details: 28th February – 30th March | Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, W8 4PX | £35-49
Darkfield: Séance – Flight – Coma
Inside three shipping containers in King’s Cross lie a series of pitch-black immersive experiences blending art with theatre. In a Victorian séance room, an economy airplane cabin or a dystopian dormitory, you’ll sit down, put on a pair of headphones, and be taken through parallel worlds, psychological experiments and more…
Details: 28th February – 22nd March | Lewis Cubitt Square, 11 Stable Street, London, N1C 4BT | £8/9
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 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
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: Until 1st March | Chiswick House Gardens, W4 2QN | £20
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: Until 22nd March | The Vaults, Leake Street, SE1 7NN
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
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: Wednesday-Sunday throughout February | Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel, 8 Patriot Square, London, E2 9NF | From £39
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.
February Talks & Lectures
This month, you can hear about a woman who gave birth to 17 rabbits in 1746; the everyday applications of Einstein’s theories; creative activism with Ai Weiwei; how to rewire your brain; the myth of the Golden Ratio; and a firsthand account of infiltrating extremist groups… SEE WHAT’S ON
Head To One Of London’s Top Museums
Because this month’s temporary exhibitions include a life-sized, walk-in Martian home; award-winning shots of wildlife from around the world; 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
Peruse London’s Best Art Galleries
And over in the art corner, we have the opening of a huge exhibition on the filmmaker, photographer and artist Steve McQueen; a display of over 300 pieces of Picasso’s experimental paper artwork; a look into British Baroque painting; and an in-depth exploration of painting in the 21st century… SEE WHAT’S ON IN LONDON’S ART GALLERIES
Eat At The Best Restaurants In London…
…with our comprehensive round-ups on the best places to eat in London right now.
RECENTLY OPENED RESTAURANTS | THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN EVERY LONDON NEIGHBOURHOOD | THE LONDON RESTAURANT BIBLE
An award-winning Filipino pop up hitting Brixton for at least six months with some truly excellent dishes, including their meltingly good Lechon Liempo pork belly with a gorgeously glassy, brittle crackling…
…and that’s Sarap.
Details: 31st January until August 2020 | 14D Market Row, Cold Harbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8LB
Sūpa Ya Ramen
Taking a guest spot at private members’ club Mortimer House (fear not, non-members can go to the residency), chef Luke Findlay will be cooking up his traditional ‘traditionally inauthentic’ ramen in the intimate surrounds of the club’s 8-seat Kitchen Table. Your bowl will be filled with a nourishingly rich broth with the likes of smoked miso, roast chicken, buttered chilli corn, Iberia pork fat, cured egg, fried garlic, and more…
Details: 31st January until Saturday 15th February | 37-41 Mortimer St, Fitzrovia, W1T 3JH | £15
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: 1st February | Secret Location | £39.50
Saransh Goila at Carousel
Google ‘Saransh Goila’, and the first autocomplete suggestion will be ‘…butter chicken recipe’. Because his has become legendary. He has five restaurants in India serving just that. He’s been on Masterchef Australia to show it off. He’s won awards for it. And now he’s coming to London to make it for you, in a 6-course tasting menu.
Details: 4th – 15th February | Carousel, 71 Blandford Street, W1U 8AB | £49.50
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: 5th February | Grounds & Grapes, 41 Honor Oak Park, London, SE23 1DZ | £35
Run by Malaysian cook Alicia Peters, Avalana is an all-vegan Malaysian supperclub serving dishes made from family recipes. And this month, instead of taking place in Alicia’s own home, she’s upgraded to Darjeeling Express in Soho. Expect six courses of flaky vegetable puffs, hot mango curry, lace pancakes, and more…
Details: 8th February | Darjeeling Express, Kingly Court, W1B 5PW | £50
Puff The Bakery
F**k magic dragons.
If you’re going to check out Puff anything, it should be the bakery popping up for three Sundays in February at Passo in Shoreditch. Why? Caramel, vanilla & choc mille feuille, frangipane tarts, hot rice pudding, and Viennoiserie pastries. That’s why.
Details: 9th February-1st March | Passo, 80 City Road, EC1Y 2AS
Gizzi Erskine has done all the things that most chefs aspire to do: publish a string of cookbooks, star in a cookery show, attend the Glamour Awards, etc. The only thing she hasn’t done is start a restaurant. Well, that may all be about to change, because she’s taking a giant leap forward with her own pop up, The Nitery. It’ll be in St Martin’s Lane for three months, and will involve an Anglo-Franco-American menu.
Details: 13th February – 30th April 2020 | St. Martin’s Lane Kitchen, 45 St. Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4HX
Passepartout is completely new to the supperclub scene, but it sounds like it has an intriguing concept for its debut dinner: seven courses of seafood, each from one of the seven seas, and each inspired by a different quote. Witness Haruki Murakami’s take on the Japan Sea, or Lewis Caroll’s musings on the Atlantic, or Vincent Van Gogh’s thoughts on the Mediterranean. Then eat their words.
Details: 18th February | St. Paul Islington, 274B St Paul’s Rd, N1 2LJ | £40
Ironically, the Ugly Supperclub is looking quite good.
It’s a Thai-inspired banquet from the man behind the Ugly Duck street food stall (which tends to swan around in Bermondsey). You’ll find it at the Holy Trinity Church in south east London, and you’ll get seven courses of regional Thai food including short-rib curry with wild ginger; green mango salad; aged steak larb; and charred sugar snaps.
Details: 22d February | Holy Trinity Church, 66 Lennard road, SE20 7LX | £35
Republic by Kuldeep
Kuldeep Mattegunta – head chef at at the excellent Kricket – is doing his own thing. It’s a pop up he’s calling Republic, and it’ll take place in Great Guns Social. He’s already had a successful test run there before, and he’s aiming to build on that success. He’ll be cooking up masala momos; venison sheekh; warm bitter chocolate mawa, and lot more.
Details: 28th February | Great Guns Social, 96 Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 0EF | £38.50
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: 29th February | Secret Whitechapel Location | £36.90
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: Until 7th March | Crispin, Pavilion on The Corner, White’s Row, E1 7NF
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
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 February | 107 Lower Clapton Rd, E5 0NP
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
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. Various Sanrio characters will be immortalised in all manner of poke, brunch bowls, ramen, and doughnuts. And it’s exactly as charmingly twee as you’d imagine.
Details: Throughout February | 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 February | 28 Warren St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 5ND
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 February | London Fields Brewery, 365-366 Warburton Street, E8 3RR
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
Chocolate Cocktail Club
If you like chocolate, cocktails, and clubs, then you’ll probably like it when the three intersect: The Chocolate Cocktail Club is here to serve you coco-laced booze until the end of April.
Details: 31st January – April 25th | 96 Leather Lane, EC1N 7TX | £9
In vino, veritas – “In wine, truth”.
The people at Vinery are taking that old adage a little further with their honesty bar pop up. It’s happening on Valentine’s Day, and the idea is that you drink as much as you like from their bar, then pay for whatever you had on the way out. So long as you remember the veritas in your vino.
Details: 14th February | Benk + Bo, 4-6 Gravel Lane, E1 7AW | £8.68
The Espresso Martini Society
The Espresso Martini Society is back for Valentine’s Day. They’ve got an all-new line-up on the menu, too. Alongside the original recipe classic, you’ll also get a minty After Eight; a Strawberry Dream; Coco Loco and ‘the hot one’.
Oh, and it’s all you can drink.
Details: 14th & 15th February | Ko Coffee, 258 Pentonville Road, N1 9JY | £25
The Clumsies at Madison
Despite their name, The Clumsies do consistently well in the World’s Best Bars list each year, currently ranking at #6. And this month, co-founder Vasilis Kyritsis will be hopping over from Athens to pop up behind the bar at rooftop spot Madison. He’ll be serving from a menu of five classic Clumsies cocktails, from the Aegean Negroni (with diktamus, a wild Cretan plant) to the New Fashioned (with salted caramel and citrus bitters).
Details: 24th-28th February | Madison, One New Change, EC4M 9AF | £12 a pop
Hot Gin Roof
Hot Gin Roof is 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: Until 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 February | 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 February | 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 February | 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 February | Mac & Wild City, 9a Devonshire Square, EC2M 4YN | £40
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