It’s easy to think of Trafalgar Square as an area reserved for tourists and pigeons but near the museums and art galleries is The Trafalgar Hotel which hides the beautiful Vista Bar, a stunning open air rooftop bar with views of the Square, Big Ben, London Eye and the Thames.
As central London’s largest rooftop bar, if you’re for looking for somewhere a bit special - perhaps for a date or celebration – just take the lift up to the sixth floor and stop by for a drink. Fitting in with the impressive surroundings is a drinks menu which of course features champagne and cocktails (though the usual bar drinks are all available). My favourite was the Gin Mary, a Bloody Mary given an update with bacon (!) infused gin. It gives it an extra kick that somehow works and makes you wonder why more drinks don’t have bacon added to them.
It’s certainly not the cheapest bar in the capital but considering the location it is the perfect place if you’re looking for something special and areas can be hired making it great for a birthday celebration. As for food, the menu is a relaxed mix of nibbly bits, salads and snacks perfect for picking and even includes caviar if you really want to go all out.
Despite the chilly winter months ahead, Vista plans to cover the roof and put on extra heating for comfort, so it’ll be worth the visit – just note it gets busy and is often used for private events – plus there’s a £5 entry charge after 4pm, though they do donate a £1 to charity. (Words: Lucy Palmer)
Already recognised as a centre for creativity and new trends, East London has another addition to its scene. Netil House provides a space for a meeting of creative minds, to discover inspiration and a great place for a drink. A home to 94 creative studios plus an events space, Netil House allows everyone from designers, photographers, music producers, film makers and more to meet, work together and most importantly socialise together.
Visit the Platform Cafe, Bar & Terrace for its Persian-inspired menu or just a drink while checking out the view of London through its massive windows. With so many events constantly taking place including exhibitions, book launches, film screenings, comedy nights, themed-supper clubs, music showcases and more, you’re in for a night that will always be memorable and unique.
You can also get away from the usual crowded London cinemas and visit their roof top cinema where you can snuggle under a blanket and watch a film under the night sky. Check out Prince’s epic rock drama Purple Rain on October 5th.
Finally, every Saturday and Sunday, visit Netil market for stalls selling everything including vintage home wares, jewellery designers, illustrations, original artwork, vintage clothing, niche accessories and gorgeous food stalls.
TCé picks: A selection of things to do and places to go - August 2012
Oh August - how did you get here so soon? Here’s to the last of the holiday months in the capital, which promises some very cool new nights Â and that massive event that goes down in West London over the bank holiday weekend that always has the best jerk chicken…
The Love Below at Trailer Happiness, August 5thÂ - There’s a new monthly Sunday lounge coming to Notting Hill for those cool Londoners who like their music hip, chilled and classic. It’s calledÂ The Love BelowÂ (and if you remember anything about its namesake album by Andre 3000, you’ll know you want to be here).
Street Photography Workshop, August 12thÂ - Our sister siteÂ The Culture Club Photography WorkshopsÂ wants to take you on a journey around Shoreditch where your photography skills will go up a few notches making you the envy of all your mates. One to book.
Â Arts & Culture
Bush Bazaar, Bush Theatre, until August 18th- Described as a “90 minute fantastical adventure” this pop-up theatre event brings together some of the capital’s most daring performers to perform a collection of shows that sound pretty intriguing…
Midnight Run, August 18th - Poet Inua Ellams leads a creative, after-hours expedition around London to experience the capital in a unique way. Â There’s food, games and “experiments” - and no running required - so Â just try to hold out until 6am!
Guilty Pleasures Cinema Party, August 24th and 25th - Â This one’s for all the Madonna lovers out there, as the Troxy Cinema hosts a par-tay to top all partays, featuring a screening of Desperately Seeking Susan. Â It’ll be a crazy, colourful Â throwback to the 80s with DJs, dancers and bands (and we LOVE that).
Eat & Drink
Flat Iron pop-up steak and cocktail restaurant - this new foodie spot actually launched a few weeks back, but runs for six weeks only until August 28th (so thought it’d be worth a visit this month). Â These guys are serving up some serious slabs of meat, so those with carnivorous tendencies should head to The Owl and Pussycat pub, pronto (Tuesday - Saturday, 6pm-10pm)
Notting Hill Carnival, August 26th and 27th- there’s dozens of floats, good food and tunes, happy people (although a little overpacked - but meh); it’s Europe’s largest street festival and a brilliant way to spend the bank holiday weekend. See you there?
I am… a Poet/Uni student studying Literature and Creative Writing. I moved to London in 2000 when I was about nine, from Zimbabwe. I’d holidayed in London before, but adopting my own postcode was a rather different experience. I’d found her, London personified, eclectic in her music and tastes, energetic and modern. She still is. Random memory: I remember being excited when I first met someone of Jamaican origin. Lol at the novelty.
The area in London I call home is… North London. Enfield, if I’m being specific. Somewhere people only seem to know about now because of the riots. Is it ironic that that’s where I feel safest? Who knows. My friends love to make jibes about how ‘technically’ I’m not a Londoner because the closest Underground station from EN1 is a bit of a bus ride away. It’s a red double decker bus, and I have an 0208 phone number, so in my eyes I make the cut.
I’ve got to have a meal at…Caribbean Scene. It’s a lovely Caribbean Restaurant that boasts a serious vegetarian menu, not that they don’t serve meat, they do, but being a vegetarian my eyes tend to only read things with a green (v) next to it. There are a few in London but I like the one by the Royal Victoria Dock because I have a thing for water. The ambience at the spot is amazing, definitely worth a Google if you won’t take my word for it. A Google, then a visit.
I tend to get my threads from… the High Street. I have a bit of a laissez-faire approach when it comes to my wardrobe. Unless I have a show and I have to leave the house on a specific mission to buy a specific type of outfit, I’ll usually be gallivanting about somewhere, as one does, spot something in a display window, investigate and end up blowing a week’s pay. On a day to day basis, the ensembles I leave my house in are usually unintentional, be that in brilliance or faux pas.
To enjoy London’s nightlife, you should… definitely have an online presence. They are so many things going on in London, it can get hard to keep track. This is especially the case when it comes to niche kinda events. Websites like the Cultural Exposé amongst others, are pretty handy when you’re looking for a different kind of night out. Tip 2: Plan your route home ahead of time. Nothing as joy killing as watching your last bus pull away from the station after a good night out, or maybe that’s just for Enfieldians.
If I was mayor, I would… shut down all the shops on Saturday. Hidden Adventist Agenda? No, but really, as much as I love the hustle and bustle of London, I do think it’d be lovely if the city was to ‘pause’ once in a while, so its workaholic citizens could enjoy the beauty of the city’s natural spots and have un-timed conversation with the city’s mixed multitude.
My favourite spot to check out art is… London’s walls, stalls, floors, trains even. I really like graffiti. It serves as the unadulterated voice of the masses, (till the council clean it up). My favourite piece is a pseudo Andy Warhol pop up piece of a girl in Tottenham. Because of where it is, it can only be seen from the upper deck of a bus. There’s a little voice in my head that shouts ‘exclusive’ every time I do get to see it.
I’d kindly tell a tourist to… keep their receipts so they can claim tax back at the airport when they are leaving. Nothing finishes a holiday like payment on exit. That, and keep to the left when walking, and, right on the escalators if they are standing. Been said before but, some people are repeat offenders.
The things I miss when I leave London are… my mommy… like for real. TFL (my missing it being the love part of the love/hate feelings I have towards it), the variety of food available, delivery and in store, the spoken word poetry scene, oh and black hair shops. Really and truly someone should start delivering black hair products etc. to those outside major cities. Something for the people.
My soundtrack to London would be…
Tinashe - Mr Presumption: I really like this song and think it has a particularly English feel to it. A Zimbabwean Londoner, kinda like me. :) The beauties of globalisation.
Calvin Harris - Flashback: An oldy but a goody. There’s almost a dichotomy between the deep lyrics of the song and the monotony of the house beat.
Dean Atta’s - Revolution Awaiting Warriors: It’s not actually a song but if I were to make a soundtrack to London it’d definitely be on it. The piece speaks for itself in its brilliance and beauty. It’s one of if not thee most inspiring poem I can ever recall hearing.
Labrinth - Earthquake: It has a really refreshed old school sound to it, methinks. I’m forever rewinding the bit with the trumpets at Buckingham Palace. Cheesy but I love it.
I am… a professional dancer, actress and a model loving the hotness of the bikram and living the life in the East side of London in Hackney. Moved here from Finland 4 years ago.
The area in London I call home is… Hackney. After few years in Camden we found our home in East. Got a large space full of little swings and things n hula hoops just off Kingsland road overlooking the canal. Our lovely large windows guarantee that we will need lots of hot chocolate to survive over the winter. I feel like I’m at home when I’m walking down the streets and get a chance to catch few familiar smiles and heys on my way. I love the spontaneous coffee catch ups and surprise long night outings after exhibition openings. My ‘home area’ seems to be within walking (cycling) distance. I rarely need to travel further than that to find the action.
I’ve got to have a meal at… The Breakfast Club. You can’t go wrong with the number 3 wrap. Sometimes during the week I gotta grab the tastiest street food from the Whitecross Street Market. In the evenings the pop up restaurants got something new to offer and of course the there is all these Vietnamese places on Kingsland road.
I tend to get my threads (clothes) from… here and there. Yesterday I did some great fabric founds from the Cloth House in Soho. I love to check the treats of Dover Street Market and always pop into the Start in Shoreditch just cause they simply got the loveliest staff there. Sample sales and short trips abroad always rule and friends wardrobes are great too! Just gotta keep your ears and eyes open.
To enjoy London’s nightlife, you should… keep your ears and eyes open (again). Be with great company, look for the gallery openings and exhibitions and let the night lead your way. House parties is the way…. to keep going til the next day ;)
If I was mayor, I would… make the streets more cyclist friendly and fix the pot holes on the roads.
My favourite spot to check out art is… isn’t art everywhere? That’s why London’s so great, there’s always something going on for everyone. It’s all out there, you just gotta go and get yours. When it comes to performing arts, War Horse at the New London Theatre is one not to miss!
I’d kindly tell a tourist to… keep on running.
The things I miss when I leave London are… friends and the chances the city gives to you. The action. Surprises around the corner.
My soundtrack to London would be (name roughly 3 songs and what makes them so interesting)
I am a… Londonite photographer, I love everything photo-related and strive to keep my work fresh. I cover events from Burlesque nights and underground film screenings to weddings and exhibition openings. I have lived in London for six years now and feel that the city really inspires me in work and play. Every day is different and I never stop discovering here. I think it might be love.
The area in London I call home is… right on the river in Battersea, which is awesome. I haven’t been here that long but have recently stumbled on lots of little thrift shops and quirky places off the beaten track. My favorite spot to pass the time is Battersea Village Square; it’s a micro hub of world cuisine with Italian, Indian, Thai, Lebanese and seafood restaurants. There is always something going on there, whether is be a wacky jazz trio playing or an outdoor zumba class - it’s all going down in the square! I grew up on a farm but I was never terribly keen on overdosing on fresh air and frankly I find wellington boots ugly and incredibly uncomfortable, so like dear Dick Wittington (and many others before me) I packed my bags and journeyed to the Big Smoke to seek my fortune. Whilst on arrival I was initially disappointed to find the streets were not all paved with gold, I have found that there are more valuable hidden treasures around the city!
I’ve got to have a meal at…Borough Market. It is certainly up there - although I am not sure you would call it a ‘meal’ more of a graze / gorge of all the amazing artesian foods they have. Places with offers on are also a winner for me for a couple of reasons – firstly they get you out of the rut of going to the same places so it’s a bit of a journey of discovery, and secondly I unashamedly love the smug feeling of getting a good deal!
I tend to get my threads (clothes) from… shops. Especially ones that sell very beautiful and incredibly uncomfortable shoes, sadly I’m drawn to them like a moth to a flame… Will I ever learn?
To enjoy London’s nightlife, you should… expect the unexpected! I always go out with an open mind and try to find out what’s going on before hand. I am really lucky in my line of work that I get to hear about, and photograph, lots of really cool things that happen around London. My main tip is to choose an area and stick with it. It’s a belief shared by Londoners that everywhere is an hour away - whether you are going a couple of stops on the bus or tubing across the zones it always takes an hour!
If I was mayor, I would… crack the whip and get my fellow cyclists fully clad in neon and helmets and supply lots of flashing lights. I love, love, love my trusty stead and couldn’t be in London without it – it’s pretty much the only way I get around. But I have been knocked off a couple of times, it’s not fun…
My favourite spot to check out art is… always changing. But ultimately it’s actually my flat as it’s covered in art I adore, and lots of my own photos – it’s like a private gallery! Having worked in the art world and a keen interest in photography and beautiful things, I’m signed up to various galleries so often visit new shows and pop up exhibitions whether they be on Cork Street or private homes. I am lucky enough to photograph for the Tate Museums so I never miss their exhibitions. I get a real rush from going to auctions and love seeing what the trends are and who is buying.
I’d kindly tell a tourist to… Get out of Leicester Square and Covent Garden and try something new, there is a lot more to London then chain restaurants and people handing out flyers, I promise! Also the number 11 bus is a really good route – you get to see a lot of the sights.
The things I miss when I leave London are… hmm… it’s far easier to talk about the things I would NOT miss about London. One is the dodgy paving stones that when trodden on in the rain submerges your feet in water to your ankles. Another is the bus drivers who see you running and waving frantically but then pull away at the last second leaving you in a puff of bus smoke.
My soundtrack to London would be:
Airborne Toxic – “Sometime Around Midnight” During the day the city is so hectic you barely have time to think, I find my quiet times are always at night. To me this song expresses that as it’s all about switching off and reassessing your feelings and thoughts without the white noise.
The XX – “Intro”A dear friend of mine got married in a photographic studio in east London and this is what accompanied her entrance. When the music started the atmosphere was electric everyone had goosebumps. The song wasn’t out there in the mainstream at that point and the words I would use describe to London also apply to this beautiful piece of music. Epic, urban, hypnotic, fresh and most of all… Love.
Cash Machine – “Hard Fi” This was released around the time I moved to London and I listened to it over and over and over again, it was kind of an anthem for me at that time and has a great beat for stomping around getting to know the city.
Of all the many and wonderful afternoon teas in London, The Savoy is easily one of the best. A glamorous, fairytale setting gives any outing here a grand feel, while the attentive service and astonishingly good petit fours complete the experience. www.fairmont.com (Strand, London WC2R 0EU, Closest tube: Covent Garden)
Staff at TeaSmith are experts in the art of brewing tea, using traditional Asian techniques to ensure you have the perfect brew. Sit up at the long bar and watch the masters at work; or else browse the shopâs good range of loose leaf teas and tea paraphernalia. www.teasmith.co.uk (6 Lamb Street, London E1 6EA, Closest tube: Shoreditch High Street)
Austrian classics are served with aplomb at the stylish Kipferl. The apricot-heavy Sachertorte is a must, especially washed-down with a pot of tea by Austrian supplier Sonnentor. www.kipferl.co.uk (20 Camden Passage, London N1 8ED, Closest tube: Angel)
Vegans will delight at Ms Cupcake and her dedication to creating cakes that everyone can enjoy. Her generously iced vegan cakes come in a range of bonkers flavours, from choc-mint to Bakewell tart. www.mscupcake.co.uk (408 Coldhabour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8LF, Closest tube: Brixton)
Leave your tips and win: tickets to see Submotion Orchestra on October 31st!
The Cultural Exposé loves to discover what’s happening the Londontown – but who better to recommend things to do in the capital than the people living in the city? So starting monthly from this week, you’ll have a chance to win a cool prize by simply suggesting something to do and see in the capital!
To enter the competition, simply leave a tip on in the comments section below (with a reason for your suggestion) for your FAVOURITE MUSIC VENUES IN LONDON – and a winner will be chosen at random!
Submotion Orchestra have rapidly built up a reputation as one of the most interesting and original projects emerging from the UK today. Drawing upon dubstep, soul, ambient electronica, jazz and dub, their unique music is at once delicate and heavy, spacious and dense, highly atmospheric but firmly rooted. Earth-shaking bass and drums combine with lush keyboard and trumpet textures to create the perfect bed for the fragile beauty of Ruby Wood’s vocals, and the celestial effects of sound designer Ruckspin.
Terms and conditions
1) You must be 18 or over to enter this competition.
2) You can enter as many tips of you like (well, technically no more than 3!)
3) The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
4) The competition ends on October 26th and the winner will be announced on October 27th!
Somewhere you should go… The Book Club’s Birthweek celebrations
In just two short years, The Book Club in Shoreditch has become one of the best-known alternative nightspots in East London. With a colourful and creative calendar of events incorporating arts and craft, talks, film screenings, DJs and dance classes, its quirky manifesto of âdrinking and thinkingâ has proved a big hit with the East End’s arty hipsters.
We love it too, so we thought it best to let you know that from the October 17th to the 23rd, âthe Queen of Hoxtonâs younger sisterâ will be celebrating its birthday in style with a weeklong calendar of activities, including some old favourites.
Draw the seven deadly sins at a lifedrawing session with a twist, battle others at ping pong, learn about the history of perfume at Scratch + SniffÂ or create a winning volcanic explosion at Mondayâs Science Fair. But if that all sounds a bit too much like hard work, just come for a boogie and a slice of birthday cake on the Friday or Saturday to the sounds of resident DJ Filthy Duke plus special guests.
Expect streamers, party poppers, happy young people and frivolous fun times - Happy birthday Book Club! Â (Words: Aoife Moriarty)Â