London Pop Up Bars: September 2019
We all know what we're here for, so let’s head straight into our list of this month's top London pop up bars. There are some immersive cocktail nights, some exclusive boozy evening experiences and more puzzles than you’d expect to be solving on a night out in the capital. Many of these places are only open this month, or are closing before September’s up. So there’s no time to waste...
- The Green Vic
- The Mind Palace: The Case of the Poisoned Chalice
- The Grid
- Vinery London
- Press for Gin
The Green Vic
The Green Vic opened in Shoreditch this June with a simple aim: to be the ‘Most Ethical Pub in the World’. To be honest, we haven’t conducted the necessary statistical analysis in order to work out if this is true or not. But it’s true to say that, since it opened, The Green Vic has been showing the rest of London what a progressive pub looks like. It's been one of the summer's most successful London pop up bars. And it hasn’t put a foot wrong in its pursuit of the ‘Most Ethical’ title. One day we’ll do the analysis. But for now, get down there. It’s closing this month. Their drinks support 40 different charities, their suppliers are all zero-waste, many of their staff come from disadvantaged backgrounds, they hold regular charity quiz nights and their food is all plant-based, indulgent and responsibly sourced, made by vegan chefs The Green Grill. And their landlord isn’t a Butcher. Their pop up stay at their Great Eastern Street location is ending on September 20th. They’ll surely find a new home. But get down to the original before they move on.
The Mind Palace: The Case of the Poisoned Chalice
Sipping cocktails and attempting to identify what’s in them without looking at the menu again and again can seem a little like detective work. “Mmm, I’m really getting the Campari.” “Yes, very bold flavour isn’t it.” “And the cherry.” “What cherry?” “Just a bit of cherry.” “But there’s no cherry in it, sir - ” “I didn’t say there was any cherry in it. I just meant there was a hint of cherry. IT WAS JUST A HINT.” The people behind escape room Sherlock: The Game is Now have come up with an immersive cocktail experience that turns cocktail ingredient detecting on its head. You’ve got to crack three cases to find all the ingredients for your cocktail. But it won’t be easy: Sebastian Moran, Moriarty’s right-hand man has brought you here to The Mind Palace members bar to test you. His devious mind stands between you and the perfect cocktail. His devious mind and the £25 ticket price. The bartenders, the lighting, the themed drinks, the decor take you far, far away from the Shepherd’s Bush shopping centre in which The Mind Palace is located. The BBC show's creators and writers are on board, so this is the real deal. [caption id="attachment_3481" align="alignnone" width="810"]
The scariest episode of Black Mirror is the one set in a dystopian near-future London where a young man calls his friend to ask if he’s up for a couple of quiet pints at a pub equidistant between both their homes. The friend says he’d love but he’s going to a word-of-mouth pop-up immersive cocktail experience where all the bar staff are dressed like chimpanzees, they only have backwards ABBA B-sides on the jukebox and the drinks are all derived from the private parts of the poison dart frog. The friend says he’s welcome to join, though. Our hero says thanks but no thanks, and heads out to his local alone. But the place seems shut. He tries the door. It opens. A foot appears from a box by the door. It belongs to a hidden contortionist. In the well of the sole of the foot is a small yellowish cube. Our hero asks what it is. From the box, comes the muffled reply of the contortionist: “It’s reindeer cheese.” He turns it down. The foot becomes cross and the reindeer cheese bursts into flames. The young man looks across at the bar, but it isn’t there. In its place is a stage where a magician is sawing something in half. The crowd whoops at the action on stage, although many are blindfolded. A 1920s jazz band play in the corner. They are all headless. The magician points to our hero. A cocktail appears in the young man’s hand. He sips it. The cocktail tastes...fine. 20 actors, all dressed up like gobby schoolchildren point and laugh at him. Our hero leaves screaming and buys four Grolsch from a Nisa. Black Mirror is a very prescient show. But the truth is, there’s a time and a place for immersive cocktail experiences, just as there’s a time and a place for quiet pints with a quiet friend on a quiet Wednesday night. And fans of Black Mirror should know that the time is Tuesday to Saturday, each week until November, and the place is the Bankside Arches in Southwark.The TV-loving team behind Breaking Bad-themed ABQ have come up with The Grid, an immersive puzzle/cocktail evening of high-stakes entertainment. With nods to Brookerian near-future dystopias, the plot of the evening centres on the evil machinations of an AI start up called Neosight. So you, cocktail in hand, have to save the day. As far as London pop up bars go, this is as bleak and as much of a blast as you’re going to find. Good luck. [caption id="attachment_3483" align="alignnone" width="640"]
A Berlin-style honesty wine bar, you say? The chance for wine-based calculation jiggery-pokery presents itself. But, at places like Vinery London, people tend to be more honest than they are in everyday life. Of course, it’s not really in the spirit of the place to snaffle your own weight in whites and reds and leave only a couple of quid lighter. Wine drunkenness makes you honest. Maybe a little too honest. So it’s £7.50 to get into this pop-up honesty wine bar, and you can pay whatever you feel the wine you’ve consumed was worth. It's a popular event, so buy your tickets in advance. Then head down to Benk + BO in Spitalfields on Friday, September 13th. [caption id="attachment_3482" align="alignnone" width="750"]
Press for Gin
Brockmans Gin are back in London this month with their superb Press for Gin evening. Your ticket gets you four bespoke cocktails paired with gin-infused nibbles and small plates. But the best thing is...you press a button and gin appears. If I had a such a button in my house, I would be happier, then sadder, then wishing I’d used my final wish on something a little more wholesome. But as far as nights out go, it’s just what you want, isn’t it? Brockman’s will be serving up cocktails, dishing out prizes and putting on a show at 26 Leake Street between September 9th and 11th. Tickets are going fast, so get yours ASAP. So that's our pick of London pop up bars this month. But do please let us know if you have any other suggestions for September or beyond in the comments below. And, if you're looking for more September plans, there are some more suggestions for things to do this month in our article about late summer London goings on.