London Pop Up Bars: September 2019

By Matthew Pearson

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"][/caption]

The Grid

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"][/caption]

Vinery London

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"][/caption]

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 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.

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North London Attractions

North London Attractions

If you're looking for the best attractions in North London, check out our picks and prepare for a stellar day out! Including: What is North London known for? Is North London a good area? Is North London or South London better? North London Attractions What is North London known for? North London is one of the city's hippest areas, with tonnes of places to eat, drink, and undertake interesting experiences. Some of North London's most well-known neighborhoods include Camden and its world-renowned market, which draws thousands of people every week; Angel, with its gentrified hangouts and canal walks; and Highgate, with its famed cemetery and affluent housing. Is North London a good area? North London is a great place to live in, stay at, or visit for several reasons. Bars, restaurants, and experiences are usually cheaper than in Central while providing an equal amount of fun. Additionally, the area boasts superb public transportation options, with most neighborhoods conveniently connected to the tube and Overground services. So, when you need to head to another side of the city, you can do so with relative ease. Is North London or South London better? The North/South question is one that enrages Londoners on both sides of the Thames. Enrages might be too strong a word, but it's certainly a debate that permeates both ends. Each will insist on their own superiority, but what do we think? Well, both have pros and cons. South has quite a few more green spaces for your strolls, runs, and lounges. North has better travel connections to Central and other parts of the London. Experience-wise, we'd say it's 50:50, so you can't really make a wrong choice! North London Attractions: London Zoo ZSL London Zoo is the city's best - and only - zoo. Home to an impressive array of over 750 animal species, it features the most extensive collection in the UK. Fans of creepy crawlies will love the BUGS exhibit Venture In with the Spiders, where you can walk and talk with spiders - though they may not respond. For the more squeamish among you, instead head to Penguin Beach to see the little marvels up close, or admire the elegance of giraffes in the African habitat. The Gorilla Kingdom offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of western lowland gorillas native to the African rainforest. Even little adventurers are catered to, thanks to the Animal Adventure area - an immersive animal experience designed by children, featuring meerkats, llamas, and aardvarks. North London Attractions: Emirates Stadium Tour Football fans, rejoice! You don't get one, but two stadium tours to enjoy in North London! The first is at the Emirates Stadium, home to Arsenal. Arguably London's most successful football club, a tour of the Emirates features plenty of silverware. Your tour, typically led by a club legend, will take you through the players' entrance, directors box, diamond club area, home changing room, the Tunnel and pitch-side, home dugout, Flash Interview Rooms, Press Conference Room, and Media Lounge. If you've ever wondered what the weekly life of a footballer feels like, this is a crash course of an experience! Throughout, you'll see never-seen-before footage, player recounts of famous matchdays, and finish the whole affair with a set of Arsenal headphones and a certificate primed for framing. Nice. North London Attractions: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Tour The second football tour on this list is at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, home of Tottenham Hotspur. While they may not boast the prestige and trophy cabinet of their North London neighbours, they can boast one of the most state-of-the-art football stadiums on the planet. Having opened its gates back in 2021, this billion-dollar stadium plays host to football matches, NFL games, and even live concerts. But football fans are eating good, thanks to the stadium tour. You'll explore interactive exhibits detailing the club's history, the most famous faces that have put on the shirt, and even get to walk through the players' tunnel onto the retractable pitch. North London Attractions: Warner Bros Studio Tour The books and films may have finished long ago, but Harry Potter fever is still alive and well in North London! So, why not head to Warner Bros Studio in Watford and check out The Making of Harry Potter tour? Inside, you'll explore you'll the movie studios and sets that became the backbone of the 'Harry Potter' film franchise. When the crew wasn't on location, these studios in Leavesden served as the creative hub for most of the iconic scenes. Thanks to the undying ardor of Potter enthusiasts, Warner Bros opted to preserve the sets and expand the studios, ensuring other films could be produced without disruption. For fans, it's a dream come true. You can wander through iconic locations like the Great Hall at Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and Platform 93⁄4 with the gleaming Hogwarts Express. Cinematic aficionados will relish the opportunity to explore behind-the-scenes wizardry, delving into special effects, animatronics, and the methods that brought magical characters to life. North London Attractions: Hampstead Heath Hampstead Heath offers a refreshing contrast to the manicured landscapes of London. Stretching over 791 acres from Hampstead to Highgate, it encompasses woodlands, playing fields, swimming ponds, and meadows. In keeping with its wilder side, instead of lawnmowers, the local council uses sheep to trim up the grass. And yes, you can go hang out with them. Parliament Hill's soaring heights entice kite-fliers on windy days, and the Hampstead Ponds offer a popular spot for a summer dip. All in all, a grand day out! North London Attractions: Blackhorse Beer Mile Don't worry, sud-lovers, we've got you covered too. The Blackhorse Beer Mile isn't so much an attraction but more of an undertaking. Encompassing eight taprooms along Blackhorse Road, it's the perfect remedy to this unfair game we call life. Along this delightful route, you'll encounter a lineup of exceptional breweries, from the adventurous Wild Card to the unique creations of Signature Brew. Savor delectable roasts at Big Penny Social and indulge in top-notch cuisine at Auld Hag's Exale Brewery pop-up. As for weekend entertainment, the options are as diverse as the brews. Enjoy live music, immersive film screenings, DJ sets, and even speed-dating nights that promise an all-around good time. But those were just some of the attractions in North London. If you want to see everything the city has to offer - and save money while doing it - grab a London Pass!
Dom Bewley

London Neighbourhoods: Things to do in South Kensington

Here's some things to do in South Kensington, a London neighbourhood filled with cultural delights. South Kensington is renowned for being one of the poshest areas of London, with stunning architectural sights like the Natural History Museum adding a distinct cultural flavour to the neighbourhood. Referred to fondly as South Ken by locals, it's filled with fantastic restaurants, internationally renowned museums and greenery with two gigantic parks nearby. There's loads to see and do in this rich corner of London - if you're taking the Hop on Hop off London Bus tour, then it's worth stepping off at Kensington Gardens for these great things to do in South Kensington. Image via The Roof Gardens facebook Where to Eat The Roof Gardens Located a little further afield, The Roof Gardens and Babylon in Kensington is one of London's best kept secrets. These lush rooftop gardens are split into three separate areas (English Woodland, Spanish and Tudor) and are free to roam around in, perfect for those looking for respite from the busy London streets. After you've finished soaking in the greenery, head to their restaurant and bar Babylon for a bite to eat with a view over the London skyline. Daquise For a taste of Eastern European cooking, head to Daquise for hearty Polish meals that bring to mind all the comforts of home. As one of the oldest Polish restaurants in the capital, it has a chequered history serving diners from all walks of life including Soviet spy Christine Keeler and the ousted Polish president Edward Raczynski. What to Do Royal Albert Hall Attracting big acts from all over the world, a night at Royal Albert Hall is an unforgettable one regardless of who you're watching. From Adele to Cirque de Soleil, this beautifully designed theatre is a versatile one and has a diverse programme worth keeping an eye on. For a spine tingling experience that will redefine the way you watch movies, try their Films with Live Orchestra series where movies like Harry Potter, Fantasia and Jurassic Park have had their award winning soundtracks brought to life. Science Museum Be filled with childlike wonder again at the British Science Museum, where you'll be able to discover everything from the inner workings of clockmaking to Einstein's theory of relativity. With gigantic displays, carefully considered educational exhibits and interactive experiments for budding scientists to play with, it's worth making some time for the museum's IMAX theatre. Don't go in expecting Hollywood's biggest blockbusters to be on the programme list, this cinema only shows gorgeous documentaries that will take you from the depths of the ocean to the fringes of the universe. V&A While the Tate Modern and the National Portrait Gallery may steal the show, the V&A is a fantastic gallery for art lovers obsessed with design. Spanning fashion, architecture, textiles and more traditional art forms like painting and ceramics, the V&A collects some of the most inspirational pieces in the world with over 2.3 million objects in their permanent collection. Keep an eye out for their temporary exhibitions as they're worth a visit - the 2017 programme features Pink Floyd- and Balenciaga-centric collections. Natural History Museum Easily recognisable by its grand facade, the Natural History Museum is one of the most stunning structures in South Kensington and also one of its best cultural sites. With numerous themed exhibits covering zoology, paleontology, botany, entomology and more, it's easy to spend hours exploring its millions of species and exhibits. The best thing? It's all free.
Megan Hills

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