Monday, September 26, 2011

Cocktail crawl, Saturday 24th September

I met my friend Alison at her hotel room where we commenced the beginning of a two week period of festivities, celebrating that we will get copious amounts of talking done face to face (a rarity for us as she lives in the States). To get us in the mood I brought with me a bag of goodies: cheese straws, two toffee apple cupcakes from Hummingbird (the best place for cupcakes), a bottle of Prosecco and some peach puree for making bellinis. It lent the afternoon quite a decadent feel. We prettied ourselves up and finished off the last of the peach puree with some Patron tequila Alison happened to stuff her boots with. Not the best ‘cocktail’ in the world, but we’re nothing if not stoic when it comes to imbibing alcohol.

We were ready to embark on our cocktail crawl and headed across town to the first destination.

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town

This way to the Thrills
I’m now somewhat torn here because part of the appeal about going to this place is it has this one gimmick, which makes it feel like a properly hidden away illicit drinking den. I already knew what this gimmick was, and my friend didn’t. I did appreciate it, but I could see the sheer delight on her face when the trick up their sleeve was revealed and I wouldn’t want to rob anyone of that experience. So, let’s just say, the entrance isn’t what you think. Once you have been granted access, a neon sign kindly points you in the right direction for the ‘Thrills’. We got there at about 7:30, an hour later than planned and we had a choice of two seating areas – by the bar or at a little table. We took the bar option. Experience has taught us to be as close to the people serving you alcohol as possible, and also that bartenders are often hot, so why not sit where you can look at them more easily. We ordered the chilli and lemongrass margarita. It was elegantly served in the correct glasses, with a thin strip of lemongrass threaded through a slice of chilli as garnish. It was pleasantly warm and a perfectly drinkable drink. Time ticked away quickly and we realised we had to hot foot it to the next place if we wanted to keep to schedule. Just as we were finishing up, the barkeep was putting together another cocktail, when all of a sudden, the raspberry concoction was all over the bar, not in its glass where it should be. I managed to move my bag out the way and partially my body but the drink still managed to get my leg and part of my skirt. I went to the bathroom to clean it up while Alison settled the bill. I came back and asked if we’d been given any compensation but apart from a genuine apology, we didn’t manage to get any freebies out of it. That’s a black mark in my opinion.

Square Meal

The Whistling Shop

So, it was now 8:30. We had 9:00 reservations at Callooh Callay, but the original plan was to go to the Whistling Shop before that. We debated about whether we could really squeeze it in, and rather rashly, decided we could and we would. In all honesty, we couldn’t, but we did it anyway. We walked up to Worship Street, walking much further up and farther away from the populated area than I was expecting. We walked in and I instantly regretted having spent so long in Scaredy Cat Town and missing out on being able to make the most of this place. It was all dark wood and tea lights, and even though it didn’t have a hidden entrance, walking inside made you feel like you were entering some tucked away, little known place. We told the guy who greeted us that we were on a tight schedule and needed to get a drink as quickly as possible. They asked us why the rush and when we told them, agreed that we really shouldn’t miss out on those reservations and were fully behind getting us served and out again as quickly as possible. The cocktail list sounded amazing. They take a ‘scientific’ approach to cocktailing making, apparently experimenting with different flavour combinations in their laboratory. Many of the cocktails include ingredients like “WS2 exhaustion tonic”, which are mixtures of their own invention and require a glossary at the back of the menu to figure out what they are. We wanted to make as much of the choices available as we could, so we ordered different drinks to each other - House Gin Fizz and the Panacea.

House Gin Fizz: Tanqueray gin, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, vanilla salt, orange bitters, soda
Panacea: Compass Box whisky, honey and lavender shrub, lemon juice, sage dust.

Yes, sage dust.

Both were enjoyable to drink and had an interesting taste, with a creamy topping, but I think Alison and I preferred the Panacea, probably because it was so unlike any other drink we’d had before. The gin fizz was nice (and very quaffable once we realised we’d gone past our imposed 10 minute time limit) but it was just a gin fizz. Nothing as cool as sage dust in it. The cocktails backed up my instinctive reaction that we should have spent more time here. The downside is that the drinks are quite pricey, and the place was eerily empty. There was one other group in there, but otherwise the place was dead. I assume this is because it feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere, even though Shoreditch is only a few streets away.

Square Meal

Callooh Callay

We raced out of there and into the night again. In totally the wrong direction. We came out onto a street I had hoped was going to be either Bishopsgate or Great Eastern and was in fact Moorgate. My sense of direction is obliterated once I drink and Alison doesn’t know the area. A taxi came by and we made the executive decision to get in it. We told him the street name and the venue. It was 9:05. He hadn’t heard of Callooh Callay but he did know the street. Two minutes later, he pulled over, stopped the clock and confessed he couldn’t remember how to get there. 30 seconds later and he’d dredged his memory and we were on our way again.

Cassette tapes are used as wallpaper
We made it at about 9:15. We weren’t too drunk by this point and had been sensible enough to call when we knew we were going to be late and tell them we were lost but on our way. Got to the door and presented ourselves to the doorman. Our names weren’t on the list. I think you’ll agree that it was all going really well by this point. However, I wasn’t too worried. I had email confirmation of our reservations and they had called me the day before to confirm (always a nice touch and something that should happen more often in this country) and I’d spoken to someone who seemed to be expecting us just 10 minutes earlier on the phone. Soon enough, the manager came out and let us in. He also complimented me on my outfit, so it more than made up for the few minutes’ wait at the door. We were then led through the throng and indeed through the looking glass (or rather, fake wardrobe) to the Jub Jub bar at the back, only available for those with reservations.  We had many, many cocktails, and I really can’t remember what on earth they were. The menu also changes regularly so I can’t even look it up to remind myself. It had lots of nice, quirky touches, like the cocktail list being on a comic strip, and having reservations meant we were waited on at the table instead of going to the bar, which makes such a nice change when you’re out drinking. We had pre-ordered food, which arrived about 15 minutes after we did. We ate mini brie quiches, goat’s cheese bruschetta, lime, chilli and ginger crab spoons and some tarragon salted, buttery popcorn. All absolutely delicious, if a little underfilling. We thought about ordering some more food but in the end ordered more cocktails to fill us up instead. As we were sitting there, a waiter went by with a massive bowl flanked by what looked like four little gnomes. This, I think was the £55 cocktail you could order to share between 6 of you, which I think we also did see a group of maybe 5 boys finishing off when we arrived.

The original plan was to move on to yet another cocktail bar (Ninety Eight bar and lounge), but we were so comfortable there, the drinks were coming at a pleasing rate and were doing their job on our sobriety so we just stayed there instead until about 12:00.

But we couldn’t stay there all night – we had dancing on the agenda. So we walked round to The Book Club. I’ve already been here a couple of times, they have quite a varied programme of nights on. I’d been there for a hip hop mashup night hosted by Scroobius Pip and I went to Bookstock, the street party they hosted. So I thought their Rock n roll Saturday night would be worthwhile. Unfortunately, so did a lot of other people and when we got there, there was a not insubstantial queue. We considered our other options, especially as time was ticking on, it was £5 entrance fee and it only stayed open until 2. But that was the case with most of the other places I could think of so we waited it out, got in and made the most of the hour and a half we had in there. We befriended these three guys who were in the queue in front of us, and then turned up at the bar when we were, and we bebopped about a bit with them. All too quickly the lights were being turned up and we had to leave. I never had the slightest intention of going home so early and had scoured the internet to find somewhere to finish our night. I came across somewhere I’d never heard of but fit exactly the bill. Originally I had planned that we would go to The Bathhouse in Liverpool Street, only to find that they were closing two weeks before I planned to go. They play rock and roll/retro music and now I was in the mood for that kind of thing. The Book Club happened to do it, but as we’ve just covered, only stayed open until 2. I needed more. And I needed it to be within easy reach of Shoreditch so that we didn’t waste time and money getting there. It took me a while, but I finally unearthed Ye Olde Axe.

Square Meal

Ye Olde Axe

Apparently this place is a strip club. It’s just up the road from Brown’s so I can believe that. It also has a phenomenally large bouncer, which I consider evidence of stripping taking place. But when the clock strikes midnight, that element of it shuts down and it turns into a rockabilly venue. And it stays open until 6 am(ish). We headed up there, with a new addition to the party (one of the guys we’d met at The Book Club. I’d heard that this is where everyone heads when all the other venues have shut so I was a little worried we wouldn’t get in, or it would be too crowded to be enjoyable, but my fears were unwarranted. It’s an odd venue. A bit like the Horse & Groom, it’s clearly just a pub (I think I remember beams and banquettes), that happens to stay open late, plays great music and people dance. At least, I think they do. I would ask the honourable reader to remember that my companion and I had started drinking at about half four in the afternoon, and so by the time we reached Ye Olde Axe, my memory faculties weren’t firing on all cylinders. I know they were playing music I liked, from the 50s and 60s era, but the only song I can actually remember is ‘I Just Want to Make Love to You’, chiefly because Alison and I engaged in a bit of playful lesbian writhing. It’s understandable – that song is pure sex. My abiding memory is of thinking this place was great and knowing it was now going to become my official ‘go to’ place for the after hours in Shoreditch.

Once again we stayed until basically, we were made to go, and then we went our separate ways. The night had finished, over 12 hours after it had begun.

Sunday 25th September

As a footnote, I want to add that we spent the afternoon and evening of Sunday at The Book Club again. It doesn’t get its own entry because ‘if it’s not on the list, it’s not going in’ but it’s worth a mention. We discovered they do bloody lovely Sunday Roasts. And they’re bloody huge as well. My friend and I shared one and didn’t even finish it between us. They also do ‘DIY’ bloody marys so you can make them as spicy as you like. Apparently they play blues in the downstairs bit starting from about 7 but it was 9 pm before I remembered we had wanted to see what that was like, and we were pretty comfortable where we were. I’d highly recommend it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Open House weekend, Saturday 17th September

The morning was a write-off as usual. Are we the only couple who find it impossible to get out of bed before 10 am? I hope not. There were several things as options to do today and we tried to formulate a plan once we were in a state to actually get out of the flat. It was about 1:30 by this point and I realised that if we left immediately, we could be at Tower Bridge by 2 pm, just in time to see the participants of The Great River Race go by beneath us. Knowing the tube lines are often disrupted, I quickly checked and yep, the District line was off. So much for being able to get to Tower Hill; we changed tack. Instead, we decided to try to get to an Open House weekend building. The Bank of England was already on my list, and close by, so we headed there. We figured there'd be a queue and were prepared to wait for an hour. We got there and the queue was ridiculous. As we debated about whether to join it, and Stephen went to investigate just how long it really was, some attendant announced that the queue was closed. It was about 1:45 and last entrance was 4, meaning the queue was over two hours long. We would have said 'Sod that' anyway, even if we had been given the option! Next year I must be more organised and actually book somewhere we want to go. That, or do the impossible - get up early on a weekend.

So far, our plans weren't going very well - thwarted in the Race, and now our attempts to join in on Open House had met a similar fate. But wait! We weren't that far from Monument, and hence London Bridge. We didn't have time to get to Tower Bridge, but we could get to London Bridge to watch the boats. For those that don't know what the Great River Race is (another one from 1000 Things to do in London) it's a race up the Thames (21 miles) from the Docklands to Ham House in Richmond. A few hundred boats take part and apparently they range from those who are having a bit of a laugh, to serious competitors. There's meant to be fancy dress, silly stunts and the like. But I doubt that anyone really knows about it. The famous Oxford and Cambridge boat race only has two crews and yet it dwarfs this one in its popularity. According to the website it has become the biggest and most prestigious event of its kind in Europe, having started in 1988 at less than a quarter of the size it is now. I thought it sounded like fun.

We got to London Bridge and it was pretty empty. You could just about spot some of the boats coming up to Tower Bridge. There were people looking out over the Thames but it was hard to tell if they were there to watch the race, or just your average tourist looking at the view. Even as the row boats came up to London Bridge, it was still hard to tell who was there on purpose and who had merely stumbled across the event. We watched several boats go by, the first one stomping ahead of the nearest competitors, and with only two rowers! There was someone else on board as well, looking a bit like a mascot at the front. Probably a small child but it could equally have been a monkey from what I could tell from my vantage point. We watched a few more boats go under and then we were tempted away by Borough market being so close. It was windy and the Thames seemed choppy and we had much admiration for the boats competitors. The problem was, that because there were so few spectators, there wasn't much atmosphere. Unlike the actual marathon, where you can go and cheer whether you know anyone or not, this one didn't have quite the same festive feel to it. We had also timed it badly I think. While there may have been rowers in fancy dress, or boats of unusual size or shape, they were probably participants who weren't taking it too seriously and would no doubt have been somewhere at the back of the race. We'd got there too early to see them, and didn't really want to hang around and wait. I felt a little guilty about that - I do like to do things on my list properly after all - but after we'd ended up under a bridge, eating a snack at Borough Market, and the heavens opened, I knew we'd made the right choice. Yes, I'm a fair weather fan.

What with this annoying but totally expected change in weather, we thought something indoors would be in order. One of the other potential things for us to do was go see what was going on at the V & A for London Design Festival so we headed there. We wandered around in the Sculpture and Asia departments where there were several installations in honour of the festival that blended in with the pieces around them. What I liked most was the reproduction of the bust of Lady Belhaven with a new fancy hat, and the new woven entrance.

Sculpture at V & A Museum

The highlight of the visit was going to the Power of Making exhibition. There was a queue (isn't there always) but somehow we didn't have to wait too long to get in there. There were some weird and wonderful things to see - a sculpture made out of sugar, and some gloves with the owner's fingerprints on the outside stand out, as well as the giant King Kong situated outside. It is fascinating what people can make and fashion out of all sorts of things nowadays. I would highly recommend this exhibition.

We finished off our day out in London by seeing a film. Odeon have an offer on at the moment giving 40% off tickets, meaning you can get tickets for a decent prices for once, and I was also able to get a free large popcorn by being an O2 customer. I've never had such a cheap cinema visit. We saw The Skin I Live in, which was a horrendous movie. An excellent, intriguing movie to watch, but what happens in it is horrendous. I don't think I've stopped thinking about it since I saw it. I read a review (in the Independent I believe) which says it gets under your skin, and it does. I keep thinking about all the implications of what happen. All the adverts say there is a twist. I wouldn't describe it as such, as it is revealed pretty early in the movie and I had guessed at it even earlier than that. It's not a single twist to be untwisted in one moment just before the end, more the gradual untying of a plait - it is easy to guess it and as things move on you become more and more convinced until it is confirmed. But the twist isn't the point of the movie, its about digesting what happens, the motivations behind it and the effects. As most movies are I suppose. Still, I don't think I'd better reveal it.

The Great River Race:
Open House weekend:
Power of Making:
London Design Festival:

Arbutus, Friday 16th September

The basis/inspiration for my lists are Time Out’s excellent 1000 Things to do books in…, in this case London. It has since mutated to include recommendations and things I see as I go about my daily life, plus other sources. I’ve recently joined the Twittersphere and that is brilliant for discovery.

My boyfriend and I find Time Out’s recommendations to be a bit hit and miss to be honest. But that just gives us the perfect excuse to try things out for ourselves. So, onto my first entry proper – Arbutus. In particular, the set menu they do as a pre-theatre treat, which yes, was recommended in 1000 Things to do in London. At just under £20 for three courses it sounds too good to be true. In some ways it is; they do restrict you to only two choices per course, which had me a little worried. Their menu changes daily and seems to contain a lot of offal so you can’t tell before you book if you’ll like what’s on offer. As a child I mainly ate plain chicken and plain omelettes when I went out to eat, and though my tastes have increased almost exponentially since then, I’m still a little fussy. But, one of my good friends had already been to Arbutus and spoke highly of it, and for that price it seemed worth the risk. We also happened to have the perfect excuse to spoil ourselves – the 4 year anniversary of having met my boyfriend occurred last week.

We had reservations for 6:15. Another downside of the set menu could be that you can only book between 5 and 7, and they give you a 1.5 hour time limit. I don’t have any problems eating early though, and had made sure to finish my lunch around noon and resist any snacks in order to work up my appetite.  I was a little early when I got to the restaurant to meet my boyfriend so went over to Soho Square to read, where I discovered Stephen doing precisely the same thing. We greeted each other and then he surprised me with a little gift. I’ve chosen to mention this not only to boast of what a thoughtful boyfriend I have, but because the chocolates came from Paul A Young. I don’t think I have this chocolate shop on my list, but that is remiss of me. They have a reputation for confectionary delights and I’ve wanted to try one of their salt caramels for quite a while. Stephen had bought me a selection of slightly out of the ordinary chocolates, three of which were the famed salt caramels. Of course, I didn’t want to spoil my dinner so I put them away for later.

We were still a trifle early but I had passed by the restaurant once already and it didn’t seem busy so we thought they wouldn’t mind seating us early and we were right. Arbutus is a quite a clean, calm sort of restaurant. Lots of beiges and creams, plus a few naughty vintage porn photos thrown in to liven things up. The wait staff were friendly and even a bit laddish, as Stephen remarked. We were offered bread and some very creamy butter straight away, and this was regularly proffered before our mains arrived. I love bread, but at the same time didn’t want to stuff myself on it so I had just the two pieces, as did Stephen. The second piece came in handy to mop up the last traces of our first course. As I said before, there are only two choices on offer per course and between us we had almost every dish. For starters the choices were soft poached egg on lentils with spinach or curly kale and potato soup. For mains it was a choice between rabbit in mustard sauce or silver mullet with carrot and cumin. For dessert the options were meringue with custard and praline or cheese. It was easy for me to pick my menu – the only soup I really like is tomato so poached egg was the winner there. I’m not too fussed about fish – I don’t like to gamble on ones I haven’t tried yet – so I went for the rabbit, and then as much as I love cheese, I will still pick something sweet over it if I have the choice. So I did. Stephen went for the other options, except for the starter where he joined me in having an egg. We do love our poached eggs – they’re practically an essential for breakfast at the weekends for us.

Another plus of Arbutus is that their wines are very reasonably priced and they even do them all by the carafe! They price them at more or less a third of a bottle (and a third of a bottle is what you get) so you aren’t paying more for less, as it were. This is ideal if you’re going there because you want to dine without breaking the bank balance. I chose the Picpoul de Pinet, simply because I’d never had it before. It was fragrant, flavoursome and fruity. I’m glad I tried it. The carafe works out to one generous glass of wine each (though we didn’t pour it out all at once) and it was a bit of a chore to make that one glass last the whole meal, both because I do drink quickly, and because we liked the wine.

We didn’t have to wait long for our starters to come out. I enjoyed mine more than I thought I would as lentils wouldn’t normally be something I seek out. The egg was warm but the whole dish was quite refreshing. There were only a few sprigs of spinach, uncooked, and I wouldn’t have minded more of that, but overall it was very tasty. The dressing, which I think was a bit of a mustard vinaigrette was definitely worth saving some bread for.

Not too long after, our mains arrived. I definitely chose the best meal and had no food envy whatsoever. Especially when Stephen told me his fish was, indeed, very fishy – verging on as strong as mackerel, which I’ve established in the past as too strong for me. If I’m not eating salmon or tuna, I like my fish to taste as bland as possible. My rabbit was fantastic. It was slow cooked – all juicy and tender, and came in a mustard sauce which was not too mustardy, just quite creamy with a bit of a bite. Some more spinach, baby carrots and boiled potatoes bulked up the rest of the meal. Stephen said his fish was very nice, sitting on a restaurant-style flourish of a smear of carrot and cumin sauce and with some pieces of beetroot to accompany it. It was a romantic meal so naturally I shared some of my dish with my paramour and he concurred that it was good. ‘Rabbit is definitely much better than chicken’ he declared. I hadn't until then been aware they were in competition.

Mackerel at Arbutus

Rabbit at Arbutus

The dessert was probably the weakest course, which is an unusual thing for me to say. I had been looking forward to some gooey, chewy meringue but what I actually had was an isle flottante, with some candied nuts crushed and crumbled on top, and a few pitted in the meringue. It was very sweet and reminded me of eating a big marshmallow. What with the candy covered nuts, I felt like it was Easter. It was pleasant, but the meringue was so light and fluffy, it was almost like eating nothing. I prefer my desserts to be less polite, more sinful, gooey, sticky messes. Stephen had opted for the cheese, he claimed for altruistic reasons because he knows I love it so much and so I could have some of his, but in truth he now loves it almost as much as me. The cheese of the day was a brie de meaux. It came with what we think was an apricot chutney, and the slice looked quite miserable on the plate. They offer you more bread to go with it, which in some ways is a shame as we’d already had quite a bit of bread and some crackers would have been a preferred substitution. The cheese was potent to say the least and more than made up for its meagre appearance by its flavour.  It was creamy adn squidgy and tangy. We finished the remaining drops of our wine, and settled the bill. A brilliant £52 including service.

As far as set menus go, this is definitely worth doing. £25 each for that kind of meal is a bargain and feels like just the right kind of meal to have if you really were going to the theatre after – filling but still quite light. Not something that will sit heavily on you while you are entertained for the rest of the night. Or if you plan on carrying on drinking, like we did. We also really liked the atmosphere. I'm used to dining at around 8, the peak dinner time in restaurants where the restaurant is noisy and the waiters are busy. Eating at this time, at least in this restaurant, was really pleasant - it had a very relaxed atmosphere and Stephen and I didn't feel in the least bit self conscious about opting for the cheapy menu. It helped that several other diners were also eating from that menu - including one lone diner. I wondered if he might be a fellow blogger...

Set menu - £18.95 (optional service charge of 12.5% added)

250 ml carafe of Picpoul de Pinet – approx £8.50

Oh – and for those wondering about the chocolates… scrumptious! I’ve eaten almost half the box (no, there weren’t that many) and have savoured every one. It included some unusual flavours like wasabi, and a goat’s cheese one that was meant to taste a bit like cheesecake but didn’t. The highlights are definitely the salt caramel ones though. I will miss them when I eat the final one.

Arbutus on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Find the menu & restaurant information on Zomato

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The List - DRINK

And so we come to my final list - drinking. One of my favourite pasttimes and yet something I still don't think I do enough of. The problem is, unlike with things to do, and even clubbing, it's quite hard to find freebie drinking establishments. And, unlike with eating, I can go without drinking if I have no money. So it's taking me a bit longer to cross things off this list. But - as I have hinted earlier - I think the imminent arrival of my friend will help me boost my success rate.

Cocktails at Twelfth House
Cocktails at Lost Society
Vintage wine tasting at Sampler
Amersham Arms
Half Moon Putney
Old Blue last
Brooks Blues bar; Telegraph pub
The Blues Kitchen
Bar polski for vodka
Cabaret at Volupte
Cocktails at Crazy Bear
Cocktails (martinis) at Christopher's Martini Bar
Mix cocktails at Christopher's 2nd Monday of the month
Cocktails at Dollar
Cocktails at Floridita
Cocktails at Hawksmoor
Cocktails at Lobby bar
Cocktails at 1 Lombard Street
Cocktails at Shochu Lounge
Snuff at CellarDoor
Fitzroy Tavern
Tombola bash Dreambags
Trafalgar hotel bar for good view; Trafalgar Hotel
Martini at Duke's hotel bar
Gordon's wine bar (leaky and gross last time I was there)
Roof terrace at Gilgamesh
Big Chill House          
Vinoteca (read about it here)
Berry Bros & Rudd; Britain's oldest wine merchant
Green & Blue wine bar and shop       
Milk & Honey, call ahead for non member access    
Wenlock arms
Vertigo 42
Library bar, cocktails; Lanesborough Hotel
93 Feet East  
The Lane        
The Big Chill   
Café 1001      
Light Bar (Gone off this place after a Friday night there)
Bar Music Hall
Dragon Bar    
Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes   
Hoxton Bar and Grill   
The Langley   
Bed Bar          
Sub Club and Bar      
The RedChurch         
Meet Bar         
Epicurean Lounge      
Leonards EC1
Clerkenwell House     
The Cuban     
Rhythm Factory         
Feelin Gloomy at Bar Islington           
The Gardening Club   
El Barco Latino          
Kabaret/Kabaret’s Prophecy 
The Soho Lounge      
Bar Rumba    
Sirocco Bar & Nightclub        
Sugar Reef     
The Kingly Club          
The Tatty Bogle Club 
The Warwick  
On Anon         
Big Chill House          
Bar Monsta
The Lounge    
Stompin’ at 100 Club 
Indieoke - Buffalo Bar, Upper st         
The Blind Tiger, Battersea     
Rebel Bingo   
The Phoenix   
The George    
The Anchor    
The Lamb       
Nell of Old Drury        
White Hart      
Lamb & Flag  
Coal Hole
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
Kings Head & 8 Bells
Ye Olde Mitre 
Cafe Koha
Callooh callay (read about it here
Dalston Roof Park     
Shacklewell Arms (read about it here)
Queen of Hoxton              
Old Queens Head  (read about it here    
The Whistling Post (read about it here)    
The Book Club (read about it here)
The Palm Tree           
The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town  (read about it here)      
Roadtrip  (read about it here)        
Night jar (read about it here)
The Dolphin
The owl and the pussycat (read about it here)
Fernandez and Wells
Arts theatre club
57 Greek Street
69 Colebrook Road
Lounge Bohemia
Mason & Taylor (read about it here)
The booking office
The Three Crowns (read about it here)
The Lion
The Grenadier
Sebright Arms
Happiness Forgets
The Black Door
Evans and Peel
Illegal late night cocktail bar
The Fourth Wall
Hawksmoor bar
Ruby's bar
Three Blind Mice


Welcome to one of my favourite lists and the one it seems to take me longest to achieve as I'm no young pup anymore and so clubbing is a fairly rare thing these days. Still, I am striving to get to them all before I deem myself too old and too disgraceful to go anymore. There is a mixture of weekly clubs and monthly/one off events here.

Bedroom Bar
T Bar
Ghetto/Trash Palace
Star of Bethnal Green (read about it here)
Southside Bar
South London Pacific
Amersham Arms
Buttoned Down Disco


Coronet Theatre

East Village

Horse and Groom

Plastic People
Area (read about it here)
Corsica Studios
YoYo at Notting Hill Arts Club (read about it here)
Bethnal Green Working Men's club (read about it here)
The Nest
Los locos

Steamboat bordello
White mischief (read about it here)
The drop (closed - now opened as The Waiting Room)
The loft
The star of kings (read about it here)
Dalston superstore (read about it here)
Village underground
Torture garden
The dolphin
Deviation (read about it here)
Ye olde axe (read about it here)
Prohibition (read about it here)
Blitz party
Rumpus (read about it here)
Ministry of Sound
The baby bathhouse (read about it here)
The Russian Bar (read about it here)
Troy 22
Stumblin Slims (read about it here)
The Waiting Room (formerly the Drop)
La reve – Café de Paris
Bete Noir
Finger in the Pie
Scared to Dance (read about it here)
Southbound and Down
Heavy Load
Antichrist (read about it here)
So tough so cute
Great Big Kiss
Soul Shakers Party
Fuzz 4 Freaks Party
Oh my God I miss
Belle Eqpoque
Die Freche Muse
Rivoli Ballroom 
Wilton Music Hall
Viva cake bitches
Boom boom club
The Works
Bearded kitten
Kinki Malinki
Smartie Party
Circo loco
Lucha Brittania (read about it here)
Old London Underground club whenever it opens
Cut a shine
Black Cotton Club
Old School Indie At o2 Academy Islington

The List - FOOD

This is the list I have possibly been most successful at crossing things off from, and also probably the one I add to most.

Papine Jerk Centre
Bea's of Bloomsbury's for afternoon tea
Orange Pekoe for afternoon tea
Tiroler Hut
Baozi Inn
Hummus Bros
Little Bay for chips
Maroush          Edgware Road
Abu Zaad (kebabs)
Kebab Kid
Mangal 1 Ocakbasi
Ranoush Juice
Marathon Kebab (for kebabs and bands)
Maison Bertaux
Lahore Kebab house 
Lollipop; St John's Hill
St Vincent's room      
Maze Grill       
Le Gavroche  
Fat Duck        
Bleeding Heart           
L’art du fromage         
Amuse Bouche – also Drink  
Bob Bob Ricard – also Drink
Abracadabra Restaurant       
Archipelago Restaurant         
St. Moritz (fondue)     
Garlic and Shots        
Isis Restaurant & Late Night Bar       
Turkish Place in Stoke Newington     
The Harwood Arms    
Santa Maria del Sur   
Bar Boulud     
Pies at Pie Room, Newman Arms
Sichuan food, Bar Shu
Alan Yau's restaurants   (one of them)        
Choc Star van (read about it here)
Tea at the Wolseley (read about it here)    
Vietnamese food        
·                An Viet House, 12 Englefield Rd
·                Mien Tay, Kingsland Rd/ Battersea
·                Que Viet, 102 Kingsland Rd
The Ivy
Posh scotch egg; Peyton & Byrne, Heal's
Bibendum Oyster Bar
Rasa express; Indian food in a tray
Hakkasan dim sum    
B & K salt beef bar
Hummingbird bakery
Cah Chi - Korean       
Painted Heron – Indian
Abeno  okomiyaki- pancakes
Lunch at the Table     
El Vergel – Chilean; pastel de choclo
Canela (read about it here)
McKanna Meat
E Pellicci        
Dans Le Noir (read about it here)
Make Chocolate
La Fromagerie           
Paxton & Whitfield; Cheese since 1797
J Sheekey for honeycomb ice cream
Mandalay - Burmese  
Paul Rothe & son; soup and sandwich
The Eagle; original gastropub (read about it here)
Sweetings, est 1830
Arbutus; set menu (read about it here)
Sketch Glade  and Sketch loos
Wapping Food            Wapping Hydraulic Power Station     
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Chin Chin ice cream  
The Draft House
Salt yard         
The Easton    
The fellow
Birley salt beef bar
Malay food      
·                Champor champor
·                Yum yum
·                Awana
·                Ekachai
Cantina laredo
The sportsman          
Princess of shoreditch           
Malletti pizza  
The real greek
Chilli cool        
Princi  (read about it here)
Pitt cue co      
Corner room  
Redmarket     - closed down - now open again!
Keu (banhmi) 
Young and foodish (burgermonday)  
The  icecreamists (read about it here)      
J + A cafe  (read about it here    
Poppie's fish and chips          
Pollen street social (read about it here)
Kula cafe        
Gino gelato, peanut butter flavour (read about it here)     
Dri dri  (read about it here)
Pizza east      
Big apple hot dogs     
Mestizo  (read about it here        
The breakfast club (read about it here)     
Androuet (read about it here)          
Lucky chip (read about it here)
Buen Ayre (read about it here)
Yum bun (read about it here)
Street Kitchen (read about it here)
Mulberry Street (read about it here)
The rib man (read about it here)
Chinese in Stepney Green
Set lunch and Wine Library
Ba Shan (read about it here)
Olive cafe pizza
The diner for brunch (read about it here)
My old Dutch
Mason & Taylor
Boundary project (read about it here)
Smiths/The Luxe
Meat liquor
Andrew Edmunds
Pitt Cue Co (Soho)
Pizza Pilgrims (read about it here)
Boho Mexica
Red dog saloon (read about it here)
Foxcroft & Ginger
Beijing Dumpling (read about it here)
Last Tuesdays at RIBA
Yum Cha
Leong's Legends
Pavilion (read about it here)
Maltby Street Market (read about it here)
Dukes (read about it here)
The English Pig
Feast London
Saturday Brunch at The Connaught
Tina We Salute You
Flat Iron
Rita's Bar and Dining
Rain Bo
Beard to Tail

To Do List pt 2

Here is my next list of things to do. Rather more substantial than the last one. Note it doesn't include any eating or drinking or clubbing - they have their own lists.

I don't care if you think that's weird.

Battersea Park; fountains                              
Battersea Park pagoda                      
Way of Tea Japanese session; British Museum; once a fortnight, Fridays
Freemason's hall; Great Queen Street, nr Holborn                           
Ally Pally hill; Alexandra Palace                                 

Parliament Hill; Hampstead Heath                             

Picnic; Hampstead Heath                              
Lovely loo; bus terminus South End green, nr Hampstead Heath                            
Magdala pub - last woman hanged committed murder here; South Hill Park, Hampstead                             
Spaniards Inn; Hampstead Heath (read about it here)                               
Bibilion - rare, second hand, antiquarian books; 1-7 Davies Mews
Pagan city heart; opposite Cannon st station (read about it here)                                    
MPs secret tunnel; St Ermin's hotel lobby, Westminster                              
Soane's tomb; St Pancras Gardens  (read about it here)                         
Tank; Mandela Way (read about it here)                           
Binsey walk, Clockwork Orange; Thamesmead South Estate                                 
Manholes; Notting Hill (read about it here)                         
Street designs;  Bellenden Road, Peckham                         
Charles Dickens Museum; 48 Doughty Street                      
Thames clipper                                              
Indieokie; Buffalo bar, Upper St
Musical bingo; Concrete, Shoreditch (read about it here)
Spark;  Canal Cafe Theatre (read about it here)
Hot Breath karaoke; The Legion, Old Street
Substone; 93 Feet East         
Picnic; Horniman Museum                                        
Wildlife Photographer of the year; Natural history museum (read about it here)                          
Money; Bank of England
BBC tour                                            
Ironmonger Row Baths; IronMonger Row, EC1V; closed until May 2012
Thames walk                                     
Pub in Chiswick (mum's recommendation)
Street art                                            
Roller skating                                     
Make a meal at The Kitchen; New Kings Road
Long view, 10-miles; Richmond Park, King Henry VIII's mound                               
Forest walk; Epping Forest (read about it here)                        
Scuba dive                                         
Woolwich ferry                          
Design museum                                            
Wander along regent's canal; Camden Lock to Little Venice (read about it here)                         
Mystery shopping                                           
TV shows for free                                          
Bunhill Fields Burial Ground; London Wall                             
Brompton Cemetery; Fulham Road                          
Highgate Cemetery; Swain's Lane                
Skate outside                                     
Albert memorial                                  
Execution Dock; 62 Wapping High St for access  (read about it here)                           
Hula hoping; The old queens head
Boxing; York Hall, Bethnal Green, Old Ford Rd
Beachy head                                      
Pig Day                                              
West Ruislip                                      
Oasis Sport Centre, outside swimming pool; 32 Endell St, WC2     p12                 
Late at Tate                            
Bloomsberg Space - exhibition area; 50 Finsbury Square               
Fetish  Harmony
Fetish  Liberation                   
Books for cooks - cookery bookshop with workshops     
Banger racing - Wimbledon stadium; 
Theatre pub; King's Head Theatre, 115 Upper St                 
·                Hen & Chickens, 109 St Paul's Road              
·                Gate Theatre/Prince Albert, 11 Pembridge Road                    
·                Theatre 503, Battersea Park Rd                                  
·                Oxford arms, 265 Camden High St                             
Learn to butcher; Hawksmoor           
Changing of the Guard; 11 am, daily, 10 am Sundays          
Roller Stroll; Sundays, Hyde Park
Urban Rites Friday Night Skate; Fridays; Hyde Park           
EasyPeasySkate; Battersea Park
HMS Belfast
Wine tasting at home, includes dinner                   
Abbey road zebra crossing - nocturnal 'happenings'                  
Eine A to Z       Hackney Rd, Kingsland Rd, Broadway Market, Brick Lane, Redchurch St  
Tiling graffitti    Dragon Bar, St Anne's Churchyard, Soho, Hanway St
Windmills        Wandsworth common, Mitcham common, Benheim gardens, Wimbledon common
Bolan shrine; Barnes Common                     
Row on Serpentine; Hyde Park         
Boogaloo for the most famous jukebox in London; 312 Archway Roa
Westminster Bridge Road; Old MI6, Necropolis Railway (read about it here)       
Film clubbing; Roxy Bar & Screen                
Denis Severs house;  Spitalfields                              
Dodo remains, amongst others; Grant Museum, UCL                     
Ice hockey (to watch)                    
Longplayer exhibition, Trinity wharf or Greenwich observatory          
Open air bus by night        
Tower hill memorial (read about it here)                
The ghost bus                                      
Shoreditch house literary salon                                             
The book club boutique                                              
White rabbit - are you sitting comfortably; Toynbee studios (read about it here)
Benjamin Franklin House        36 Craven Street, WC2N
Literary death match                                      
Drink shop do; Kings cross (read about it here)                         
Museum of childhood; Whitechapel (read about it here)                                      
Wellcome collection                                      

Hatchards - london's oldest bookshop; 187 Piccadilly

Magma - design books; 117-119 Clerkenwell Road

Fake houses; Leinster Gardens, 23 and 24                          

Thames Tunnel; Railway Ave, SE16

Top of the Monument  Monument Street                   

Waterloo Bridge books                                              

John Soane's Museum; Lincoln Inns                         

Last duel site; 3 St James's St, sw1A                                   

Gaslight London                     

Cabman's shelters; Chelsea Embankment, Russell Square, V & A, Temple square

Pet cemetery; Hyde Park                               

Tybrun martyrs; 8 Hyde Park Place                          

Book Slam                                         

Royal Observatory planetarium; Royal Observatory

Picnic; Thames Barrier Park                         

Thames Barrier; 1 Unity way, SE18

Hunterian Museum; Lincoln's Inn fields

Day in Sloane city                              

Actors' church; St Paul's Church Gardens                           

City farm; Spitalfields                         

City farm; Hackney                            

Smallest police station; Trafalgar Square                             

Ceremony of the Keys; Tower of London

Central Criminal Court; Old Bailey
Cocktail classes; Salvador and Amanda
Photographer's Gallery; Ramillies St                         

National Portrait gallery                                              

Up the Creek                                      

Stock Pot; Soho                                 

Richmond; Park and deer                                          

Antifolk; 12 bar                                   


The Globe                                          

Prospect of whitby                                         

Ye Olde Mitre                                     

The Inns; Holborn/temple                               

The Clink; Clink Street                                   

Borough Market; Borough                              

Appearing Rooms; South Bank                                 

Nice square; Hoxton                          

Nice square; Lincoln's Inn fields                                

Royal Observatory panorama                                               

Jimmy's farm                                     


Les Mis                                               
The Bad Book Club; Robin Ince will do other things   p33                 
Little Ben - little brother to Big Ben; Victoria Street                

Penguins at London zoo                                
London Zoo Aquarium
Psychic Mews - recreation of Victorian street with gypsy caravan at end  

Crystal palace dinosaur court; Crystal palace park

Bluebird - all sorts of things here; 350 King's Road             

Last sewer lamp; Carting Lane                     

Roman Bath', Strand Lane; Red brick plunge pool   

Postman's Park off Aldersgate St; Plaques commemorating fatal acts of bravery, was in Closer
First red phone box; just by the RA   
Ultimate power ballad night
Map of London Peculiars
Secret Cinema (read about it here)
Medieval Banquet
Bang said the Gun
Letters you never Sent