1. Piste at Archer Street
If you haven’t booked a ski holiday, no problem. Get that glorious après-ski experience at Archer Street’s pop-up Piste. It’ll feel like you’ve hopped right off the ski lift and into a wood-fired lodge fully kitted out with fur blankets and boozy cocktails. For a festive drink, try the Glow Plough with Grey Goose vodka, mulled port syrup, lime, cranberry, egg white and a floating glow stick (oooh shiny!).
Mon-Thurs: 4pm-1am; Fri-Sat: 2pm-1am.
3-4 Archer Street, W1D 7AP.2. The Winter Cabin at York & Albany
Just on the edge of Regent’s Park, this is one cosy and indulgent cabin — think tartans, animal skins and taxidermy. The drinks menu features a buttered rum hot chocolate (with MARSHMALLOWS) as well as spiced Bloody Marys. It’s all boozy, festive and delicious. Since this is a Gordon Ramsay affair, you can expect the food to be spot on as well. From wild boar sausages to black pudding scotch eggs, it’ll feel like Christmas with every bite. Now this charming little spot is for exclusive hire only, so round up 4-12 of your mates and nestle in for a couple of hours.
Daily: 1pm-10pm (excluding Christmas Day). 2 cocktails and paired snacks — £30 per person. 3 cocktails and paired snacks — £40 per person.
127-129 Parkway, NW1 7PS.
3. Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park
This is other level Christmas celebrating. And if you haven’t heard of it or been to it before, then make this year the time. A huge festive wonderland (yes, wonderland) in the middle of Hyde Park with atmospheric markets, loads of rides for children small and not-so-small, as well hearty food and plenty of warming booze. Get extra organised and book yourself in to one of the shows like Cirque Berserk (see above) for just an extra splash of wow factor.
21 November – 4 January 2015. Mon – Sun: 10am – 10pm.
Hyde Park, W2 2UH.
4. Winterville in Victoria Park
East London is getting its own winter wonderland with Winterville taking over the utterly tranquil Victoria Park. This place has everything: an ice rink, ferris wheel, fairground, roller disco, undercover bars, street food, cabaret, panto, horse-drawn carriages and a kids quarter. There’s even a “Wall of Death“, and no — you don’t have to climb it. Rather, it’s a gravity-defying motordome. Daredevil riders will do their best to accomplish some hair-raising stunts for your viewing pleasure. And to get access to all of this? Well, entry is FREE. So you have no excuse NOT to go.
Free entry. 2 December – 1 January (closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day). 10am-late.
Victoria Park, Grove Road, E3 5TB.
5. Swedish Christmas by Skandilicious
From food served the Smörgåsbord way to the Scandi-style decor, this pop-up will immerse you in Swedish Christmas warmth from the moment you walk through the door. Get your eat on the Scandi way with gravlax and smoked salmon, mustard crumbed roast ham, Swedish meatballs and more types of herring than you ever knew existed. Once you’re finished eating, head up to the loft bar to sip on seasonal cocktails. Christmas just got a little bit “sweder”.
Tickets are £45. 14 November – 21 December. Lunch: 12pm-4pm. Dinner and drinks: Sun-Wed — 6pm-12am; Thurs-Sat — 6pm-1am.
The Old Guardian Media House Theatre Delicatessen, 119 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3DA.
6. Winter Rum Chalet at Floridita
Inspired by the ski slopes of Patagonia, Floridita is launching its own take on the chalet theme (*hint: it involves A LOT of rum*). Think log-papered walls, a ski-chair seat for two and a mock fireplace for (mentally) warming the cockles.
From 19 November. Tues-Thurs: 5:30pm-late. Fri-Sat: 5:30pm-3am.
Floridita, 100 Wardour Street, W1F 0TN.
7. Lodge d’Argent at Coq d’Argent
Experience a taste of France at this ski chalet-cum-winter terrace. Guide your eyes past the vintage ski gear and go wrap yourself into the heavenly furry blankets. The heated and covered terrace will be on throughout winter — fully equipped with holiday favourites like fondue and even a Croque d’Argent station for cheesy, toastie goodness. And for those skipping the lactose, nab the Spiced Almond hot cocktail with spiced almond milk (obviously) and Anejo rum.
18 November – 28 February. Mon-Fri: 11:30am-11pm; Sat: 12pm-11pm; Sun: 12pm-5pm.
Coq d’Argent. No. 1 Poultry, EC2R 8EJ.
8. Winter Viking Bar (Valhalla Vodka Bar) at Skylounge
One of London’s best rooftop bars has been taken over by Vikings … yes, Vikings. But it seems these ones are pretty friendly and welcoming, so you can expect weatherproof roofing, heaters, animals skins and views of the fjords. Plus lots of Scandi-style food and wintery vodka cocktails. Try to pronounce this one: Glapsvidr. Can’t? Neither can we. But with Aperol, passionfruit and apple — it’ll taste better than it sounds. And since the Vikings were of the hunter-gatherer tribe, the eats will be hearty, wholesome and meat-heavy.
25 November – February. Wed-Sun: 4:30pm-late.
7 Pepys Street, EC3N 4AF.
9. Alexander & James Presents Christmas with The Ivy
This isn’t a pop-up per se, but it does pop the bar up right in your very own home. And since they’re partnering with The Ivy for Christmas, you get to have world-renowned eats AND world-renowned drinks without stepping a foot outside of your door. You will be treated to a three-course dinner created by The Ivy’s executive chef, Gary Lee, which will be paired with a selection of cocktails created by Alexander & James resident mixologist, Kenji Jesse. From fish dishes with floral gin sippers to meaty roasts with rich bourbon concoctions, you’ll be throwing an out-of-this-world dinner party without lifting a finger. This ain’t cheap, but if you are looking for a luxury option … then you’ve found it.
— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips