The Richmond

The Richmond Hackney nduja spiced seafood stew
© Ed Reeve

Set on one of Haggerston’s quiet residential streets is a London food-and-drink gem that you absolutely must not miss. The ever-so-slightly quirky signage outside might flag that The Richmond ain’t your average neighbourhood boozer. A simple clean interior with red walls and well chosen artwork makes it inviting, casual and on the right side of refined. And while we like the design, it’s the food and drink that will keep us coming here again and again.

As we said, the menus here are sensational. To eat, we started off with the raw bar (a must) and topped our oysters with a zesty spicy sauce that we would love to take with us to every shellfish haunt the world over. We then moved on to hotter items such as the chargrilled octopus which was hands down the BEST octopus we’ve ever tasted. Perfectly charred on the outside and still lovely and tender in. Plus the healthy dollop of aioli didn’t go remiss either. And don’t leave without getting the banana tart (remarkably soft and with a delicate sweetness that’s outrageously sumptuous) as well as the apple beignets that come with caramelised apples and ricotta sorbet. We have a real soft spot for anything resembling apple pie.

And now on to the drinks — well it’s no surprise here that there is just as much care and attention given to the liquid refreshments as to the solids. The bar manager here has an impressive CV having worked for the likes of HIX and Dishoom so now he is bringing his sophisticated touch to a short list of cocktails that seem both accessible and refined all at once. For a long and frothy option, try The Richmond Fizz with Beefeater gin, fresh lime, Pedrino and egg white. If you’re keen for something stirred down and brown, try Madame Maury with Diplomatico reserva exclusiva, Maury, sugar and bitters.

Best Bars tip: Come hungry. Leave happy. And definitely swing by for the happy hour: £1 oysters from 6-7pm on weekdays and 5-6pm on Saturdays. Unmissable.

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips

The Richmond Hackney
© Ed Reeve

The Park View

The Park view brighton interiorA huge outdoor seating area makes suburban Brighton pub, The Park View, a great place for post-park drinks and long summer Sundays.

Beer is well-kept with a strong roster of lagers, often including Budvar and Brooklyn lager. Local ales populate the hand pumps and the spirits selection goes way beyond the usual pub suspects. Pub food is slightly above average with dishes like salt and pepper squid and proper sausage and mash setting the tone.

Set back from the main drag between London and Brighton, The Park View tends to attract a local crowd, from 20-somethings who don’t want to head into town to families and the post-work crowd on their way home from nearby Preston Park station.

Best Bars tip: If you’re looking for a party venue, try downstairs; it’s a fair size and it comes with a separate entrance.

— Lucy Britner, @Britner

the park view brighton beer garden

The Kenton

The Kenton Mile End beer gardenNothing beats a neighbourhood boozer, and the people of Hackney have a fair few to choose from. Mile End-ers are lucky that The Kenton manages east London cool while bypassing the pretension that often comes along with it. Mixing antiques with modern curiosities, the Norwegian-run pub offers what you’d expect from a local watering hole, along with a couple of surprises along the way. American pale ales are, obviously, on the menu – Dogfish Head DNA most notably – as is Jeremiah Weed and a crowd-pleasing roster of cocktails … Viking Blood, anyone?

Lancashire-based Northern Soul Food provide the grub. Burgers start at £6.50 – amazing – and range from classic cheeseburgers to the likes of The Bambino, containing 100% wild venison with spiced red cabbage, Dijon mustard and cheese. Sunday roasts are provided in-house, too. Well, it wouldn’t be a neighbourhood pub if they didn’t.

The huge range of extra-curricular (the curricular being drinking) activities is impressive. Pop along for a film night, take part in quizzes or try your hand at the Rock N Roll bingo. You can even take advantage of the beer garden which, in the colder months, has blankets to keep punters cosy.

Best Bars tip: Go midweek for Wine Wednesdays, or get out of work quick on Fridays to take part in Rock, Paper, Scissors against the barmen. If you beat them, your drink is half-price. Winner.

— Millie Milliken, @milliemilliken

The Kenton pub Mile End food

The Junction

The Junction Birmingham foodSet in a commanding Victorian building at the top of Harborne High Street, open fireplaces, chequerboard tiles and sink-in-to-me-and-never-leave booth seating places The Junction squarely into must-have weekend territory.

With six regularly changing real ales and a stellar reputation for world beers – and that’s before world beers were a thing – The Junction just gets us. And if the bubbly brown stuff isn’t your thing, the rich yet revitalising Bloody Mary alongside Saturday brunch or The Junction’s epic Sunday lunch is our drink of choice.

Get your hands on a paper, some pals and settle in for the long haul – The Junction has everything you could possibly need. It even does boardgames.

Best Bars tip: Sunny day? The secluded beer garden, which isn’t visible from the front of the pub, is sometimes overlooked.

– Katy Drohan, ICHOOSEBirmingham.com

The Junction Birmingham interior

Bond No 9

Bond No 9 EdinburghBond No 9 in name refers to its location on Leith’s Commercial Street, in a large building once a whisky bond, shared by a Michelin-starred restaurant, offices and a furniture store among the residents. A lot of the original stone has been revealed in the main area with a good sized bright conservatory out to the rear which can be booked out for events. During the summer months it’s also a great place to park up and enjoy the weather in their outside area.

We made our way there for some decent sustenance after a cycle around Edinburgh’s coastal paths and arrived just in time to grab one of the last tables in the conservatory area. Brunch is served every weekend and the offer of their “bigger breakfast” was too good to skip: pork and herb sausages, smoked bacon, and Stornoway black pudding were the main stars of an ample dish backed up with the usual brunch features. Although the cocktail list is ample and well executed it was a strong cuppa and a virgin Bloody Mary with their house blend of spices for us, this time.

Leith is an area which due to a lot of redevelopment in recent years attracts a diverse crowd and Bond No 9 is no exception. Weekdays the main draw is relaxed food and great coffee, weekends a more restaurant feel is there with patrons enjoying top notch grub served by candlelight. Check their social media too as they’ll often have local DJ talent playing later in the evenings at the weekends.

Best Bars tip: The gantry holding all the spirits at Bond is one of the biggest and most diverse in Edinburgh. This means that they can rustle up not just the drinks from the award winning menu but pretty much anything your heart desires – Pisco Sour anyone?

— Martin Duffy, @DuffyDrinks

Bond No 9 Edinburgh brunch

Belgrave Music Hall

Belgrave Music hall LeedsLeeds’ north quarter channels east London vibes with this trendy, bustling venue. Across Belgrave Music Hall’s three floors you’ll find food, live music, an art market, film screenings, a token french bulldog or two (of course) and the city’s most impressive roof terrace.

Serving a wide selection of cask ales, premium lagers and craft brews (including the venue’s own craft beer made with Northern Monk Brew Company), this is the ideal drinking spot for beer lovers. If you’re not into hops you can choose from straight up mixers, no-fuss slushy cocktails, a short wine list or get a caffeine fix with fresh coffee courtesy of Laynes Espresso. Canteen-style street food is served up by Dough Boys, the in-house “pizza pilgrims” who deliver a constantly changing menu of locally sourced products and vegan and gluten-free options. If you’re a foodie, you’ll love Belgrave Feast which takes over the venue every second Saturday of the month to showcase independent food vendors from all around the country.

It’s easy to see Belgrave Music Hall as one of the most exciting spaces on the Leeds scene. Its east London-inspired décor with industrial touches and minimalist bold designs make the perfect backdrop for the eclectic roster of music, arts and film performances. The large roof terrace itself is enough to draw a crowd, decked out with fake grass, quirky heated huts, deck chairs and its own mini bar. Whether you’re up for food, booze or art, this is the ultimate year-round hangout for any culture vultures, foodies and beer enthusiasts.

Best Bars tip: Love dough? Pizza slices are half price until 7pm, Sunday – Thursday and 5pm Friday and Saturday.

— Mieke-Kyra Smith, @mieke_chu

Belgrave Music Hall Leeds beer garden

Best New Year’s Eve Parties in London

From fireworks spotting to late-night masquerade balls to no-bookings events, we’ve rounded up the BEST New Year’s Eve parties around. Let’s go into 2015 with a bang!

ALTERNATIVE NYE EVENTS

Earlham Street Clubhouse 90s Superhero Party90’s Super Hero Party at Earlham Street Clubhouse
Because this bar knows how to do 90s kitsch right. Come dressed in your finest superhero regalia and find your very own Superman (or woman) to save you at midnight.
Tickets are £15 including entry and complimentary superhero cocktails from 7:30pm-8pm.
7pm-3am. 35 Earlham Street, London, WC2H 9LD

All Star LanesNew Year’s Rockin’ Eve at All Star Lanes 
Retro rock ‘n roll tunes will be spun by the DJ into the wee hours. From funk and soul to DISCO — you’ll be swinging and shaking on AND off the lanes. Dress code is hip cats and dolls, and there’s a £100 bar tab up for grabs if you’ve come in the best fancy dress. Get stuck in to some bowling, boozy shakes, and drag *that* guy or gal into the kissing photo booth for some naughtier fun.
Free entry. New Year’s Eve package is £30 which includes two courses, a glass of prosecco and a game of bowling.
Open until 3am. Various locations.

Bounce Ping Pong HolbornUVNYE at Bounce
Because you might want to let out that competitive spirit to see out 2014. Bounce is a ping pong mecca and the whole place will be lit up by UV lights — so we reckon it’s best to don your whitest whites. There will be unlimited UV ping pong all night (with free play on ALL tables), UV face painters to make you glow, special cocktail prizes for the BEST UV outfits and DJs spinning retro party anthems.
Tickets are £10-£15.
8:30pm-3am. No entry after 11:30pm. 121 Holborn, London, EC1N 2TD.

LAB interiorThat 70’s NYE at LAB
If you fancy a bit of nostalgia, why not boogie on down to renowned cocktail bar LAB (London Academy of Bartenders), famous for being the birthplace of the original Pornstar Martini, for an inspiring 70’s themed party. Expect great cocktails, champagne and bartenders who really know their stuff all to the tune of 70’s classics all night long.
Tickets are £25 for earlybird, £30 for general admission, both including a complimentary cocktail and shooter on arrival.
8pm-3am. 12 Old Compton Street, W1d 4TQ.

CHEAP

The Sun Tavern cocktail high res

NYE at The Sun Tavern
With a host of DJs playing rock n’ roll from every era, new east London hot spot The Sun Tavern offers punch cocktails, classic mixed drinks and fine ales. If you fancy something a bit Irish, they have over 40 different spirits from the land, including whiskies and tasty poitins.
£5 per ticket for guaranteed entry before 9pm. Tickets on sale at the bar.
Open until 3am, 441 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 0AN.

Callooh Callay Shoreditch

New Year’s Eve at Callooh Callay
Head down to this quirky Shoreditch venue, entering a world through a wardrobe reminiscent of a certain C.S. Lewis novel, you will find a transformed dance floor with glitz, glamour and beautifully constructed cocktails within one of the coolest hotspots in the area. Dazzle your way into 2015 with some of the best and deliciously strong cocktails you’re likely to drink anywhere in east London.
Standard entry is £15, with a seat at the main bar costing £20 and upstairs bar seating costing £25.
7pm-2am. 65 Rivington St, London, EC2A 3AY.

The Cat and Mutton NYENew Year’s Eve 2015 at The Cat & Mutton
Party into the wee hours at one of the best East End boozers around. Resident DJs will be on hand to give you the greatest funk, soul and disco tunes all night long. *And tickets are hella cheap.*
Tickets are £5.
Open until 3am. 76 Broadway Market, London, E8 4QJ.

Looking Glass Cocktail Club ShoreditchTry Hard Party at Looking Glass Cocktail Club
Ah Shoreditch. You love it or hate it. But mostly love it. And we can all admit that it’s often filled with one too many “try hards” so here’s your chance to have a go (in the friendliest of ways). So come in your best “try hard” outfit — i.e. like you just rolled out of bed and haven’t bathed in weeks, but your hair is perfectly dishevelled. Performer Maya Petrovna, neo-burlesque artist Lolo Brow and DJ Testu Gomorrah are gonna smash New Year’s Eve and bring Shoreditch its best party yet.
£10 before 10pm, £15 after.
8pm-5am. 49 Hackney Rd, Hackney, London E2 7NX.

FANCY DRESS

london cocktail club oxford circusBlack and Gold Masquerade NYE at London Cocktail Club Oxford Circus
A night of masked men and masked women with classic LCC tunes pumping all night long. If you get in early, you’ll be treated to 2-for-£10 cocktails from 7pm-9pm. And the DJs will be hitting the decks at 10pm.
Tickets are £10-£40 and include various treats.
7pm-3am. 4 Great Portland Street, London W1W 8QJ. 

Kettner's SohoBlack Tie Masquerade Ball at Kettner’s Soho
This is a pricier option, but if you want to get really fancy for New Year’s — then get in here. The opulent Georgian townhouse provides the perfect setting for a masquerade ball, with lots of rooms for exploring (and midnight smooching). Plus there will be cabaret, swing dance lessons, burlesque performances, live music and DJs until 3am.
Tickets are £50-£110, some tickets include cost of three-course dinner.
Doors at 7:30pm-3am. 29 Romilly Street, London, W1D 5HP.

main hall steam and rye cocktail bar london“New York, New York” New Year’s Eve at Steam and Rye
Dazzling dancers and a live band playing all of your favourite American movie soundtrack hits, this is a taste of life in the Big Apple (1920s-style). Whether you just want a bit of a dance, dinner too, or your very own VIP carriage … there’s an option for everyone — just depends on your budget.
Dancing tickets are £20, dinner and dancing tickets are £50-£70, VIP carriages from £500.
6pm-3am. 147 Leadenhall Street, London, EC3V 4QT.

The Blues Kitchen NYE TarantinoTarantino Party at Blues Kitchen Shoreditch
Party down like you’re at Jack Rabbit Slims, with live music, fancy dress, five-dollar shakes and a TWIST CONTEST! And of course DJs will be on hand playing the finest vintage soul and soundtrack tunes until 4am.
Party tickets are £25. Party and dinner tickets are £50.
7pm-4am. 134-136 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3AR.

NO BOOKING REQUIRED

Lost and Found NYENew Year’s Eve at Lost & Found
Classic cocktails, fruity vodka shots and free entry, if that sounds like your cup of tea then why not try this little bar in Balham. Relatively unknown, this cocktail bar has been open just over a year and is the perfect location to enjoy a cool and comfortable evening with tunes pumping until 3am. Plus they have their own vodka luge. Boom!
Free entry.
5pm-3am. 10 Bedford Hill, London SW12 9RG. 

Pub on the park exterior

NYE at Pub on the Park
Watch fireworks at this popular pub on the edge of London Fields, with two DJs spinning some of their best tunes over two floors, prizes and pub ale to enjoy in a huge beer garden (and it’s heated!). Best of all it’s free — and you don’t even have to book.
Free entry.
12pm-2am. 19 Martello St, E8 3PE. 

New cross inn stage

Nightbus to Catford NYE at New Cross Inn
A cheap and alternative way to welcome in 2015. A one-off special with DJs playing motown, ska, northern soul and reggae in south east London, you can turn up without a booking and pay a few quid. Cheap as chips.
£5 entry, £3 before 9pm.
8pm till late. New Cross Inn, 323A New Cross Road, SE14 6AS.

LUXE

Madison's interior Paul Winch-Furness / Photographer
Paul Winch-Furness
Midnight Madness at Madison
For those who fancy an evening of class and entertainment, look no further than Madison for a night of burlesque, cirque de soir acts, DJ superstars and even a string quartet. The night begins with a prosecco reception, canapes throughout the evening, a champagne mini at midnight, evening snacks and one of the very best spots to watch the fireworks.
8pm-2am. Rooftop Terrace, 1 New Change, St Paul’s, London, EC4M 9AF.
Le Pont de la Tour Tower Bridge
Welcome the new year à la française with sophistication and beautiful French cuisine with a six-course menu, including truffles, lobster and foie gras. Earlier seating can secure those with larger purse strings a place on their very own The Eramus to view the famous firework display down the Thames in style. Those who’d like to dine later with feet firmly on the ground can enjoy the same dining experience at a lower cost. There will be live music to accompany your night whilst you sip unlimited champagne all night long.
Until 2am. 36D Shad Thames, London SE1 2YE.
— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips; Nicola Carruthers, @Nik_Carruthers