London Beer Week 2015 Guide

London beer week high resIt has begun: London Beer Week is officially on so you better HOP into the festivities (sorry, we couldn’t resist). To make things easier, we’ve rounded up the BEST activities and bars so you don’t miss one frothy bit. From 16-22 February, you will have a huge array of tastings, tours and tipples around Londontown to keep you busy (and all you need to do is get a £10 wristband).


London beer week barrel aged ihlBarrel Aged IHL Launch Party

For one night only, you’ll discover a brand new beer that’s be aged for six months in one tequila and six bourbon barrels. Plus you’ll get to check out the all-too-lovely The Kings Arms in Bethnal Green.
Free, 6pm, The Kings Arms Pub, 11A Buckfast Street, Bethnal Green, E2 6EY.


London beer week brewhouse islington

The Big Flavour Beer Dinner

Enjoy a tasting with head brewer Pete Hughes of original house-brewed Brewhouse & Kitchen beers plus adventurous international guest beers from the experts at Boutique Bar Brands. They will be matched with chef’s seven-course taster dinner.
£25, 7.30pm, Brewhouse and Kitchen Islington, Torrens Street, EC1V 1NQ.


London beer week crate brewery

Meet The Brewer with CRATE Brewery

Whether you’re an experienced home brewer or simply an enthusiastic craft beer drinker you’ll love the in-depth knowledge and comedy stylings of CRATE brewers Calum Bennet and Mark Peather at this special event. CRATE will also be taking over the taps at the Windsor Castle with their wide range of cask and kegged beers for your pleasure. And if you’ve never been to CRATE, you better believe you’ll want to go now.
Free, 7pm, The Windsor Castle, 135 Lower Clapton Road, E5 8EQ.


london beer week the hops and glory

Brewery Launch at The Hops & Glory

One of the best pubs London has to offer has decided to launch its very own ON-SITE brewery. You’ll get to taste the beginning of their upcoming range of beers ranging from crisp, clean Pale Ales to Belgian Tripels.
Free, 8pm, The Hops & Glory, 382 Essex Road, Islington.


London beer week beekeeper#BeeFactFriday Meet The Beekeeper and Hiver Tasting

Beers + bees = one hell of a buzz. Hiver Beers Founder, Hannah Rhodes, will be introducing Barnaby Shaw of Bee Urban London, who will offer an insight into the life of urban beekeeping and answering any questions you might have. There’ll be bee suits to try on, honeys to sample, a beehive to peer into and of course samples of award-winning Hiver for LBW wristband holders to enjoy.
Free, 7.30pm, Translate, 12-14 Kingsland Road, E2 8DA.


london beer week craft beer rising

Craft Beer Rising

Now this list wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t include Craft Beer Rising. 70 breweries, 450 different beers, and an onslaught of adventurous innovations and bold new flavours. Expect more craft beer than you could ever imagine (duh), lots of smoky street food, and a party pumping with DJs spinning tunes all weekend long.
Tickets £18.70-£22. Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL.


The Sun Tavern London Beer Week

The Sun Tavern

go and check out one of our favourite east London haunts and sip down on Camden Town Brewery’s Pale Ale for £3 … until its gone. Or have a boilermaker and try poitin (it’s like Irish moonshine) with half a beer for just a fiver.

big easy covent gardenBig Easy Covent Garden

Big, bold and beautiful — this Americana-styled hot spot has won the hearts of Covent Garden dwellers with its saucy ribs and frosty beers. Come by for £3 Meantime Brewery Fresh London Lager.

The Blues Kitchen ShoreditchThe Blues Kitchen — Shoreditch

A temple to the coolest B’s in the book: blues, BBQ and booze. Drop in for a taste of Innis and Gunn Original. And if we were you, we’d DEFINITELY upgrade to the £5 Woodford Reserve boilermaker.

Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar Hawksmoor Spitalfields

An underground haven for all things meat and booze. This is a sophisticated Spitalfields spot that’s just the right amount of trendy — with bang on burgers and BBQ too. Order yourself a bottle of Hibernation White IPA to go with those meaty eats.

Oskar's Bar in Dabbous interiorOskar’s Bar in Dabbous

A cocktail master, Oskar knows how to churn out some of the tastiest hoptails in town. Keep it simple and order the Pale Ale OR upgrade to The Drink With No Name, made with Woodford Reserve bourbon, greengage, ginger ale, lemon and Einstök pale ale.

The Cocktail Trading Company interior


The Cocktail Trading Company

Cosy pub vibes, party drinks and an intimate atmosphere tucked underneath Central & Co. This tiny basement bar is an incredible addition to the Soho drinking scene, and you need to swing by for their hoptail Boiler Baker (only a bang for your buck fiver!).

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips

The 6 Best Valentine’s Day Events in London

Well it’s that time of year again. The day when loved up couples get extra mushy gushy and those who are single are also ready to mingle. But whether you’re attached or flying solo, we’ve rounded up the best ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day (or Anti-Valentine’s Day, as is becoming increasingly popular).

Loves Company Tinder Surprise cocktail1. Valentine’s Week at Loves Company

Loves Company are making cupid work extra hard this Valentine’s Day by hosting a whole week of celebrations, from 9-15 February. On Friday the 13th, it’s a night dedicated to the “Unlucky in Love” – an evening for those of us who are, let’s say, romantically challenged. Share your most embarrassing date story @LovesCompany #crymeariver and the top five worst will win a free cocktail. On 14 February, they’ll be hosting a masquerade ball – so you can drink, dance and debauch your way into total delirium at this freaky affair for star-crossed lovers. Plus “Lovely Hour” will happen every day from 7pm – 9pm, in which the classic cocktail menu will be 2-for-1 – that’s a drink for you and a free drink for your luvah …
9-15 February.
104 City Road, EC1V 2NR.

Bounce Ping Pong Holborn2. Anti-Valentine Party at Bounce

Spend the night wielding paddles in a room full of single Londoners. Get your head out of the gutter! It’s a massive ping pong party with DJs spinning tunes all night. Expect live entertainment, free ping-pong and one hell of a party.
Saturday 14 February. Doors at 8:30pm, party until 3am.
£5 for early bird tickets, £7 for standard tickets. 121 Holborn, EC1N 2TD.

BASEMENT SATE Soho cocktails dessert3. Valentine’s Day at Basement Sate

Soho’s sweetest spot is a dessert-cum-cocktail bar, and you can get a triple hit of puddings with matching cocktails for just £38 a head.
8 Broadwick Street, SohoW1F 8HN.

The Running Horse Sausage Making4. Sausage-Making Masterclass at The Running Horse

Guided by the TRH chefs, you’ll get a step-by-step tutorial on creating the perfect banger. Whether it’s a long and thin pepperoni or a long and wide bratwurst, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. You’ll kick things off with a glass of fizz, followed by cocktails and on-theme canapés. Stuffing the skins is definitely a two person job: squeeze too hard and your bratwurst may burst, not enough pressure can lead to a limp larry (and no one likes a limp larry). You’ll get to take away your creations and the chefs will decide which couple has the finest banger. The winners will win their very own sausage maker – so you can practise your handiwork back at home.
Masterclasses start at 10am, Saturday 14 February.
Tickets are £60 a head and include a glass of champagne, a Valentine’s cocktail, canapés, lunch and a glass of wine … your loved one could do a lot wurst!
50 Davies Street, Mayfair, W1K 5JE.

Broken Hearts and Promises5. Broken Hearts and Promises Pop-Up

A one night only pop-up in a 500-capacity townhouse, Meredith Bespoke returns after the Nordic Yulefest and is bringing everyone together for this special night. Expect an evening of laughter, cocktails, love and disco, with five themed rooms including a pop-up Lulu Guinness Kissing Booth, a luxurious cinema space and heart-shaped piñatas with prizes up for grabs.
Saturday 14 February. Doors at 6.30pm.
Early Bird tickets are priced at £15. Standard tickets are £20.
Bloomsbury House, 2-3 Bloomsbury Square, WC1 2RL.

The Alchemist smokey old fashioned6. Matchmaking Mixology at The Alchemist

Get a bit experimental this Valentine’s Day, and learn how to spark a chemical reaction and create your own cocktails. In a 90-minute masterclass, you’ll work side-by-side with the talented bartenders to learn how to make their show-stopping creations. You’ll be treated to demonstrations on the bar’s three most sought-after libations: the Smokey Old Fashioned (bourbon and bitters with maple syrup and oak smoke), the French Martini (Green Mark Russian Vodka and Chambord with cranberry juice and pineapple foam) and a Passionfruit Mojito (Havana Club rum with passion fruit, lime and mint).
Saturday 14 February at 3pm. £30 per person.
6 Bevis Marks, EC3A 7BA.

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips

The 7 Best Alternative Christmas Events in London 2014

Grotto Outre Christmas pop up

1. Grotto Outré

This is a wholly different kind of Christmas pop-up. Enter through an icy kingdom where the stairway to Outré awaits. All week long Grotto Outré is giving you something special: kicking off with Festive Film Nights on Mondays, Bingo Bonanza on Tuesdays, Quizmas Wednesdays and on Throwback Thursdays the reigns are handed over to you to control the playlist, find the magical track and banish Scrooges ghost’s forever to win an Outré prize. On Fridays and Saturdays expect outrageous club nights with UK DJs including Grotto resident Mrs Claws, and when the jingle bells chime, be ready to Swap-a-HoHo – stay close to that festive washing line as an item of clothing must be exchanged. On Sundays, recharge with Smokin’ Bloody Marys and live acoustic tunes. If you’re good, then you get Christmassy cocktails like Mince Pie Martinis — made with mince mix, toffee vodka, plum, apricot, lemon and a touch of sugar. Or get a bit vegetal with The Fairy’s Kiss — a mix of gin, petit pois, lemon, sugar, cranberry sauce, cranberry and apple.  And if you want to go “Off Your Sled”, you can throw back a shot of tequila, cinnamon and a slice of orange.
Tickets range from £10 to £35.
28 November-21 December. Red Gallery, 1-3 Rivington Street, EC2A 3DT.

Hot Tub Cinema crowd2. Ho-Ho-Hot Tub Christmas

Hot tubs. Cinema. Music. Dancing. This is Christmas on another level. Grab a few mates and book a whole tubs (or risk it for a biscuit and make some new friends). If you like a bit more adventure and debauchery for your movie night out, then this is it. From screenings of Elf to Gremlins to Die Hard to Love Actually, there’s a taste of something for everyone. And if you love some karaoke, then book in for 14 December and sing your heart out with lucky voice. There’s plenty to drink and nibbles to eat, plus the end of the night usually results in an impromptu hot tub dance party. Never been to one? Well now’s your chance.
Individual tickets are £35.
2-18 December. Former Shoreditch Underground station, E1 5ER.

the little match girl passion and karolaoke3. the little match girl passion + Karolaoke

This ain’t your average Christmas concert, Opera Erratica and The Coveryard are putting on an all-interactive music theatre EXTRAVAGANZA. Staging an all-night transition from winter cold and isolation to warmth and festive cheer. Expect plenty of sing-a-long pop and classical crossover covers as well as carol arrangements.
Tickets are £15 (£18 on the door).
11-12 December, 7.30pm. Shapes, 117 Wallis Road, E9 5LN.

Nordic Yulefest pop up4. Nordic Yulefest

Things have gone a bit Scandi in London this Christmas season, and this one in particular is going all out. Expect a birch tree-filled fairyland with sheepskin-laden nooks, marzipan pigs and the charismatic Tomte (or Santa Claus as some may call him) leading the festivities. Your ticket will include a Christmas cocktail, four courses of Nordic feasting, games, dancing and plenty of unbridled tomfoolery. And if you just want the frolicking, then book yourself a “Late Night Frolic” ticket for £20 — lets you in after the eating and lets you stay for all the partying.
Brunch is £55 a head. Dinner is £75 a head. 
6-21 December. Every Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner. 1 Kingsland Road, E2 8AA.

Palace of the Snow Queen Christmas Cabaret5. Palace of the Snow Queen

It’s a Cabaret-cum-circus in a secret Shoreditch location. From wintery themed décor to gourmet winter fare to theatrical circus and cabaret performances, this is a one-stop shop.
Standard ticket is £79. Show and after-party only is £25.
4-19 December. 6pm-2am. Secret location.

Pop Up Screens6. Pop-Up Screens

An inside-out cinema, where the wardrobe is outside (aka the entryway) and the snow is IN. Screening films like National Lampoons: Chrismas Vacation to the Muppets Christmas Carol to Trading Places — you can go family-friendly or a bit edgy. There will be typical cinema treats like popcorn and bags of sweets. And also, there will be snow. Inside. Snow inside.
Tickets are £20.
12-23 December. 1pm and 8:30pm screenings. 20th Century Theatre, 291 Westbourne Grove, W11 2QA.

Somerset House Skate7. Skate At Somerset House

Now this might seem more classical than alternative, but with club nights, an après-skate lounge and Glad Tidings Tuesdays — you’ll do a bit more than just glide around in circles. Oh, and did we mention this is probably the most beautiful ice rink in London? Well now we did.
Tickets from £7.50.
11 November-11 January. Somerset House, The Strand, WC2R 1LA.

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips

La Maison Rémy Martin

La Maison Rémy MartinA members’ only pop-up bar for art lovers and booze lovers alike. Oh yes, it is real. Welcome to La Maison Rémy Martin: a two-week-long, four-storey, fun house in Soho where you can sip down bespoke cocktails created by five of London’s most talented bartenders.

To drink, you’re in great hands: from the Artesian’s Alex Kratena to Alastair Burgess of Happiness Forgets. Whatever creation you get, it’ll be damn tasty. The food menu comes courtesy of Ottolenghi. And if you haven’t experienced his cooking yet, well … you’re in for a treat. On the culture side of things, head over for one of the workshops. One in particular that piqued our interest is the Joseph Lukes Guitars session, where Luke will demonstrate the importance of wood and its aging process by constructing a handmade “Grand Concert Guitar” using Rémy Martin French Limousin oak. Members will be taken through the unique production of the instrument as well as being able to experience how the sound of a guitar changes depending on wood, age, source and density.

It’s invitation only (and we were lucky enough to get a sneak peak). But they’ve kindly extended out that invitation and are selection a lucky 100 people to become members during the next two weeks, just apply online and cross your fingers.

Best Bars tip: This place is perfect for celebrity spotting, so be sure to wear your finest digs.

25 November – 6 December. 19 Greek Street, W1D 4DT.

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips

La Maison Rémy Martin London

The Site Office

The Site Office pop up BirminghamBirmingham is harbouring a deliciously stylish password-only pop-up, The Site Office, in which exposed brickwork, candlelit cubby holes and Chesterfields are de rigueur.

With a spirit offering befitting of its industry-insider crowd, if you can get it, try the Black Cow — that’s vodka made from Cornish cows’ milk to you and me. Another Site Office must-try is sherry cask-aged dark rum in the form of the inimitable Dos Maderas, hidden in the defilade of a woodwork project, posing as a bar.

With guest DJs that will keep you vertical until past bedtime, make your arrival no earlier than 10pm and enthusiastically wave goodbye to that last train home.

Best Bars tip: Follow, like and generally stalk The Site Office on Facebook to find out about future events. Or if you are impatient like us, hire the whole thing and throw yourself a humdinger of a private party.

– Katy Drohan,

The Site Office pop up Birmingham

London’s 9 Best Winter Pop-Ups: Snow Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum

Archer Street Soho Piste pop up

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.York and Albany Winter Cabin pop up
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.

Winter Wonderland performer

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.

Winterville Victoria Park market4. 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.

Sweder Christmas pop up5. 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.

Floridita Ski Chalet6. 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. 

Coq d'argent spiced almond cocktail7. 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. 

Skylounge Viking Bar Pop Up8. 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.

Alexander and James presents Christmas with the ivy9. 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

Pickle Jar Pop-Up at The Well

pickle jar pop up the well clerkenwellIf you want to know a little thing about us, it’s that we absolutely LOVE picklebacks. We can’t resist a shot of smooth bourbon chased with some sharp and delicious pickle juice. So when we heard there was a pop-up called the Pickle Jar opening, well … you could say we were pretty excited.

To drink, isn’t it obvious? Picklebacks. You should have a few. But since you can’t spend the whole night throwing back shots (that’s just irresponsible), order yourself some shrub cocktails. They’re vinegar based, but have a rich moreishness that you can’t resist. If you need to satisfy that sweet tooth, try the Corn Star Martini (a bourbon twist on a 90s classic).

Tucked underground, this cosy cocktail den is all about the bourbon — it is a Buffalo Trace pop-up. They’ve amped up the atmosphere with a wood-heavy room and authentic whisky barrels galore.

Best Bars tip: Looking for a private party space that’s slightly off piste? Look no further, get all your mates and/or colleagues into the pickling fun.

Wed-Thurs: 5pm-12am; Fri-Sat: 5pm-1am. The Well, 180 St John Street, EC1V 4JY.  

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips

Pickle Jar at The Well Corn Star Martini