1 | For Summertime Tipples: Cocktails In The City (above)
Rather than selecting just one bar to have a drink in, Bedford Square Gardens will have 25 all in the same place this weekend; you’re sorted. This Georgian square is not just a relaxing environment but is conveniently placed, slap bang in the centre of town. Top London bars will be setting up camp in it, with mixologists from The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz hotel, The Lucky Pig, Coq D’Argent, The Alchemist, Rev JW Simson and Hawksmoor Spitalfields, among many more.
Offerings will range from traditional champagne cocktails to espresso martinis, to peculiar beer creations and slushies, with plenty of theatrics. Everything will be accompanied by DJs and live music from the likes of popular jazz band, Kansas Smitty’s, with pulled pork and boozy gelato to keep you going. With the additional promise of some immersive and interactive experiences, we bear no responsibility for what happens when you arrive, but reports from the last one of these are glowing. And with that many barmen in one place, how bad can it be?
Tickets cost £15
Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3ES; cocktailsinthecity.co.uk/london
2 | For Your New Favourite: The Richmond
Copyright: Ed Reeve
The latest Hackney hangout for those of a culinary persuasion can be found on a virtually barren stretch of road, somewhere between Haggerston and Dalston Junction stations. But, like elsewhere in East London, this is a real foodie treat and more than worth a visit. In fact, it should be at the top of your list and the fractionally incongruous surroundings, weirdly, give it a sort of charm; like a port in a storm. Having only opened in March, it is already a favourite among even vague residents, and has the low-key buzz of a pub’s dining room crossed with a modish secret member’s club. Not a whiff of uppishness though, and the staff are models of easy geniality.
Get in early for the Oyster Happy Hour (6 – 7 pm on weeknights, and 5 – 6 pm on Saturdays), when it’s a pound a shuck. Simply served with a slice of lemon and some optional garlic, you are supplied with an order form to choose where yours come from. Move onto any of the wonderfully fresh raw options among the starters – beautiful carpaccios and tartares accentuated by moreish flavours like aubergine, harrisa and mint, or oyster mayo. Mains range from the rich, spicy and soul-warming nduja seafood stew (complete with gigantic octopus tentacle draped on top, tender as you like), to simply served fish and to cheeseburgers or steaks for those needing real TLC. You can’t argue with the prices, and the wine list is a delight (as are the cocktails). A date night must.
316 Queensbury Road, London, E8 3NH; therichmondhackney.com
3 | BeachEast
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is now home to the UK’s largest urban beach. So if the seaside is just that bit too far and you need a dose of summer sun, then you need only head to the Stratford Waterfront, where 1000 tons of sand is ready and waiting for you until the end of August. How else should you while away your weekends in the heat?
Coconut Joe’s serves juices throughout the day, and cocktails and craft beers at night. You can get drinks at Pub Tropicana, too, and there will be various pop-up food stalls throughout the summer. This Tuesday saw the launch of the pétanque competition (to time with Bastille Day), which will run for the duration, and there are two full-sized beach volleyball courts in case you’re feeling really energetic.
10am – 10pm every day
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford Waterfront, London, E15 2DU; beacheast.co.uk
4 | For A Swine Dining Pop-Up: Oink
As you might have guessed, this pop-up is somewhat preoccupied by pork (so it should go without saying that you need to know your audience but, you know, we can’t be too careful…). And if you are a pig fan, then you’ll be happy as one of those tasty creatures rolling around in mud to know that a veritable celebration of them is being served up every Friday and Saturday, on Commercial Street.
Start off with a bacon-infused Bloody Mary before tucking into pigs cheek nuggets with black pudding, or crispy strips of skin with apple sauce. The mains include a pulled pork shoulder brioche bun, sticky Caribbean ribs, and The Hogfather: porchetta stuffed with roasted sage and prunes, with crispy skin and veal gravy. Cider, craft beer and a selection of wines will provide some much needed liquid refreshment from all the saltiness. Whilst subtlety is not such a theme here, deliciousness is an absolute given. Your mouth is watering already, we can tell.
Fridays and Saturdays, 7.30 – 11pm
Café from Crisis, 66 Commercial Street, London, E1 6LT; oink-swinedining.com