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Archive for June, 2011

Animated GIFs

These are superb: http://www.coolhunting.com/tech/cinemagraphs.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ch+%28Cool+Hunting%29

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Came across this via TheLondinist  – It’s a map of every listed building in England

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I found this squirrel in Greenwich Park. There are hundreds of them, and they’re tame enough to eat out of your hand.

Greenwich Park Squirrel

Greenwich Park Squirrel

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So this has got me really excited,  and provides yet another reason to go to the wonderful city of Paris.  David Lynch has designed a new venue that will include not only a  club., but also features a concert hall, a cinema, an art library, a restaurant and a cocktail bar. The venue will be called “Silencio”, and is named after the bar in Mullholland Drive, and opens in mid-June.

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From Richard Wiseman’s excellent blog  – Elmo takes a tumble..

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Cocktails in London

As my first post on this blog, i wanted to consolidate a list of my favourite cocktail bars in London,. There are plenty of these lists out there, and no doubt much repetition, but i’ve been asked a number of times now for a list, so here goes..

As Frank Sinatra said: “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.”

Cocktails as we all know are a fabulous opportunity to consume alcohol in a way that feels grown up and sophisticated, and which conjure images of fabulous hotels, smoky rooms, Frankie, and dames.  Unfortunately or fortunately given the dangers of second hand smoke, and the associated dry-cleaning bill, those days are long gone.

That doesn’t mean the spirit (no pun intended) is dead, and there are number of places in London that provide creative and refreshing libations in an atmosphere to suit.

NightJar

This 1920s styled bar near the Old Street roundabout provides a dark, welcoming retreat from the craziness above.  Most nights have live music, and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. There’s also a selection of small tapas, which are probably too expensive and greasy for what you get, but pleasant enough with a drink. The cocktails are not the best i’ve ever had, but the atmosphere is great once there’s a band going and it’s filled up. Don’t be tempted to go too early. Book a table for shortly before the band starts, and then it’s great..

Experimental Cocktail Club

Based on Gerrard street in Soho, you know the one, with all the Chinese restaurants on it in China town,  this 2 level bar above the street is reached through a small unmarked door, given away by the large surly bouncer in front of it. Once inside however it’s very cool and funky with 2 bars available upstairs and down. The cocktails are rather more expensive than most places, starting around the £10 mark, but they’re made with high end ingredients. The music is R&B/funky, and it’s generally quite a relaxed and convivial, although perhaps a bit trendy..

Callooh Callay

Based on Rivington Street, a few doors down from Cargo, and just off Curtain road, this Lewis Carol inspired bar is typically Shoreditch, without being too up its own a***.  They obviously really care about their craft here, and change the menu regularly,  providing strong drinks, and sourcing rare and interesting spirits from around the World to go in them..   Other than the cocktails, the décor is the real star here; large lamps, colourful walls, and a large wardrobe, the door to which takes you in to a back-room, in true Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe style.  I also really like the use of cassettes on the walls of the gents for wallpaper!

Purl

I don’t actually believe this place exists, as I’ve tried to go 4 times now, and every time it’s been closed, or has had private parties going on. It’s in Marylebone, just behind The Wallace Collection, and is supposed to be on a prohibition tip.. If you can get in, go and tell me what it’s like!

Worship Street Whistling Club

Haven’t been here yet, but planning to soon. It’s the sister venue to Purl, and has recently opened on the fringes of the City.

Lounge Bohemia

A great little bar on Curtain road, just round the corner form The Drunken Monkey Dim Sum restaurant, and down the stairs through a small door next to the newsagents. Not the easiest place to find, and with stairs that would be difficult for a girl in heels, or a man with new leather soled shoes (experience tells me this, sadly!). The shtick here is communist bloc Eastern Europe.  It’s very very small, and it’s advisable to reserve a table, but if you can get a nook, it’s a great 1st or 2nd date place. Good cocktails, slightly surly staff, but a really different place to go on a date..

69 Colebrooke

I’ve been to this Islington bar a couple of times now (located towards the green, past the Tesco, and on the right), and my perception of it has chaged considerably in the time it’s been open.  The first thing to say is it’s absolutely tiny; maybe 25 covers, and the cocktails re amazing. Chief mixologist Tony Conigliaro presides over an innovative cocktail list, and you probably won’t find many better in London. Unfortunately it’s just too small for me.  The tables are very close together, and the atmosphere is just lacking something. They have however just opened a new place called The Zetter Townhouse, in Clerkenwell, and which I hope to visit soon. The other thing i would recommend is the cocktail master-classes they do. Based around a theme (e.g this month is Japanese cocktails), they take you and a small class through all of the steps to create wonderful cocktails yourself at home.

Downstairs at HIX Soho (Mark’s Bar)

Based under the Hix restaurant (also very good), this members bar style bar is a great place to escape the noise of Soho.. It’s a condition of licence that they serve food here, so sitting at the bar means you are given Twiglets. The cocktails are extraordinarily good, the atmosphere like being in a mate’s posh home, and the bar staff are ex Hawksmoor, so it’s good fun. They also have great glass-ware, that I’m very jealous of; chunky cut-glass.. Great place to take a date..

Loungelover

Style over substance – Based behind Bethnal Green road, this place has been trendy for years, and was made even trendier when Madonna had her 50th birthday party here. It’s a great place to come for one on your way somewhere else, but i personally find the bar staff hugely pretentious, and the cocktails mediocre and a bit soapy. The decor is the real star here, designed by the 3 owners and antique dealers. They also own the restaurant Les Trois Garcons, and the new defunct Annex 3.

Hawksmoor

Quite simply my favourite restaurant in London. originally a single outpost on Commercial Street, and now one in Covent Garden (opposite Pineapple Studios), and one forthcoming near Guildhall in the City; the food and the cocktails are stunning. The bar staff are fun and engaging, and really know their stuff.  Even if you aren’t hungry, come here for a drink. You really won’t be disappointed, and if you are hungry and can get a table, and aren’t offended by huge slabs of perfectly crooked meat, you’ll have one of the most amazing meals you’ve ever had. I’ll do a post on restaurants soon, but this is definitely a must!!

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