The dreary, dark days are really setting in now, so what better way to lift spirits than a welcoming, warm winter pop-up offering something fun, festive and usually booze filled (The Handbook reminds you to drink responsibly…). Here’s our guide to the best for 2015:
The Zetter Hotel
Farringdon (London) (0.2 miles)
What: French American street food
Why: The Handbook still remembers Le Bun’s Autumn Winter Le Brunch residency at Old Bengal Warehouse like it was yesterday – seriously yummy chicken and waffles, their Le Benedict Bun and Bloody Mary’s galore. Now the boys are back at Zetter Townhouse in Clerkenwell for Le Zetter at Le Bun, serving up seriously yummy street food in style – expect new dishes including Le Bun Hot Wings, The Fillet Cheese Plate and Pig Cheek Hash as well brilliant cocktails including a Chipotle Cheeseburger Bloody Marie with mini burger!
Where: St John's Square, 86-88 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1M 5RJ
Victorian Circus at The Gun
What: Victorian Circus
Why: Award-winning gastropub The Gun has teamed up with the delightfully curious Hendrick’s gin to transform the riverside marquee into a Victorian big top circus. There’ll be weird and wonderful carnival games, taxidermy, candy floss and popcorn machines as well as a private bar, perfect for exclusive events and special parties. Try one of the exclusive Hendrick’s winter cocktails – The Handbook recommends the Hot Elderflower Toddy, because we’re weak in the knees when it comes to elderflower!
Where: The Gun, 27 Coldharbour, Docklands, E14 9NS
Forest Restaurant & Cabin Bar
What: Starlit rooftop restaurant
Why: The latest installment from Des Mcdonald to take over Selfridges’ rooftop, Forest will serve hearty comfort food and seasonal cocktails this winter, all beneath a simply stunning starry sky – ideal for romantic dinner dates we think. The décor is inspired by an autumnal forest, while the menu nods to the theme – think Truffled mushroom risotto, Wild Highland deer fillet with kale and elderberry sauce and a Chocolate Forest for dessert. Have a Hansel & Gretel cocktail to start – whisky, Drambuie, Orgeat syrup, ginger, clementine juice and Peychaud bitters – with some of the Ancient loaf and churned butter.
Where: Selfridges, Marylebone, W1A 1AB
Sipsmith Ski Lodge at The Well
What: Pop-up ski lodge
Why: Launching on Thursday 19 November, popular neighbourhood gastro-pub The Well has teamed up with West London distillery Sipsmith to offer you a traditional alpine ski lodge in the heart of Clerkenwell. Relax in comfy armchairs amidst a beautiful alpine backdrop and enjoy a selection of Sipsmith’s winter cocktails – Dainty Damsel anyone? There will also be a range of seasonal canapés and sharing bowl foods to tuck into, great for groups.
Where: The Well, 180 John Street, Clerkenwell, EC1V 4JY
Tokyo Nights, Shoreditch
What: Japan meets London
Why: East London favourite, Night Tales, is taken on Eastern influences this winter, inspired by the streets of Japan following a research trip to Tokyo. Delivering a real and authentic interpretation of the city, the pop-up will run for eight weeks, bringing you four new concept bars, six new food offerings and eight private Ryokans (that’s Japanese houses to your simple folk!), which are perfect for group bookings, special occasions and Christmas party shenanigans!
Where: 299 Old Street, Shoreditch, EC1V 9LA
Canary Wharf (0.2 miles)
What: Canary Wharf turns Alpine
Why: Plateau are going off-piste and converting their terrace into a chic Alpine retreat in the heart of Canary Wharf. Vintage ski props will adorn the walls and luxurious furry blankets will be available to snuggle in while sipping on a winter-warming hot toddy. Overlooking the Canary Wharf ice rink, it’s the perfect destination to head to pre or post-skate, setting the ultimate winter wonderland backdrop for your Christmas and New Year party plans. And it’s open until the end of February, so great for cosy Valentine’s dates too.
Where: 4th Floor, Canada Place London, E14
What: You should really know by now…
Why: Because it’s one of London’s best winter pop-ups, like, ever. Coq d’Argent’s Lodge d’Argent is a luxurious Alpine retreat tucked away in the rooftops of London’s skyline. Think twinkling lights, frosted Christmas trees and rafts of wintry ferns lining the intimate heated terrace seven floors up in the heart of the City. Head chef Damien Rigollet is serving up various spins on the much-loved and carb-filled Tartiflette inspired by the classic French Alps dish: think black truffle, sweet potato and wild mushrooms. The Handbook recommends the Avalanche cocktail to go alongside.
Where: No1 Poultry, London, EC2R 8EJ
York & Albany
Camden Town (0.4 miles)
What: A cosy chalet in Islington
Why: Nestled in the cosy courtyard of Gordon Ramsay’s York & Albany townhouse, the Winter Chalet pop-up is only moments from Regent’s Park, ideal for snuggle-worthy winter tipples after a crisp winters walk through the London park. Wrap up in luxurious blankets and order comforting potions of raclette, venison kromeski and rainbow trout with horseradish mousse. A Winter Spiced Old Fashioned is Christmas in a glass, made with York & Albany’s home-infused vodka. Open now until the end of February, it’s your go to snowy shelter throughout the long dark days and nights.
Where: 127-129 Parkway, London
What: An enchanted forest in Clapham
Why: What exactly is it about forests that make for such inviting festive pop-ups? Whilst we would never normally venture into a deep, dark forest, sling up a few fairy lights and plonk it in Clapham and it suddenly seems a whole lot more appealing. For a limited time only (10 days) an enchanted forest will descend upon The Phoenix, bringing with it cocktails and brand new flavours of J₂O – Midnight Forest and Midnight Amber. Enchanted forests finally make sense.
Where: 348 Clapham Rd, London, Clapham, SW9 9AR
What: Annual festive favourite
Why: Winterville at Victoria Park is the ever-so-slightly understated (and therefore edgy) East London festive experience returning for it’s second season. As well as street food, expect club nights, cabaret and comedy and a Snow White Christmas Panto for the kids. Wondering where ‘cosy’ comes in? A debut showing of ‘The Winter Night Garden’ is accessible by a secret tunnel of trees where sofas and beanbags provide a comfy setting for showings of Christmas classics including Love Actually, Frozen, Home Alone and Elf.
Where: Victoria Park, Grove Road, Bow, E3 5TB