The Handbook
The Handbook

Over the last few weeks we’ve witnessed London remerge from lockdown, with businesses reopening and welcoming customers back. Back in May, Sadiq Khan announced that certain areas of London would be becoming pedestrianised to help encourage visitors back into restaurants, bars and shops, with many opening up shop and filling the streets with outdoor seating.

If you’re looking to find new alfresco dining spots or just want to get back out and explore the best of the city safely, here are some of our favourite spots to be newly pedestrianised.

Covent Garden

The theatreland of London, Covent Garden is a magical spot home to some of the best West End theatres, glorious dining spots and street performers in the piazza. No matter the time of year it’s filled with tourists in awe of its beauty so it only seems natural that areas of Covent Garden have been pedestrianised for the summer season. 

Some of the streets proposed to be temporarily pedestrianised and extension of foot pathways include Henrietta Street, Maiden Street, King Street, St Martin’s Lane, Southampton Street and Floral Street.

Eat At

The Oysterman: There’s no better place than The Oysterman in Covent Garden to get your seafood fix. Enjoy the fresh oysters, Devon brown crab or go to town and order in the catch of the day or seafood platter, perfect for sharing alfresco alongside a glass of bubbly. 

Sushisamba: Sit back and relax on SUSHISAMBA’s stylish terrace. The restaurant has become renowned for its jungle inspired interiors and fresh sushi, head on down to try it out for yourself in the restaurant or get a takeout and enjoy a seat at Covent Garden’s new rainbow seating area. 

Petersham Nurseries: Drawing inspiration from their Richmond grounds, Petersham Nurseries’ Covent Garden location has opened up their outdoor terrace, a space home to potted foliage and cosy tables. Book in for a treat at La Goccia, the restaurant specialising in large grills and wood fired dishes.

Drink At

Balthazar: Handbook favourite, Balthazar is home to exceptional brunch, lunch and dinner options but we want to steer your attention to their drinks menu, more specifically The Manhattan Hour menu. Channeling their American heritage, order in one of their city renowned Manhattan’s, there’s ten different options to choose from.

VyTA: Known best for its stylish turquoise interiors and Italian fused menu, VyTA is also home to a beautiful Italian cocktail bar and outdoor area. Settle in for an afternoon and enjoy one of their signature cocktails in the sun.

Soho

2020 is the summer of alfresco dining and we wouldn’t want to head anywhere other than Soho’s Summer Street Festival. 

Famed for its wild party life and Michelin restaurants, Soho has become a much adored segment of the city. Across the whole of Soho, 17 streets are joining in with their summer initiative allowing passersby to sink a pint or two in one of the local boozers or to indulge in a three course meal from one of the exceptional dining establishments. The initiative runs from 11am on weekends and from 5pm on weekdays.

Some of the streets getting involved include Greek Street, Old Compton Street, Dean Street, Firth Street and Bateman Street.

Eat At

Lina Stores: I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t fallen in love with Lina Stores’ story. The classic pistachio hued restaurant and deli was born in 1944 and has become a favourite for a light lunch or somewhere to stock up for cheese and charcuterie nights. Explore the best this summer, alfresco. 

Barrafina: Those on the search for traditional Spanish tapas should head over to Soho favourite, Barrafina. Expect marble countertops, exceptional food and great Spanish wines on offer.

Randall & Aubin: For a seafood hit, head over to Randall & Aubin. The menu is inspired by French and British classics, just perfect for a summer alfresco dinner.

Drink At

Bar Italia: Enjoy a little slice of Italy when you enjoy a drink of cocktail or two at Bar Italia. A fellow colleague claims that they serve up the best late night espresso martini, head on down to try one out for yourself.

Bar Swift: Head over to Old Compton Street for an award-winning cocktail from Bar Swift. Expect stylish interiors, a lovely outdoor space and the best Old Fashioned in London.

Seven Dials

Seven Dials has partnered up with Camden Council to pedestrianise some of the prettiest corners of London. Taking place from early August, 10am-6pm, the area will be allowing guests and visitors to stroll through the streets with ease, comfort and adhering to government guidelines on social distance. 

The famous Neal’s Yard will also be running on a one way street system, helping to encourage social distancing where possible. Alfresco dining is still in the works but watch this space and you might be enjoying a delicious steak from Hawksmoor alfresco style before you know it. 

Eat At

Hawksmoor: If steak is your meal of choice then you can’t go wrong with a meal at Hawksmoor. 

Monmouth Kitchen: Blending the boundaries of culinary flavours, Monmouth Kitchen mixes Italian classics with contemporary Peruvian flavours. It might sound odd but the delicate balance works beautifully. 

Rosa’s Thai Kitchen: Born out of a love for authentic Thai cuisine and local, seasonal ingredients, Rosa’s Thai Kitchen is the place to head for the best summer rolls and homemade Sriracha sauce (which if you want the recipe you can recreate with their cookbook).

Drink At 

Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels: Enjoy a glass or two of your favourite at Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels. The French-inspired bar, restaurant and delicatessen is home to over 400 bottles of handpicked wines, so you know you’re in good hands here.  

The Escapologist: If you like your tipple with a side of theatrics head on over to the Escapologist, the eccentric bar behind the Adventure Bar and Dub Jam team. Their reopening date is yet to be announced.

Wandsworth Town

Home to The Handbook offices, Old York Road in Wandsworth Town is a pretty corner of London that’s been pedestrianised for the summer season. Head on down and explore the best of the area, from exploring the food and drinks scene, to picking up deli classics from Bayley & Sage.

Eat At

Brew: A Handbook favourite, Brew is your local all-day dining spot on Old York Road. Serving up a mix of brunch classics, we’d recommend you get your hands on the Turkish eggs, a mix of poached eggs, hung yogurt and hot chilli butter served with toasted pide (the best kind of bread).

Konnigans: Head on over to Konnigans for a hearty lunch or grab a bottle of the house and enjoy people watching along Wandsworth Town. 

Chit Chaat Chai: Get your Indian street food fix courtesy of Chit Chaat Chai. Delighting in their small plate style menu is a must, a favourite in our office is their samosa chaat.

Drink At

Gails: Those looking for a softer option, head on over to London’s favourite bakery, Gails. Serving up some of the best coffees, cakes and everything in between, there’s no better spot to while away your afternoon or hot desk at. 

The Alma: Just off the main high street, The Alma Pub & Hotel is more than just your traditional pub. Sit in and order one of their ales or order a bottle of your favourite for the table and enjoy the summer season in style. They’ve also got stylish rooms if you fancy a city staycation. 

Marylebone

Slotted just moments from Oxford Street, Marylebone is home to green spaces, stylish boutiques and has become a hub for cultural and lifestyle events. Both New Quebec Street and Seymour Place have been pedestrianised for the summer to become a new go-to alfresco dining spot. Alongside these two streets, many in the area have also had pathways extended to help promote social distancing and encourage goers back into the lively area.

Eat At

Daisy Green: Get your brunch fix courtesy of Daisy Green, the restaurant inspired by Australia’s bright food and coffee culture. Book in for one of their bottomless brunches and feast on the likes of smashed avocado sandwiches, sweetcorn fritters or ‘the bondi’, an Ozzy inspired English breakfast. 

Lurra: Basque grill, Lurra has reopened bringing with it their charcoaled and wood grilled dishes. Focused on maintaining their quality and the quality of their meats, the restaurant uses breeds of cattle that are older, helping to enhance the flavour and texture of the cut of meat.

Boxcar: Dedicated to using ethically-sourced produce from British farmers, Boxcar’s Bar & Restaurant on New Quebec Street is the perfect spot for outdoor dining and delighting in delicious dishes made using quality ingredients. From grilled fish to homemade pies, tuck in for a treat and a half.

Drink At

The Grazing Goat: Those on the search for an upmarket traditional pub should head over to and enjoy a cold pint or glass of wine at Marylebone’s The Grazing Goat. Their Sunday roasts are seriously delicious too.

Seymour’s Parlour: It’s just off the two pedestrianised streets on Seymour Street  but we couldn’t not include. Head over to Seymour’s Parlour, reopening 2nd September, for faultless cocktails each and every time. The menu has been designed with charm thrown in, expressed through the illustrated menu and the presentation of the cocktails as they arrive at your table.