Swoosh, swoosh, not the sound of me as I carve my way down a freshly snowed-upon alp, but the sound of the wonky wheel on my Boris Bike as I glide toward one of London’s many apres ski bars.
Yes, you’re quite demonstrably not in Courcheval, braying with the smart set, but you’re also not several £k down or being heli-lifted from a mountainside with a fractured femur and dislocated shoulder. On balance, let’s hit the raclette in Chelsea.
The White Haus
The White Haus in Farringdon is an all-year-round perpetual ski chalet (no off-season mountain bikers here, thank you very much), and they take it all very seriously. So seriously that the Ski Club Of Great Britain support it and use it as a base for their events. Which is the highest praise possible, unless Eddie the Eagle applied to be the barman.
The highest praise possible, unless Eddie the Eagle applied to be the barman...
The timber-clad chalet-style bar is strewn with all the usual sheepskin throws, cuckoo clocks an random bits of ski equipment. You can even book a vintage cable car to eat in, just to feel at home. The menu of Germanic staples like schnitzel, pickles and sauerkraut as well as a an extensive bier list is a must.
Where: 17 Farringdon Street, Farringdon, EC4A 4AB
There’s a lot going on in Antigua and Barbuda; snorkelling, jet-skiing, sipping pina colada by the beach, but skiing? Not so much. So what do you do if you’ve a Caribbean-themed bar in Central London and suddenly it turns into winter? Archer Street have the answer.
Totally flip themes and embrace the alps, that’s what.
Archer Street has just done it’s annual transformation from beach shack to ski lodge and, of coursem=, they’ve called it ‘Piste’. Geddit?
Out with the palms and coconuts, and in with the antlers, the sheepskins and winter cocktails and not to forget the cheese and charcuterie plate and, presumably because the Alps also spans Italy, pizza.
Where: 3-4 Archer Street, Soho, W1D 7AP
The whole alpine thing isn’t just about skiing, you know; there’s skating too. Think Torvil and Dean, or that Bond film where Roger Moore gets amorous with a 15 year old (For Your Eyes Only). And where there’s skating there’s apres ski.
Still claiming to be the only rooftop ice rink in Europe (we think this might need fact-checking), at Skylight at Tobacco Dock you can skate with the city rising behind you before hitting up the lodges and igloos and indulging in some suitably alpine food.
There’s even curling!
Where: Tobacco Dock, Pennington Street entrance, St Katharine’s and Wapping, E1W 2SF
Le Pont de la Tour
The alps aren’t all gluewein, schnitzel and bratwurst, so stand aside for a French take on the alpine thing. And they’ve brought caviar.
Snuggle under a rug and look out at Tower Bridge at Le Pont de la Tour as you dine on a bottle of of Laurent Perrier Champagne and Kings’ caviar.
The Shad Thames restaurant’s French cuisine is superb, though sadly the cheese room does not seem to have made it into 2021.
Where: 36d Shad Thames, Butlers Wharf, SE1 2YE
Does alpine fever know no boundaries? Presumably it does now because it’s just avalanched all over the Boundary’s rooftop and there’s raclette, cheese fondue and tartiflette to prove it.
The heated terrace comes with an open fire pit, heated umbrellas, pyramid patio heaters, blankets and innovative heated seats, so clearly someone’s taking no chances with the weather.
There are skis on the walls, fairy lights and general alpine ephemera, it’s a good choice for some alpy fun.
Where: 2-4 Boundary Street, Shoreditch, E2 7DD
Farewell Savage Garden, guten tag Savage Schloss. Savage Garden have gone Austrian for the winter and everything’s suddenly a little bit von Trapp. But with booze. And, without all the children. Or the nuns. Whatever.
Inspired by the Austrian Alps, Savage Schloss transforms the rooftop bar into an alpine retreat, bringing all the raucous fun of a Germanic ski lodge to central London.
Everything’s suddenly a little bit Von Trapp. But with booze. And, without all the children. Or the nuns. Whatever...
During the daytime, guests can enjoy a traditional cozy après atmosphere complete with gingham curtains, boozy hot chocolate and Austrian-inspired comfort food. By night the bar will transform into a bench stomping playground with Steins of beer and maybe a bit of oumpa music…
Where: 7 Pepys Street, Tower Hill EC3N 4AF
Jimmy Garcia’s South Bank lodges are returning! The so-called king of pop-ups is back with his stylish ‘snow globes’ dotted along the Southbank.
The globes accommodate up to six guests, and the Thames-side experience will put you in the background of a record number of Insta posts as every tourist in the vicinity will be snapping shots of you through the Perspex.
The minimum spend is a punchy £600 for lunch or dinner...
The minimum spend is a punchy £600 for lunch or dinner, which means at least £100 a head on fondue, but the quality is pretty much guaranteed to make that worth it!
Where: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, Southbank, SE1 8XX
Hütte 31 at The Shangri La London At The Shard
Shaped not unlike an Alp itself (if you sort of stretch your imagination) The Shard’s Austrian winter terrace is notable for the fact that it’s very much not up The Shard. Great news for anyone with vertigo, but perhaps a disappointment if you were hoping for an express elevator ride and endless view.
But expect that to quickly dissipate the moment you walk into Hütte 31, Bar 31’s downstairs-y sibling. The Alpine terrace consists of a series of wooden chalets with soft blankets and ‘snow’ and a range of Austrian delicacies including Nuernberger Sausage Rolls and Chicken Schnitzel along with glühwein, Botanist gin cocktails, hot toddies and boozy hot chocolate.
WHERE: 32 LONDON BRIDGE STREET, BOROUGH, SE1 9SG
The Montague on the Gardens
The Montague on the Gardens are back with their Ski Lodge for another year and it’s looking better than ever. The Bloomsbury hotel, just steps from Bloomsbury Street, has transformed their terrace from summer’s beach bar to an alpine lodge complete with ski racks, snowmen and pine trees. There’s even falling snow!
There's even falling snow!
But between the reindeer and piste maps forming the decor, you can also enjoy a taste of the Alps too, with après-themed drinks including 12 different flavours of schnapps and chilled vodka. Ski snacks will be plentiful, with candied pecans, mulled wine, hot spiced cider and mugs of steaming hot chocolate cocktails free-flowing.
A £45 ‘Individual Ski Pass’ grants you access for an hour and a half, three drinks of your choice and a festive platter of alpine nibbles including mini turkey schnitzel, bratwurst sausage and deep-fried camembert.
Stay warm with blankets, snuggled by the fire in a true chalet-like experience.
Where: 15 Montague Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 5BJ
The seasons have dramatically changed at Fulham’s Winterland. The Neverland riverside destination has morphed from Baleric isle white sands and day beds into a full-on Alpine experience.
From igloos, to something called Moose Cabins, the whole place has been given an impressive makeover. You can even dine in a cable car!
With resident DJs, seasonal serves and the ubiquitous igloos, this is the ultimate alpine retreat.
Where: Wandsworth Bridge Road, Fulham, SW6 2TY
Forget après-ski, at Somerset House this autumn and winter you can experience après-skate. The annual skating rink plays centre stage at the iconic venue, dominating the famous courtyard. But stage-left you’ll find an equally compelling draw, Chalet Barragiste with Jimmy Garcia.
All the seasonal, cinnamon-infused usual suspects...
The pop-up-ist has turned the West Wing into an a chalet experience with a seasonal menu of cosy winter favourites from steak baguette to game burgers (fear not, veggies, there’s also a mushroom burger) and drinks including all the seasonal, cinnamon-infused usual suspects.
Where: Strand, Aldwich, WC2R 1LA
Forget aprés ski, it’s all about aprés ping. Or aprés pong. Whichever.
The end of November will see ping pongers Bounce transform their bar, restaurant and table tenniserie into an alpine retreat.
Bounce have teamed up with Jägermeister to create a series of themed Jägermeistery additions. Like Jägermeister shot skis, Jägermeister paddles for serving shots, Jagermeister shot glasses, Jagermeister LEDs, Jägermeister Freezers (42cm tall and 35cm wide, in case you were wondering (we all were, don’t worry)) a special Jägermeister cocktail menu not to mention Jägermeister bandanas, lanyards and sunglasses (yes, it’s winter and a basement, fewer questions please).
We can’t wait to check it out, the opening is a combination of our favourite things, ping pong, Jägermeister and, most importantly, Bounce!
Where: Old Street & Farringdon