With hospitality businesses in London having begun to re-open following the second lockdown, under new tier 2 restrictions, we pick the city’s best bars and restaurants for a festive drink.
London’s best bars and restaurants for a festive drink
Spiritland at JOY
Having started as a restaurant and shop in July, JOY – a project from Stevie Parle and Tom Dixon – has partnered with Spiritland on the launch of a new performance space for DJs, talks, live music and cabaret. A spontaneous response to 2020’s cultural landscape, the project is the first of its kind from the trio, set within a cavernous warehouse space (beneath JOY), with the billing set to include regular Spiritland collaborators and underground names. Tables for groups of two to six are pre-bookable online, with space for walk-ins in a designated lounge area. Food will be provided by Stevie Parle’s pasta brand, Pastaio, while Spiritland have created the cocktail menu in collaboration with The House of Suntory, focussing on Japanese spirits. The list includes drinks such as Pink Pear Negroni, Espresso Martinez and a Quince Old Fashioned.
A £10 deposit is required per person, to be removed from the final bill. Some events may have an additional ticket price. Further information to be found at joyatportobello.co.uk.
The Tramshed Project
A major workspace, culture venue, and restaurant, The Tramshed Project in East London has re-opened. As well as serving a new menu from chef Andrew Clarke, The Tramshed Project has also introduced a festive pop-up bar, Vixen’s Hot Liquors & Pudding Bar – serving cocktails and desserts. The venue will also host a ticketed Christmas Party on Saturday 19th December, with Andrew Clarke and guest chef Kirk Haworth serving festive dishes in the main hall, while chef James Cochran will host a supper club. Moreover, the event will also feature live music and entertainment, plus a raffle for A Plate for London – a food initiative launched by The Tramshed Project’s director Dominic Cools-Lartigue during the first national lockdown – hoping to raise enough money to feed 5,000 vulnerable people over the Christmas period.
Further information can be found at tramshedproject.com.
Nutbourne x The Botanist Gin’s ‘Botanist & Tonic pop-up terrace’
Following the success of a summer pop-up, The Botanist Gin has collaborated with Nutbourne, the Gladwin Brothers’ Battersea restaurant, on the launch of a new Botanist & Tonic pop-up (heated) terrace, open from Wednesday – Sunday. In addition to a daily-changing food menu inspired by the Sussex countryside, a selection of cocktails have been included. Highlights include the ‘Sloe 75’, made with sloe berry infused The Botanist Gin, sugar, and sparkling wine; ‘The Botanist Flip’, with The Botanist gin, egg, sugar, and winter spices; and ‘Gin and Tea’ – a hot cocktail. Mulled wine and cider are also served, available with a shot of either The Botanist gin, Cointreau liqueur, Rémy Martin Cognac, or Mount Gay rum.
Further information can be found at nutbourne-restaurant.com.
Selfridges Open Air Christmas Market
To coincide with the London store re-opening, Selfridges has launched its first ever Christmas Market, showcasing a selection of street food traders, offering seasonal food and drink offerings, plus a host of stalls selling the likes of real Christmas trees, wreaths, decorations, and other gifts. In addition to a fully-stocked bar and roaming drinks cart serving mulled wine, hot buttered rum, and warm apple cider, food will be available from the likes of Fundi Pizza, Pop Dogs, Pabellon, and Gully.
Further information can be found at selfridges.com.
Festive alcoholic slushies at Pastaio
Having re-opened following the second national lockdown, Pastio has introduced a selection of new festive dishes to the menu at both restaurants, in Soho and at Westfield London. In addition to dishes such as burrata with sprouts and hazelnuts, and goose ragù with brandy, red wine, juniper and mafaldine, both sites are also serving alcoholic slushies. Soho is serving a mandarin and gin slushie, while Westfield London is offering a clementine and gin slushie.
Further information can be found at pastaio.co.uk.
Miracle at Henrietta Hotel
Following the success of pop-up in the US, Experimental Group have brought Miracle to London for the third time, hosted at Henrietta Hotel. Renowned for its cocktails, the pop-up bar has launched on the Covent Garden hotel’s mezzanine, set to continue until 20th January under the guise of ‘The Extended Christmas Story by Miracle’. With décor inspired by a ‘70s Christmas home’, a selection of festive cocktails will be available alongside a selection of snacks. Highlights from the drinks menu include the likes of ‘Bad Santa’, served hot featuring mulled red wine, tawny port, orange liqueur, and Christmas spices; ‘SanTaRex’, with tequila, herbal mint liqueur, cacao blanc, mezcal, serrano, coconut, acid-adjusted pineapple; and ‘Fruitcake Flip’ comprising brandy, Jamaican overproof rum, amaretto, fruitcake, cherry bitters, and egg.
Further information can be found at henriettahotel.com.
34 Mayfair unveiled its ‘Miracle at 34’ Christmas installation early this year, inspired by the unpredictable nature of 2020. In collaboration with Nyetimber, one of England’s most famous wine producers, the restaurant has been festooned with approximately 14,000 decorations, including 8,400 baubles, covering every inch of the ceiling and walls.
In addition to the restaurant’s a la carte options, a new set menu has been introduced (available from 12pm- 9:30pm, Monday – Wednesday, and 12pm-6pm, Thursday and Friday), offering two courses for £20 or three courses for £25, with dishes including the likes of roasted pumpkin soup and rotisserie roast chicken. A Nyetimber Golden Bell dessert has also been introduced, inspired by the chimes of Christmas bells. The dish includes a dark chocolate bell with edible gold powder, filled with dark chocolate mousse and Nyetimber and cherry compote filling, alongside cherry sauce, cherry ‘crispies’, Nyetimber and mint jelly cubes, and gold leaf.
Further information can be found at 34-restaurant.co.uk.
Marylebone Greek restaurant, OPSO has introduced a new outdoor dining area. “Reminiscent of the cosy dining culture of capital cities throughout Europe”, the fully sheltered, heated terrace will offer winter cocktails, wines by the glass, and a menu of comforting Greek dishes. On the food menu, highlights include the likes of Mousakas; lamb shank trahanas (slow-cooked lamb shank with truffled mushroom trahanas and graviera cheese); and pork stifado. Cocktails, on the other hand, include the likes of Rakomelo – a spin on the classic festive mulled wine, with red wine, spices, and Roots Tentura (Greek cinnamon liqueur); and Milk Punch, featuring Metaxa, dark spiced rum, vanilla syrup, and grated nutmeg. OPSO’s first batch of barrel-aged negronis will also be available. Moreover, the restaurant will host its first Greek Christmas Market on Sunday 13th December, showcasing traditional Greek produce.
Further information can be found at opso.co.uk.
The Hawk’s Nest
The Hawk’s Nest has re-opened its outdoor restaurant and bar in Shepherd’s Bush, with space for 120 seated covers. As well as launching a Christmas market (open on Sundays until Christmas), The Hawk’s Nest’s festive offering includes mulled sloe gin, toffee apple mulled cider, and a selection of wines and craft beers available alongside sourdough pizzas and a selection of smaller bites (also including mince pies). The venue will also host a Christmas pub quiz on Monday 14th December and a Christmas Carol Service at 4pm on Sunday 20th December.
Further information can be found at the-hawks-nest.co.uk.
Skylight Christmas at Tobacco Dock
A rooftop venue with panoramic views across the city’s skyline, Skylight has expanded its offering for the festive seasons, creating Skylight Christmas at Tobacco Dock. A collection of outdoor and socially distanced eating and drinking experiences on the rooftop venue and at ground level across the Grade-I listed warehouses and lanes of Tobacco Dock, the space will host a rooftop igloo village, an Après Ski Lodge bar, Off-Piste Speakeasy bar, and Christmas Cocktail Cinema Experience. Food will also be served from a Bavarian-inspired menu, available throughout the venue. Igloos and indoor spaces will be bookable for households and support bubbles, while Skylight has expansive bookable and heated outdoor seating for mixed groups.
Further information can be found at skylightlondon.com.
In the lead up to Christmas, chef Adam Handling’s restaurants will offer a selection of festive menus. In addition to new Christmas specials at his flagship Frog by Adam Handling, Eve – the downstairs bar – will serve seasonally appropriate cocktails to be accompanied by bar snacks such as the restaurant’s cheese doughnuts. Cocktail menu highlights include the likes of ‘Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire’, comprising Hudson Baby Bourbon, Cadello Liqueur, Talisker 10, and Yuzu Honey; and ‘Red Nose, Red Cheeks’ using Grey Goose Vodka, Mozart Chocolate Liqueur, Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur, and D.O.M. Benedict.
Further information can be found at adamhandling.co.uk.
Aviary Rooftop Igloos
In partnership with Tanqueray No. Ten, Aviary’s rooftop igloos have returned for the festive season. With impressive views of the city’s skyline, the igloos are located 10 floors above the city, serving a selection of cocktails such as Tanqueray’s Grapefruit Collins, topped with soda water; a White Negroni; and Tanqueray Spiced Cranberry & Clementine Punch. Food includes an assortment of “British dishes with a modern twist”, including the likes of Scottish salmon tartare, steaks cooked over coal, gingerbread spiced panna cotta, and dark chocolate cheesecake. Aviary’s igloos are available for pre-bookings only, with packages priced from £50 per-person.
Further information can be found at aviarylondon.com.
Double Standard at The Standard, London
Standard International’s first hotel outside the US, The Standard, London, has re-opened with a newly-transformed winter terrace. Adjoined to the King’s Cross hotel’s ground floor bar, Double Standard, the terrace is complete with a fire pit, festoon lighting, and sheepskin furs, while the menu is inspired by traditional pub classics and NYC dive bar food.
Further information can be found at standardhotels.com.
The Laundry, Brixton
A neighbourhood bistro and wine shop, The Laundry is now taking bookings for tables of four-to-six on its spacious terrace, specifically transformed for the winter months. With soft tartan blankets, French rattan chairs, and brand new patio heaters, the terrace promises to provide a cosy environment for guests enjoying the venue’s all-day menu and unique wine list curated by founder Melanie Brown.
Further information to be found at thelaundrybrixton.com.
One of London’s largest al fresco eating and drinking destinations, Vinegar Yard has transformed its outdoor garden into a heated space compliant with tier two rules, with new, bookable private outdoor huts ideal for groups of up to six. As for the food and drink offering, expect mulled wine and hot cider, alongside street food from Nanny Bill’s, Baba G’s, Sugo, and Nik’s Kitchen.
Further information to be found at vinegaryard.london.
‘Miracle on Kingdom Street’ at Pergola Paddington
Back for winter 2020, Pergola Paddington has launched ‘Miracle on Kingdom Street’, with bookable winter lodges and 200 real Christmas trees. Set across two floors, the upstairs deck is styled as a ‘secret winter forest’, while the lower level has been designed with nods to a Bavarian-style ‘festive decked hall’. Expect warming winter drinks such as mulled wine and spiced cider (plus a new heating system), ‘boozy cheese fondue’, raclette, mince pies, and more.
Bookings of two-to-six people can be made at pergolapaddington.com, with a £10 deposit required per booking, redeemable against a winter drink.
After a few setbacks, the team behind WC in Clapham has launched WC Bloomsbury. Occupying a site on Lamb’s Conduit Street, listed on Historic England’s buildings ‘at risk register’, the brand new cocktail bar is set is a Grade-II listed Victorian water closet. On the menu, a selection of wine and cocktails are available alongside a food menu designed to complement the drinks selection: technically “substantial”, but also ideal for grazing.
Further information can be found at wcbars.co.uk.
A new rooftop bar decked out for Christmas, Winter Heights is a stone’s throw from London Bridge, offering panoramic views of the city. Alongside food from nearby Borough Market, including hotdogs made with Ginger Pig sausages and bottomless fondue from Drunk Cheese, the drinks selection includes a selection of hot and cold festive cocktails, plus beer from Camden Town Brewery.
Further information can be found at londonbridgerooftop.com.
Festive Afternoon Tea at The Savoy
One of London’s oldest hotels, The Savoy has launched a new festive afternoon tea, with a new take on afternoon tea favourites, utilising seasonal ingredients. Expect the likes of smoked venison loin, chestnut and blackcurrant finger sandwiches; hand-dived scallops with fennel puree and miso dressing; and spiced citrus delice, made with gingerbread, mandarin, and white chocolate whipping ganache. All is available alongside a selection of 30 Jing teas, plus a glass of Louis Roederer Champagne or Louis Roederer Cristal.
Further information can be found at savoychristmas.com.
Camden Winter Beer Hall
Taking place on weekends, the Camden Winter Beer Hall is a new socially distanced, Bavarian-inspired craft beer and street food festival. For the event, the Electric Ballroom has been transformed into a beer hall with festive décor, with bookable sessions taking place. In addition to beers from UK brewers, hot mulled wine and ciders will also be available alongside Bavarian street food and live music.
Further information can be found at camdenwinterbeerhall.com.