Round-Up

31 08 2005

Cinema
Good – Beautiful Boxer
Bad – Red Eye
Fugly – Bride and Prejudice

Cellar
Red – Viansa 2002 Augusto Barbera
White – Viansa 2004 Pierina Vernaccia
Dessert –Viansa Frescolina

Cocktail
Sea Breeze
1 1/4 oz. Vodka, Grapefruit Juice, Cranberry Juice
Serve over ice in Highball glass
Becomes a Bay Breeze if you substitute Pineapple juice for Grapefruit. Why would you?

London cocktails:

  • Solstice = Stoli vanilla + Cointreau + OJ + pineapple juice
  • Radiance = Absolut Citron + Cointreau + S&S + Champagne Float + Sugar Rim
  • Spectrum = Stoli Peach + OJ + Grenadine drop + Raspberry sugar rim
  • Chocolate Nirvana = Stoli vanilla + White creme de cacao + Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
  • Awakening = SBUX Coffee liqueur + White creme de cacao + Tuaca
  • Entourage = Absolut Mandarin + Watermelon infusion + S&S + Chambord Drop + Cantaloupe sugar rim
  • Hot Pursuit = Bombay Sapphire + Red Bull (!) + Cranberry juice + Cayenne pepper
  • Southern Exposure = Corazon de Agave Blanco + Chambord + S&S + Raspberry Sugar Rim
  • Blueberry Mojito = Bacardi Limon + Blueberry + Mint Leaves + Lemon + Soda
  • Dark Side = Jagermeister + Blavado Black Vodka + Red Bull (again)
  • Absolut Mann = Absolut Citron + Midori + Chambord + OJ + Pineapple juice + S&S
  • Green Teani = Zen green tea liqueur + Earl gray Green Tea bag + Soda + Fresh Mint
  • Honey Moon = Malibu Rum + Midori + OJ + Pineapple Juice + Soda
  • Ascension = Crown Royal + Malibu rum + Peach schnappes + Cranberry juice + pineapple juice
  • Sunset = Corazon de Agave Blanco + Torani Pomegranate + S&S + OJ + Pineapple juice + Cantaloupe sugar rim
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Pubs London

30 08 2005

TOP 10 BARS IN BLOOMSBURY

  • Grafton Arms, 72 Grafton Way, London W1 0871 332 5367
    A welcoming pub spread over two floors and boasting a fine selection of ales. The sprawling downstairs bar is always popular but come summer, the upstairs bar and roof terrace are a refreshing alternative.
  • Grape Street Wine Bar, 226A Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC20871 332 5371
    An impressive wine list ensures the bar lives up to the street it was named after. Absurdly friendly staff will talk you through the extensive list before seducing you with exotic dishes and cheese platters designed to soak up all that grape juice.
  • Lord John Russell, 91-93 Marchmont Street, London WC1(020) 7388 0500
    Holding court over the passing pedestrians of Marchmont Street, this authentic boozer attracts a worthily diverse flock of regulars – from the local UCL students to discerning neighbourhood drinkers who are steadily working their way through the range of ales.
  • Marlborough Arms, 36 Torrington Place, London WC10871 332 5867
    Ideal for a pub lunch with your mates, even the vegetarian ones, the traditional, dimly lit surroundings make it the perfect place to nurse away the excesses of the weekend.
  • Museum Tavern, 49 Great Russell Street, London WC10871 332 1446
    Located opposite the British Museum which has in the past attracted the likes of Marx and Orwell, it’s not as overrun with tourists as you may expect. Sup on a pint of Brain’s finest ale whilst musing over a well thumbed copy of Animal Farm by the giddy flashing light of the fruit machine.
  • mybar @ myhotel, 11-13 Bayley Street, Bedford Square, London WC1(020) 7667 6000
    A sophisticated affair serving up a mouthwatering selection of cocktails, champagne and beer to accompany your breakfast, lunch or dinner. A reliable, if sometimes, slightly bland alternative to a pie and a pint.
  • Oporto, 168 High Holburn, London WC10871 332 4274
    Neatly spread over two floors, and offering a decent selection of draught and wines, the downstairs bar is a cosy affair complete with pool table that’s better suited to winter months.
  • Plough, 27 Museum Street, London WC10871 332 2086
    Located slightly further down Museum Street than the British Museum, the cosy appearance belies a superb selection of real ales and is a fine alternative to the Museum Tavern.
  • Queen’s Larder, 1 Queen Square, London WC10871 332 2189
    Steeped in history, the pub at the heart of the traditional medical district was named after Queen Charlotte, wife of mad King George. Enjoy an after work drink under the watchful gaze of the royal portraits’ beady eyes.
  • Truckles of Pied Bull Yard, Off Bury Place, London WC10871 332 2534
    The quaint sounding name belies the fact that this is one of a chain, albeit an olde worlde style one, located on a charming courtyard alongside independent shops. The upstairs bar is decidedly modern without a hint of nostalgia.

TOP 10 BARS IN COVENT GARDEN

  • AKA18 West Central Street, Covent Garden, WC2(020) 7836 0110 On the outskirts of Covent Garden, London’s top DJ bar is still cutting edge, and the cocktails rival any of the smaller specialist operations scattered around town. Truly a world class bar
  • West Street, 13-15 West Street, Covent Garden, WC2(020) 7010 8600 The bar at West Street may be rather on the small side and hidden in the basement, but it’s truly brilliant. The cocktail list is mercifully free of syrupy sweet numbers, and the range of Twisted Manhattans is superb. Definitely worth a look.
  • Detroit 35 Earlham Street, Covent Garden, WC2H(020) 7240 2662 Housed in basement and possessing a very good cocktail list and some rather interesting décor, Detroit is a spot to head to if you like to relax in some style…
  • The Porterhouse, 21-22 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, WC2(020) 7379 7917 Looking like a cross between a Victorian pumping station and a steam ship, the Porterhouse certainly provokes conversation. The draught beer, brewed in a microbrewery in Ireland is very tasty, and they also stock about the largest selection of bottled beers in the country.
  • The Langley, 5 Langley Street, Covent Garden, WC2H(020) 7836 5005 This fairly swanky Covent Garden joint seems to be popular with the area’s hipper office staff and also attracts a few Soho types during the early evening. The reason for this? It’s probably got something to do with the daily happy hour, which runs from 5pm to 7pm. Expect a wide range of cheap drinks, including wine, beer and cocktails.
  • Navajo Joe, 34 King Street, Covent Garden, WC2(020) 7240 4008 If you like tequila then you’ll love Navajo Joe. They have God knows how many different brands in stock, and a pretty good cocktail list to boot. The bartenders are mostly towards the flair end of the spectrum, but that’s quite fun once in a while.
  • The Round House, 1 Garrick Street, Covent Garden, WC2(020) 7836 9838 The Roundhouse is a traditional London pub at the bottom of Garrick Street. The clientele appears to be a mixture of tourists and local office types, but anywhere else in Covent Garden is likely to exhibit a similar demographic. If you’re after a proper pint then give the locals bars a miss and check out this place.
  • The Prince of Wales, 150-151 Drury Lane, Covent Garden,WC2(020) 7240 9935 On the corner of Long Acre, the Prince of Wales is perfectly situated for a mid shopping spree pint. Considering the stresses involved in negotiating the nearby shops on a Saturday morning this might be exactly what you need.
  • La Perla, 28 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, WC2E(020) 7240 7400 This Mexican themed bar offers a good selection of beers, spirits and cocktails, as well as some tasty Tex-Mex nibbles. They often have happy hours and promotions going on, so pop in and try it!
  • Garrick Wine Bar, 10-12 Garrick Street, Covent Garden, WC2(020) 7240 7649 The Garrick Wine bar is an attractive little establishment offering a fine range of wines from around the world, as well as a selection of other drinks. Again, it seems to attract quite a few tourists, but (again) given its location this is hardly surprising. Worth a look though!

TOP 10 BARS IN THE CITY

  • The Counting House, 50 Cornhill, City, EC3V(020) 7283 7123 One of the nicest pubs in the City, the Counting House is enormous, with a hugely high ceiling, plenty of tasty beers on offer, and a first floor gallery with plenty of seating even when it’s rammed downstairs.
  • El Vino, 3 Bastion Highwalk, 125 London Wall, City, EC2(020) 7600 6377 Reputedly one of the City’s best wine bars, El Vino keeps a fantastic cellar. It attracts a mixture of wine aficionados as well as plenty of city workers who know what they like (even if they don’t know the difference between Pouilly-Fume and Pouilly-Fuisse!)
  • The Jamaica Wine House, 12 St Michael’s Alley, Cornhill, City, EC3(020) 7626 9496If you’re after an atmospheric boozer then this is it. It was once a Victorian rum merchants headquarters, and is a fine place to while away a few hours.
  • Prism, 147 Leadenhall Street, City, EC3V(020) 7256 3888 The main restaurant area at Prism becomes a lounge bar in the evenings (the evening restaurant service takes place in a smaller room than at lunchtime) and the surroundings promote an incredible sense of decadence. There’s also another bar in the basement, which is very slick and smart. Get down there…
  • The Scottish Pound, 50 London Wall, City, EC2M(020) 7374 4210 This is a popular pub that has been totally refurnished over the last couple of years. No longer a dingy city hole, it now attracts a varied clientele who seem to be just as happy ordering wine by the bottle as they do drinking pints. Decent bitters courtesy of Green King.
  • Balls Brothers, 158 Bishopsgate, City, EC2M(020) 7426 0567 This branch of the Balls Brothers chain is smart and spacious, and offers a wide selection of wines as well as all the usual beers and spirits. Quite a calm atmosphere unless you turn up around 6pm on a Thursday or a Friday.
  • The Bishops Finger, 9 West Smithfield, City, EC1A(020) 7248 2341 Another fine pub, the Bishops Finger serves some of the best kept Shepherd Neame beer in the capital, and is one of my favourite pubs for idle time wasting. Well worth a visit.
  • The Evangelist, 33 Blackfriars Lane, City, EC4V(020) 7213 0740 This peculiarly named bar has a few religious trinkets here and there (church pews for instance) but the place is seriously geared to drinking – no need to pray before you start on the lager. Interesting and worth a look.
  • Digress City, CityPoint, 1 Ropemaker Street, City, EC2(020) 7382 1690 Digress City is a huge and impressive bar in the basement of the even bigger CityPoint building. Fairly stylish and with a selection of decent cocktails, it’s understandably popular with people working upstairs or locally.
  • First and Last, 175 Bishopsgate, City, EC2(020) 7786 9251 Typical London pub – plenty of beer, seating and space for a light-hearted rendezvous. The First & Last isn’t a stunning world-class bar, but it is a nice friendly place to meet for a pint.

BARS TO AVOID

  • Cheers – 72 Regent Street, W1R Even if you enjoyed the loathsome excuse for a television show set in that scummy Boston bar, you will still hate this place. What could be worse than a bar themed around an American bar-themed television show? I’ll tell you. A bar themed around an American bar-themed television show almost entirely patronised by American tourists. I would rather be eviscerated with a bread knife than show my face inside this atrocious dive.
  • Ye Olde Mitre Tavern, 1 Ely Court, EC1 Not only is this one of London’s nicest pubs, but it also has a fascinating history. So what is it doing here? Simple – it is the hardest pub to find in the capital. Some places are slightly off the beaten track; they tease you for a few minutes, and then relent. Not the Mitre. If you’ve never been before, you’ll need a military spec GPS system to find the place. Even if you’re a returning customer you probably still get lost. Arranging a rendezvous with friends there is like committing social suicide. I rest my case…
  • Moon Under Water – 28 Leicester Square, W2 There are many reasons why purchasing a selection of alcohol and tobacco products and seating yourself on a Leicester Square bench for an evening of solo revelry might not be a good idea. For one thing you may be accosted by the local alcoholic who will wish to engage you in an impromptu blind tasting. Or you might develop hypothermia. Both of these outcomes are preferable to an evening in the Moon Under Water. It is soul-destroyingly awful.
  • Attica – 14-16 Fouberts Place, W1V It might have been hip when it opened, but Attica has drifted into the realms of Eurotrash naffness. The door staff have more attitude than Prince Naseem, but judging by the sparsely populated lounge-like affair we encountered upon entry, the place is about as happening as a Latvian psychiatric hospital.
  • The Old Blue Last – 39 Great Eastern Street, EC2A Probably not that bad a place actually.
  • The Met Bar – 19 Old Park Lane, W1K What was once the most coveted members bar in town has now become a magnet for all that is awful about our celebrity culture. The only normal people in there are the guests from the nice hotel upstairs, which is a pity as the cocktails are still something special.
  • The Lord Nelson – 386 Old Kent Road, SE1 If you like your pub experience to be quiet, genteel and uneventful I would advise avoiding the Lord Nelson. It is a rather rough place. If you have ambitions to set up your own criminal network then you might find it just the place to start.
  • Pop – 14 Soho Street, W1V 60s design is hip. Pop (ho ho) along to any of the blossoming secondhand design emporiums and you’ll see scores of garish plastic telephones, Vico Magistretti chairs and bulbous glassware. However, cheaply assembled virtual 60s interiors are not hip. The trouble with modern design is that it looks fine when shiny and new, but as soon as a few chips and scratches appear, it starts to look like a pimps broom cupboard. Pop was quite inspiring when it first appeared, but these days it’s more grim than glam. An entrance 6 feet away from Oxford Street doesn’t do it any favours either.
  • The Blind Beggar – 337 Whitechapel Road, E1The Blind Beggar was the scene of a nasty murder back in the 60s, when Ronnie Kray shot George Cornell through the forehead with a Mauser pistol. It is now home to a variety of aging dodgy characters, and students who somehow feel empowered by ordering lager shandy in pubs with criminal associations.
  • Saint – 8 Great Newport Street, WC2H A year or two ago Saint seemed to pick up quite a cool crowd. That’s cool as in up-for-it and relaxed, as opposed to preening clothes horses. Something happened around the autumn of 2001, and ever since Saint seems to attract a rather motley selection of computer salesmen and late 30s eurotrash. The drinks aren’t great, and the staff are hard work (but they don’t work hard in return.) You’re better off staying in!

JAZZ CLUBS

  • Ronnie Scotts Club 47 Frith Street, Soho, W1(020) 7439 0747 Ronnie’s is something of an institution, and has played host to plenty of jazz legends over the years, including Elvin Jones and Georgie Fame. Booking is essential if you want somewhere to sit, and the food isn’t going to win any Michelin stars, but the atmosphere is quite unique. Think twice about a visit mid-week if you need your beauty sleep, as the show often doesn’t really get going till quite late.
  • Jazz Cafe 5 Parkway, Camden, NW1(020) 7344 0044The Jazz Cafe is probably the least jazz specific venue listed here, despite the fact that unlike so many of the others it has “jazz” in its title. The repertoire varies from soul and funk to sing-along guitar stuff, but the core ingredient is still jazz. Quite a few big names have played here, although they tend to be from the more commercial side of the street – Courtney Pine, the James Taylor Quartet and Georgie Fame.
  • Le Quecumbar 42-44 Battersea High Street, SW11(020) 7787 2227Outside of Paris, it is Europe’s only venue dedicated to the promotion of Django Reinhardt Hot Club Gypsy Swing. This and a wide (and seemingly never-ending series of gigs) make it a must stop venue on the London jazz scene.
  • The New Vortex Gillett Street, London N16 8JN(020) 7690 6661 Vortex is North London’s premier jazz venue, and attracts a serious crowd of musical aficionados. Don’t worry if you aren’t as knowledgeable as they are; just make sure you keep your voice down and don’t start singing along…besides, it’s an absolutely great place to start getting into the whole jazz thing so you should go along!
  • Pizza Express Jazz Club 10 Dean Street, Soho, W1(020) 7439 8722This is the flagship jazz venue of the very jazz-friendly Pizza Express chain. Situated in the basement of the Dean Street restaurant, it attracts some fairly big names (okay, some very big names), which is quite impressive when you consider the local competition.
  • The Bull’s Head 373 Lonsdale Road, Barnes, SW13(020) 8876 5241The Bulls Head is a world away from the grime and seediness of Soho. Situated alongside the river (a stones through from Barnes Bride) it blends an easy out-of-centre charm with some serious music and is also one of London’s most established jazz venues – it wouldn’t be too out of place to suggest it is bordering on the famous. Evenings are the best time to visit Monday to Saturday, and the Sunday afternoon sessions are also very popular.
  • The 606 Club 90 Lots Road, Chelsea, SW10(020) 7352 5953The 606 is set in a rather out of the way location (near the ol d Lots Road power station.) The music is always superb, and the policy of hiring local musicians and up-and-coming youngsters ensures that you won’t have to sit through tedious monologues recited by octogenarian has-beens. Non-members have to eat if they want a proper drink, and will have to eat whatever at weekends. It’s definitely still worth it though!
  • Jazz After Dark 9 Greek Street, Soho, W1(020) 7734 0545More of a jazz and funk club at weekends, Jazz After Dark offers a range of jazz orientated nights midweek. Usually open very late, which, of course, is no bad thing…
  • Dover Street 8 – 10 Dover Street, Mayfair, W1(020) 7629 9813Dover Street offers three separate bars, a host of jazz and blues performers as well as tasty food, an extensive drinks menu and late opening. You’ll need to dress up smartly, but it’ll be worth it!
  • Boisdale 15 Ecclestone Street, SW1(020) 7730 6922Boisdale features some seriously good live jazz on a weekly basis (Monday – Saturday, 10pm till midnight) and, for that alone, should be visited (never mind the excellent menu and superb drink selection). Not only that, but they have their own label which they use to release recordings of the most memorable of their evenings. In short, if you miss a really good one, there’s a good chance it’ll turn up on CD sometime soon. Excellent.

CELEBRITY SPOTTING (You know you want to)

  • The Met Bar, Park Lane, W1 Has been a celeb haunt for as long as anyone can remember. Not only that but it’s the one where they most often tend to misbehave – making it all that much more fun for observers.
  • Attica Foubert’s Place, W1V A restaurant long favoured by celeb night owls. More often than not when you see a piccie of some hapless c-lister being helped into their car by a minder/relative/loved one/hanger on, it’s a picture taken after an evening there.
  • Fabric, Charterhouse St, EC1 Blag your way into the VIP bar upstairs (the only place with sitting room after 10pm) and you’ll often find the hipper side of today’s celebs – normally Sarah Cox and Zoe Ball…
  • Cargo, Rivington St, EC2 Like Fabric, Cargo seems to attract the cooler famous types. Normal sightings include various popstars and DJs. Last time we were there I nearly fell over Zero 7 who were milling about in my way…
  • The Elbow Room, Islington, W2 Has recently been used by Ash as a venue for their album party launch.
  • Chinawhite, Air St, W1 In all probability you won’t be able to get in. Nevertheless, it’s packed to overflowing with stars both big and small.
  • Vingt Quatre, Fulham Rd, SW10 Is, apparently, full to bursting with recognisable faces. Regulars include Geri Halliwell, Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue and Martine McCutcheon. Naomi Campbell, Calista Flockhart, Jim Carrey and Vinnie Jones have been spotted here too according to our spies.
  • Woody’s, Woodfield Rd, W9 Another great place to spot all the usual suspects (Albarn, Ant’n’Dec etcetera ad infinitum) imbibing alcohol…demurely of course.
  • The Ivy, West St, WC2 Obviously…we really don’t need to say any more.
  • Quo Vadis, Dean St, W1 Expect to see diners the like of Jarvis Cocker plonked at the table next to you.




Dance London

29 08 2005

BEST DANCE CLUBS IN LONDON

AKA
18 W Central St, London, UK – England WC1 · 20-7836-0110
WEST END. This posh, late-night club teams up with its neighbor, The End, to form one of the area’s hippest club duos. Ultra-stylish 20- and 30-somethings gather for a scene that’s without parallel: a beautiful clientele, great music, and a decor that’s transformed this onetime post office into a tribute to all things industrial-chic. Seating areas feature cozy leather sofas and offer weary clubbers a chance to catch their breath between DJ sets. Plus, the sleek bar serves an impressive roster of cocktails.
TUBE: Tottenham Court Road or Holborn

Café de Paris
3 Coventry St, London, UK – England W1 · 20-7734-7700
LEICESTER SQUARE. One of London’s more upscale dance clubs, Café de Paris lets you make a superstar entrance via a dramatic staircase. Formerly a posh jazz ballroom, it now features a dance floor frequented by the society set and young professionals. Members pay top dollar to avoid long lines, and lots of people don’t get in, although those that do gain entrance dress up and make a night of it. The mezzanine café offers refreshments and a great view of the throbbing dance floor.
TUBE: Piccadilly Circus

China White
6 Air St, near Piccadilly Circus, London, UK – England WIB 7HH · 20-7343-0040
SOHO. Located in sub-level Soho, this exotic, Asian-themed nightclub is one of the hottest places to gather after midnight. Professional DJs (most of them known all over town) keep the cutting-edge crowd in a frenzy well into the morning hours, courtesy of the best urban, house, and Euro mixes you’ll hear anywhere. What’s more, the weekend clientele includes a virtual “who’s who” of trendsetters – models, Page 6 mainstays, and even a few stars from the sporting and entertainment arenas. Be sure to dress in your best club wear, but be warned: gaining entry to this exclusive club is often nothing short of a miracle since China White is open only to members from Wednesday to Saturday.
TUBE: Piccadilly Circus

Elysium
68 Regent St, London, UK – England W1B 5EL · 20-7439-7770
SOHO. Fashionable Elysium offers a handful of after-hour diversions for its trendy clientele. An expansive interior and plush, Asian-themed decor distinguish the exclusive establishment, which also features a lounge, restaurant, and dance floor where DJs spin top Euro and house beats. Swanky VIP rooms flank the dance floor, and sitting areas are outfitted with comfortable furnishings, ideal for catching your breath and enjoying a good chat. Keep your eyes peeled for the occasional celeb.
TUBE: Piccadilly Circus

Fabric
77a Charterhouse St, London, UK – England EC1M 6HJ · 020-7336-8898
CLERKENWELL. Uber-trendy, this former cellar now hosts some of London’s hippest club-goers. Three separate dance floors, an astounding sound system (bass actually pumps from the floor and into your body), and cutting-edge music conspire to create a singular nightlife destination. DJs run the rhythm gamut, spinning techno, hip-hop, house, and electronica, while light shows prove hypnotizing, especially amid the maze of cavernous spaces. Full-service bars, unisex bathrooms, and a rooftop terrace add to the appeal. If you don’t care for lines, make sure to arrive early.
TUBE: Farringdon

Heaven
11 The Arches, Villiers St, London, UK – England WC2N 6NG · 020-7930-2020
EMBANKMENT. This huge, enormously popular gay club attracts folks from all over the world. The main-floor dance space stretches endlessly and stays packed through the night with gyrating bodies. A level higher, go-go boys take to their pedestals, and a more relaxed mood prevails. Up again, a busy bar takes care of liquid needs and invites socializing. Plus, everywhere are niches where patrons can meet discreetly when they need a breather. Fabulous dance music is standard, acoustics are great, and the party seemingly never ends. A great place to lose yourself for the night.
TUBE: Charing Cross or Embankment

Herbal
12-14 Kingsland Rd, London, UK – England E2 · 20-7613-4462
SHOREDITCH. A converted warehouse provides the setting for this industrial-strength dance club, which sits in a neighborhood beginning to boast one of London’s most impressive night scenes. Herbal supplies just the right elixirs for patrons in need of both late-night clubbing and loud, DJ-driven music beats. The club spans three floors, and on peak nights, each one is packed with folks displaying the latest trends. Music includes a great mix of Euro, urban, and reggae – a little something for every taste.
TUBE: Shoreditch, Old Street, or Liverpool Street

Purple Night Club
Fulham Rd, Chelsea Village, London, UK – England SW6 1HS · 20-7565-1445
CHELSEA. Billed as “Chelsea’s best-kept secret,” Purple brings in big crowds every weekend, thanks to world-class DJs and colorfully mod aesthetics. As the name suggests, purple is the dominant color, punctuated by red leather banquettes and ceiling-draped fabrics. Terrific sound and lighting systems provide added appeal. Purple is located in the shopping-entertainment complex affiliated with the famed Chelsea football club, and it’s not uncommon to spot a few celebs hanging out in the VIP areas.
TUBE: Fulham Broadway

Scala
278 Pentonville Rd, London, UK – England N1 · 20-7833-2022
KING’S CROSS. Lively until the hours of the early morning, Scala is a top pick for hip-hop enthusiasts. The roomy venue was once a movie theater, but the split-level building now boasts an extremely modern decor, complete with strange quotes projected on the walls of the darkened space. This club also claims to have one of the best sound systems in London and frequently hosts DJs from throughout Europe. Always a good vibe.
TUBE: King’s Cross

The Cross Nightclub
27-31 York Way, London, UK – England N1 0BB · 20-7837-0828
KING’S CROSS. You’ll have to look hard to find this spacious subterranean dance venue, located in the catacombs below King’s Cross. Indeed, the edgy nightspot, a favorite with clubbers gay and straight, couldn’t be anymore ‘underground,’ thanks to rough, weathered brick walls and ceilings, an exposed ventilation system, and dimly lit nooks and crannies. Fridays and Saturdays feature multiple DJs, each in a different room and each spinning an individual blend of beats intended to drive the young, hip crowd wild.
TUBE: King’s Cross St. Pancras





Web London

28 08 2005

Best websites to plan your trip to London

I don’t know who this man is but he has an awesome site. Check out the site map. There are walks for every corner of London with tips on what to see, eat and drink along the way. There are activities to do with children. His links must cover every site you might possibly need. This is a site which lists all the alleys, lanes, courts and yards of London. Some have pictures. The text is amusing and interesting. Check out Pubs in Alleys in the menu. Look at St Michael’s Way or Ely Court to get you started. Someone is drinking himself silly just to let you know about the pubs in London. These two sites are excellent places to look at if you want an idea of what you are going to see in London and you are interested in background history. Ben Haines describes an excellent walk to do over a few days in London.
This will tell you all about canals and waterways, not just for London. If you are a shopper, this is for you. Area by area and street by street shopping. It even has pictures of what you will see as you emerge from the nearest tube. Lots of links for individual shops. I sent away for their free map and didn’t even have to pay postage. It is a 3D map with the walk clearly marked. Remember, you don’t have to do all of it. On the back there are pictures and descriptions of sights along the way. I also sent off for a pamphlet from

There are a lot of pamphlets you can send for at absolutely no cost. Investigate. A given. The transport for london site. It is full of information. It takes time to look at it all but the time is well invested. And dozens of other sites which will tell you all about restaurants in London. Everything about the airports. You could even print out a map of the terminal to take with you. Toilets and ATMs clearly marked. The ‘local area’ section is particularly useful to find out what’s in the neighbourhood. Great for street maps. Information about museums. Great reviews of pubs. Free stuff





Hotel London

28 08 2005

BUDGET HOTELS
London hotels are anything but cheap. In all probability, it’s likely to cost more than any airfare you have to pay. Indeed, with London being a particularly expensive city (the second most expensive in the world if you’re to believe Mercer Human Resource Consulting’s large 2004 survey – and I do) it becomes even more important to make sure that you get the best deal possible. Commonly the problem with booking a budget hotel is that it’s just too far from the centre of town to give you any feel of the place (and the budget aspect starts to look suspect when you spend all the money you’ve saved on transport to and from the destinations you’re interested in). Not only that but “budget” can be a rather broad term and encompass everything from genuinely cheap and cheerful little hotels to hideous cockroach-infested dumps that you wouldn’t send your worst enemy to. All of the following hotels are genuinely in the heart of London – no long treks by bus or tube to irritate you. Not only that they possess a high standard even if they are at the budget end of the market.

LUXURY HOTELS

So you’re rich. The Hempel hotel boasts breathtaking minimalist décor (and has been described as an architectural statement in its own right) whilst ensuring maximum comfort and up to the minute technology (including Wi-Fi access throughout). The Mandarin Oriental is home to one of the finest hotel spas in the country (not to mention state of the art gym complete with personal trainer) as well as Foliage, an award winning restaurant and The Park, a visually stunning bar. Likewise The Berkeley is home to the Blue Bar – a breathtakingly decorated lounge bar that almost defines the word “opulence”. With the Sanderson it’s not just that bar that’s a masterpiece of design (though it is), the entire hotel has been crafted into a work of art in its own right. Elsewhere, Claridge’s, aside from its obvious luxuriousness, can point to the fact the Gordon Ramsay, possibly the finest chef in Britain today, runs the restaurant as a demonstration of its level of excellence.

HIP HOTELS

The idea of the hip hotel is one that has emerged only in the last decade (and really not much before the last fiveyears in truth). It is likely to have been recommended by word of mouth (as opposed to massive promotional campaigns) over the years and has, as a result, built up a cult following. This lends itself to a couple of things – one is that the hotel itself has no guarantee of being expensive. It is, in all likelihood, unique and quirky but this is not a section of the market ruled by vastly expensive suites and absurdly obsequious staff (though, naturally, they do occur). Secondly, there’s more than a fair chance that the hotel in question has or does something that makes it out of the ordinary; the Sherlock Holmes Hotel, for instance, has a distinct Holmes theme (and we really don’t mean “theme” in a tasteless sense either), the Sunborn Yacht Hotel is, in fact, on a yacht – that sort of thing. Very often these hotels are situated in out of the way places around the world but it’s fair to say that London has its fair share too – admittedly it’s harder for them to be totally cultish, as London has millions of people living in it and a good proportion will be aware of a good selection – making them, perhaps, a bit more mainstream than truly cult. That being said, they are very fine spots and whilst some, like the Sanderson and The Berkeley, might be well up there in the expensive stakes, we’re sure you’ll be able to find some very pleasant surprises when you look properly.

CITY CENTER HOTELS
The idea of a cheap hotel in the centre of town may seem a bit odd but it does happen. In fact, they really are in the centre of town – scant minutes from all the attractions, places of interest and historical monuments you could want.

THEATERLAND HOTELS
If you’re planning a trip in London to see the theatre, or simply want a hotel in London nearby a theatre then there are plenty more available. London’s theatreland (as it is known) is celebrated worldwide for its diversity, vibrancy and sheer volume of productions. Situated around the Covent Garden and Shaftesbury Avenue areas it boasts some 40 top class venues ranging from the legendary (like the Theatre Royal and Royal Opera House) to the new and progressive (like the Comedy Theatre or Donmar Warehouse). The entire area is also peppered with hotels that cater specially, though not specifically, for those who intend to catch a few shows whilst staying in the capital – many are packed with stage memorabilia and the vast majority are no more than five minutes walk from the very heart of theatreland.





Walking London

27 08 2005

Organised walking tours take place all year round in London. To take part, meet your guide outside the Tube at the designated times. No need to book!

The Original London Walks walking tours cost £5 for adults and £3.50 for concessions. Offering almost 100 different walks every week, they cover London’s history and culture from every angle:
Tuesdays – Ghosts of the Old City guided walk; meet at 1930 outside St Paul’s Tube. Wednesdays – A literary pub walk around Bloomsbury; meet at 1900 at Holborn Tube.
Fridays – A pub walk along the River Thames; meet at 1900 at Blackfriars Tube.
Sundays – The Famous Square Mile: 2000yrs of History; meet at 1030 at Monument Tube.
Original London Walks on +44 (0)20 7624 3978

London Walking Pass has been launched this year by The Big Bus Company, offering visitors five guided walks for only £10. The five guided walks – Royal London, The Beatles, World of James Bond, Ghosts by Gaslight and the Movie Location Walk – all take place at regular times daily and depart from the Big Bus stop at Trafalgar Square, just by the National Gallery. Individual cost of £5 per person. All walks are fully guided and last for approximately one and a half hours. The five guided tours are free with the standard Big Bus hop-on, hop-off tour ticket. Ring +44 (0)20 7233 9533

Theatreland walks are a good way to learn more about London’s theatrical history. The Theatre Museum offers guided walks telling the story of the development of theatre from the Restoration period to the present day. The history and culture of Theatreland – the area which comprises Covent Garden, Drury Lane, the Strand and neighbourhoods – is explored. Walks start from the front entrance of the Museum each Saturday. Tickets cost £5/£4. Ring +44 (0)20 7943 4806 to make reservations.

Kairos in Soho run walks of Lesbian and Gay Soho every Sunday. Turn up at 1400 at the KiS door, 56 Old Compton Street, next to the Admiral Duncan Pub to find out why SoHo is SoGay – from Oscar Wilde to clandestine clubs in the sixties through to the modern day. Ring+44 (0)20 7437 6063. Wilde Tours is the UK’s first dedicated tour operator offering historic and contemporary tours of gay and lesbian London. Get an introduction to Bohemian London in the Nineteenth Century and explore Soho and Bloomsbury as a centre of cultural influence on modern times with a half or full day walking tour. Ring +44 (0)20 7209 4850 to book tickets

The Jack the Ripper guided walk starts at Aldgate Underground station at 1900 on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It costs £5 for adults and £4 for students. They do Haunted London walks every Tuesday evening from St Pauls station. Call +44 (0)20 8526 7755. The Blood & Tears Walk is an award-winning spooky London walk that runs several times a week. Following the story of London’s dark and murky past, it took years of research and covers sites connected with grave robbers, serial killers, prostitution, witchcraft and conspiracy. Call +44 (0)20 7625 5155

The popular Shakespeare City Walk has been taking place continuously since 1999 and is the perfect way to find out more about the life and work of Shakespeare, as well as hear his immortal words delivered by a former Shakespearean actor. The walk takes place every Monday and Friday. For more information call +44 (0)20 7625 5155

City Sidewalks Walk through 2,000 years of history with an official City of London Guide. Meet the Romans, take in the Grandeur and Glory of Old London Town, explore the City’s East Side and Spitalfields or discover the Blessed, Cursed and Haunted characters from the dark side of London. Walks cost £5.50 per person and £4 for accompanied children under 12.

Alfred Hitchcock London Location Walk: Discover Hitchcock locations from Bayswater to Brixton. Tours depart from Queensway tube in Bayswater on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1100, and the cost is £25 excluding Travelcard. Contact sandra_shevey@yahoo.com to book in advance.

Clerkenwell & Islington walks
Discover Clerkenwell and Islington’s rich and varied history from the 12th to the 20th centuries, their associations with Shakespeare, Hogarth, Dickens, Levin, religion, radicalism and literature. Ring +44 (0)20 7631 0659.

A range of Discovering Hackney walks, uncovering Hackney’s colourful and fascinating history, from early Saxon villages to the multi-cultural inner city it is today, are currently taking place in London. Ring +44 (0)7710 414 240

The Mysteries Pilgrimage: Discover Southwark’s rich past with this informal guided walking tour. Led by John Constable, the author of the ‘Southwark Mysteries’, you’ll discover historic Southwark with its theatres, taverns, artisans and brothels. Tours are by arrangement only, for groups of up to twenty people. Email mysteries@boltblue.com or ring +44 (0)20 7403 1496





Week in Wine

25 08 2005

Carneros Pinot Noirs

2003 Bouchaine Carneros Pinot Noir: $25
2003 Buena Vista Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir : $22
2003 Buena Vista Ramal Vnyd Carneros Pinot Noir : $34
2002 Carneros Creek Reserve Los Carneros Pinot Noir : $20
2004 Castle Rock Carneros Pinot Noir : $10
2002 Clos Pegase Mitsuko’s Vnyd Carneros Pinot Noir : $30
2003 Domaine Carneros Carneros Pinot Noir : $28
2002 Gloria Ferrer Carneros Pinot Noir : $26
2003 Leaping Lizard Los Carneros Pinot Noir : $10
2002 Mahoney Vineyards Carneros Pinot Noir : $24
2002 Robledo Rancho Rincon Los Carneros Pinot Noir : $27
2003 Solaris Carneros Pinot Noir : $14
2002 Waterstone Carneros Pinot Noir : $20
2003 X Winery Los Carneros Pinot Noir : $23