Even in difficult circumstances, and with the threat of new restrictions at every turn, London is still showing why it’s one of the greatest cities in the world.
There are new socially-distanced theatre events to look out for this week, as well as cultural celebrations, intriguing restaurant pop-ups, and plenty more.
With the 10pm curfew wreaking havoc on the city’s hospitality sector, we’d suggest heading down to your favourite restaurant for lunch or an early dinner. After that, there’s plenty to enjoy elsewhere, proving that even with everything going on, the capital is still the place to be.
Here’s what to get up to this week.
Celebrate Black History month with Boxpark
Boxpark is doing more than just offering top street food and drinks this week. The group is putting on Black History Month events all month, including panel discussions, live performances and visual art exhibitions. The Boxpark locations in Shoreditch and Croydon are welcoming visual storyteller Julian George for new project Made You Look, celebrating the work of black chefs across the country. On Thursday, Boxpark Croydon is also hosting an event championing creative arts career pathways for BAME groups, with panellists taking questions and giving advice on how to break into the creative industries.
Shoreditch, Croydon, Wembley, boxpark.co.uk
Tuck into a musical meal and a show in Leicester Square
Combine musical theatre and great food this week with The Show Must Go On at The Lost Alhambra. Stars from Mamma Mia!, Chicago, Rocky Horror and Kinky Boots will be providing the entertainment, with the three-hour performance accompanied with a two-course meal with bubbles or cocktails. Shows run every Thursday to Saturday, with donations going to the Acting for Others charity.
October 15-18, 28a Leicester Square, WC2H 7LE, thelostalhambra.co.uk
Celebrate Fela Kuti’s birthday at the Jazz Cafe
There was a major boost for scores of London music venues this week, as the first round of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund was handed out and millions of pounds were given to venues across London. It might be a while yet until all those venues can reopen, but there are a handful of gig spots across the city currently in operation. The pick of the bunch will be found at the Jazz Cafe, where Bukky Leo and the Black Egypt collective pay a birthday tribute to the late, great Fela Kuti.
Tuesday and Wednesday, 5 Parkway, NW1 7PG, thejazzcafelondon.com
Get lost in an immersive show
Is immersive theatre the future of live performance in London? We went to investigate exactly that, and wrote about it here, but you can decide for yourself by diving into an escapist world this week. Down in London Bridge, there’s One Night Records, a time-travelling show with a focus on live music, while the long-running immersive version of The Great Gatsby is back up and running.
Various times, Wardens Grove & SE1 0HT, onenightrecords.com & immersivegatsby.com
Tuck into a gin and game night at the Jugged Hare
Smart Barbican boozer The Jugged Hare is hosting another its popular Gourmet Nights, this time with a focus on a winning pairing: game and gin. The venue’s signature dish — the jugged hare, of course — will feature, alongside stuffed and rolled Yorkshire partridge, and more. Each course will be served alongside a Villa Ascenti gin cocktail. Tickets are £55 per person.
October 14, 7.30pm, 49 Chiswell Street, EC1Y 4SA, thejuggedhare.com
Hone your putting skills at the newly reopened Swingers
Crazy golf specialist Swingers is back in action after a Covid-induced break. It’s got a new set of rules to keep everyone safe, so be sure to check them out before you go, but apart from that, it’s business as usual: a fiendishly fun course, with plenty of food and drink on offer. Both sites — in the West End and the City — are back open now.
15 John Prince’s Street, W1G OAB / 8 Brown’s Buildings, EC3A 8AL, swingers.club/uk
Grab a free pint at one of 1,250 pubs
Yep, it’s (almost) as simple as it sounds. What many of us missed the most during lockdown was a freshly poured pint. As a way of making up for lost drinks (and encouraging punters to get out and support their local), the Here’s To The Pub initiative is offering anyone and everyone the chance to get a free drink from more than 1,250 participating pubs across the country, in every week of October. Head to the website, download the voucher and head to your chosen pub to pick up your pint (or G&T, or glass of wine).
Until October 29, various locations, great-british-pubs.co.uk
Head down to London’s first dedicated Foosball Club
London’s first ever dedicated table football bar, the Foosball Club, launched in north London this week. Whether you want to take it easy with a few friendly kickabouts, or take things up a notch with a tournament at the venue’s four championship-grade tables, footy fans should make this a regular fixture.
Open now, Foosball Club, 203 Holloway Rd, N7 8DL, foosballclub.co.uk
Tuck into the curfew supper menu at Wild Honey St James
The Government’s new 10pm curfew hasn’t just ruled out any chance of a late-night dinner, but has also made it tricky for any diners looking to sit down after 8pm to stop looking at their watch. At Anthony Demetre’s restaurant Wild Honey St James at the Sofitel London St James, a new Curfew Supper menu is easing such worries, as well as being kind to your pocket. Book for between 8.45pm and 9.30pm from Tuesday to Saturday, and you can tuck into a plat du jour and a carafe of wine for just £20, and the restaurant will make sure you’re served in time to leave promptly at 10pm. If you can’t bear to leave, book in for the hotel’s Weekend Retreat package, which includes a spa treatment, a drink at the hotel bar, and a £75 food and drink voucher in with your booking.
8 Pall Mall, SW1Y 5NG, wildhoneystjames.co.uk
Get 50 per cent off at new pizza restaurant Berbere
Contemplating that cheeky no-quarantine weekend in Italy? Alternatively, get a slice of the country’s food scene in Clapham, where brothers Matteo and Salvatore Aloe have opened the first UK location of Berbere, their pizza restaurant group which now boasts 12 sites across Italy. The restaurant can be found on the former site of Radio Alice (which the Aloes helped to launch), and is kicking off with a soft-launch offer giving diners 50 per cent off its 24-hour fermented sourdough sharing pizzas, with toppings including spicy salami and ‘nduja or baked aubergine with basil and walnut pesto and smoked ricotta.
Until October 14, 67 Venn Street, SW4 0BD, berberepizza.it
Papa L’s Kitchen Autumn pop-up
West African food has already made headlines this month with some big restaurant openings, and now Gambian-born chef Lawrence Gomez is bringing his Papa L’s Kitchen pop-up restaurant back for an autumn season. The former The Ivy, Sexy Fish and Scott’s chef will be showcasing his “African-fusion cuisine” at The Gojk in Earl’s Court, with a new menu for the new season now available. Tuck into the likes of tempura okra, rib eye steak with cassava chips, and sea bass served with five-hour-cooked benachin rice cooked to Gomez’s mother’s recipe. In celebration of Black History Month this October, diners who book for any Thursday will receive a 15 per cent discount.
Until November 14, 275 Old Brompton Road, SW5 9JA, papalskitchen.com
Check out a new, free art exhibition in King’s Cross
On the hunt for some thought-provoking art this week? Head down into the King’s Cross Tunnel and check out Face to Face. It’s a collection of social commentary and portrait photography from Africa, Latin America and South and South-east Asia. It’s been curated by Ekow Eshun — chairman of the group that commissions artworks for Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth — who says the exhibition will “highlight social documentary photography that functions as a form of engagement, dispensing with the ostensible objectivity of reportage photography and focusing instead on the subjective validity of lived experience”.
7am-8pm, King’s Cross Tunnel, N1C 4AG, facetoface.photos