COMBINE A PANTO WITH BINGO HERE: Bongo & The Beanstalk
Bongo's Bingo is back this month with a run of five Christmas events, as Bongo and the Beanstalk takes over The Grand in Clapham. Bongo & The Beanstalk is a panto-inspired bingo extravaganza which will feature a festive set featuring shiny baubles, giant presents, snow globes, Christmas trees and snow confetti. Expect a liberal dose of Xmas songs - and maybe a dance number or two from the host - from across the ages (think classics, ballads and hands-in-the-air singalongs), plus Christmas-themed prizes for the bingo winners. Fancy dress is very much encouraged.
The Grand, 21-25 St John's Hill, Clapham, SW11 1TT; 7th, 14th, 27th-29th December
CHECK OUT A NEW FOOD MARKET HERE: Boxpark Wembley
North-west London’s newest casual dining and entertainment hotspot is set to open just in time for the festive break. The largest Boxpark site to date, Boxpark Wembley will host a diverse selection of street food vendors including Ugly Dumpling, Wolf, Zia Lucia, Oatopia and Cut + Grind. The Wembley venue will be the first entirely indoor Boxpark, offering year-round entertainment and a diverse menu of global cuisine and seasonal craft beers and drinks. The venue will kick things off with an action-packed launch weekend on 8th-9th December. The Rinse FM takeover will feature performances from WSTRN and The Heatwave, and DJ Tim Westwood will be hosting his very own immersive bingo session in collaboration with Bingo Lingo.
Olympic Way, Wembley, HA9 0NU; from 8th December
ATTEND A FESTIVE SUPPERCLUB HERE: Brick House
This December, the award-winning East Dulwich bakery is opening its doors for three evenings for a family-style Indian supper club. Head chef James Mossman spent two years at the helm of Westminster institution Cinnamon Club, and is bringing his love of Indian food to the Brick House kitchen for three nights at the beginning of the month. The menu will include classic street food staple chaat, with spiced potatoes, coriander chutney katchumber; followed by lamb shank rogan josh, pilau rice, tandoori broccoli, raitha and sourdough naan; finishing with coconut payasam and jaggery roasted pineapple, served with a cup of massala chai. A full bar will include a selection of natural and low intervention wines from Les Caves de Pyrene, classic cocktails, beer and soft drinks. Vegetarian options will be available.
Zenoria Street, East Dulwich, SE22 8HP; 6th-8th December
TAKE TO THE ICE HERE: Elephant & Castle
The festive season has officially begun in Zone 1’s Elephant & Castle, with activities on offer for children, families and even the annual office party. Visitors can skate on Castle’s Square ice rink, immerse themselves in a magical drinking experience, get lost in The Artwork’s escape rooms, and purchase their last-minute stocking fillers in the pop-up shops on offer. Kids will love the bumper cars on ice, which is surrounded by street-food trucks and live DJs. Newly opened bar The Cauldron promises a magical experience – its mobile bar beside the ice rink will see magic wands dispense hot cocktails and beer served in ale horns. Elaborate hot chocolates will also be available – the perfect winter warmer after an hour on the ice.
Castle Square, 40 Elephant Road, Elephant & Castle, SE17 1AY; until 6th January 2019.
FEEL FESTIVE HERE: Dalloway Terrace
‘Winter At Dalloway’ has returned to The Bloomsbury hotel’s all-weather terrace. The sought-after spot has been transformed into an icy haven of crystallised white, pink and silver petals – complete with natural lichen across the ceiling and walls – designed by Nikki Tibbles of Wild At Heart. The installation is completed with festive touches such as cosy hot water bottles, Foxford woolen blankets and a chimenea on the patio. Guests can keep extra warm with truffle and cheese fondues, hot cocktails and a seasonal menu of decadent winter dishes.
16-22 Great Russell Street, Fitzrovia, WC1B 3NN
PLAY SUPERMARKET SWEEP HERE: Kitchen Cocktails
This month, London Cocktail Club’s maverick mixologist JJ Goodman has transformed the ground floor of his Shoreditch site into a mini replica of legendary 90s show Supermarket Sweep. Guests will walk through the doors of the Cocktail Kitchen pop-up for a cocktail on arrival. Once divided into teams, competitors will don their 90s-style primary colour jumpers before selecting their preferred cocktail from JJ’s new Kitchen Cocktails book. Shopping basket in hand, ticket-holders will race around the supermarket aisles – packed with everyday items from Coco Pops to bacon – to gather the ingredients and inflatables needed to create their cocktail of choice and score one of the ‘cocktail-hack’ prizes. We feel the late, great Dale Winton would approve.
London Cocktail Club Shoreditch, 29 Sclater Street, Shoreditch, E1 6HR; 1st December-23rd February 2019.
SING ALONG TO XMAS FILMS HERE: Neighbourhood Cinema
Neighbourhood Cinema is popping up at Tropicana Beach Club, which has been transformed into ‘Frozen Island’ for the season – think frosted palm trees, icicles and giant snow globes. Screenings will take place every Sunday between selected dates. Tickets for adults start at £25 and include a frozen cocktail and popcorn, with further options of hot food, frozen sharing cocktails and prosecco. The lineup of films includes Die Hard, The Holiday and Love Actually, plus adult singalongs of The Greatest Showman and Frozen. ‘Little Islander’ screenings will show all-time family favourites including Elf, Polar Express, and Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. All films will be played across multiple screens throughout the venue, ensuring everyone can get up close.
Tropicana Beach Club, Parker Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5PW; every Sunday from 11th December until 27th January.
GO CHRISTMAS SHOPPING HERE: SAMPLE: Christmas
This year’s SAMPLE: Christmas is set to be an extended edition of the SAMPLE market that arrives in Greenwich at the start of each season. Free to attend, this weekend’s pop-up market celebrates the very best of emerging talent from the worlds of fashion, design, homeware, food and drinks: this year’s traders include Cakehole, Coco & Ginger, Edy & Bridge, Kimba, Pottern and Woben Form. Expect a late-night food and drink market on both Saturday and Sunday evening, accompanied by live music, performances, festive workshops and DJ sets. Make sure to book ahead for the ‘Festive Talk and Table’ which will be hosted by jewellery designers Tatty Devine, Wayne Hemingway of Hemingway Design and shoe and accessory designer Tracey Neuls. An intimate street-food feast and round-table conversation, the event will take place from 12-2pm on 1st December on the second floor of NOW Gallery.
Peninsula Square, Greenwich, SE10 0DX, 1st-2nd December
DO YOUR BIT FOR CHARITY HERE: Ace Hotel London Shoreditch
The latest instalment of Ace Hotel London’s charity dining series, Sharing Knives, is set to take place on 5th December. The second of the series will see Ace Hotel London’s executive chef Matthew Marshall join forces with Brett Redman, one half of Japanese yakitori restaurant Jidori, for one night only. Together, the pair will create a four-course East-meets-West seafood feast, where 50% of the ticket price will be donated to charity Hospitality Action. Dishes will include the likes of smoked yellowtail tataki, shiso, mizuna and karasumi; steamed Cornish hen crab with brown crab soup; Koshihikari rice and greens; and matcha ganache vanilla sponge with cranberry meringue and clementine sorbet. Expect a dose of karaoke too.
100 Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch, E1 6JQ; 5th December
ATTEND A TASTY FUNDRAISER HERE: StreetSmart
The Barbary’s Eyal Jagermann, Billy & Jack (Masterchef 2016) and chef/food writer Alexandra Dudley have teamed up for a one-off supper club to raise funds for homelessness charity StreetSmart. Guests can enjoy a three-course feast, classic cocktails and some festive cheer, with all profits raised going directly to vulnerable and homeless members in the local community. Taking place on 7th December at Spitalfields co-working space Benk & Bo, guests will be welcomed with a cocktail before taking their seat as each chef takes turns to create an exclusive dish. All courses will be accompanied by an optional wine pairing. Established in 1997, StreetSmart has raised a total of £8.8m by adding a voluntary £1 to diners’ bills at restaurants across London during the festive months. All proceeds are distributed to charities, hostels and projects that help those living on the streets and in unsuitable accommodation.
4-6 Gravel Lane, Spitalfields, E1 7AW; 7th December
ENJOY FIZZ & JAZZ HERE: Zuaya
This year winter guests can warm up in the Amazonian jungle at High Street Kensington’s latest Latin American restaurant, Zuaya – and its newly launched ‘Jazz Wednesdays’. To get everyone feeling festive, Zuaya is offering those who dine with them on a Wednesday evening a free bottle of champagne. Vibrant sharing plates combine the tastes and textures of Latin America, taking guests on a journey around Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Peru. Expect signature dishes like Amazon-style king prawns and lamb purple tacos, alongside a selection of ceviche. An atmospherically-lit spot, the bar is filled with leafy interiors and velvet armchairs – the ideal place from which to enjoy the venue’s resident jazz band every Wednesday from 7-10pm.
35 Kensington High Street, Kensington, W8 5BA; every Wednesday