Heading out east is a great way to start your festive partying in London this year, with some of the trendiest and buzziest bars rubbing shoulders with undiscovered gems. First, head to the fashionable grime of Dalston, perhaps for a bite to eat at hallowed Turkish BYO joint Mangal 1. After you’ve had your fill, head to Ridley Road Market bar for shabby-chic tropical décor, retro jazz and soul, and cheap cans of Red Stripe. After you’ve taken in the delights of Dalston, head down Kingsland Road for more trendy bars and clubs in Shoreditch. This area is the spiritual home of pop-up bars, and the festive season only amplifies this trend: check in to Spiritland, a pop-up bar and music venue in the Merchant’s Tavern restaurant, for a piping hot winter cocktail. If you still haven’t eaten, meanwhile, Merchant’s Tavern itself offers beautiful food and a fantastic Christmas menu: £55 a head will get you a three course goose dinner. A glamorous place to end your evening is at Nightjar, a glamorous art deco bar and venue renowned for its lethal, Jazz Age-inspired cocktails.
The City of London, of course, offers no shortage of options for food, drink and entertainment in the capital. For a post-work drink with a view, head to City Social, Jason Atherton’s latest venture in the iconic Tower 42 skyscraper. Housed in the 24th floor, there aren’t many places where you can get a better view over the City. The food’s not bad, either, having earned a Michelin star for its modern British cuisine. A new City venue well worth checking out is The Culpeper, which combines traditional features like dark wood and beams with modern trends like exposed brickwork and an open-plan layout which gives it an airy, expansive feel. The Montcalm at Brewery London City is the perfect hotel for exploring the City of London, with a range of packages and offers available this festive season.
If you’re strictly a west London kind of person, you’re in luck too. On a cold evening, Notting Hill’s Windsor Castle is a particularly cosy pub, will nooks and crannies aplenty, mulled wine on tap, and outdoor heaters. For dinner, head to Gusto for delicious, authentic Italian cuisine before heading next door to The Westbourne, one of London’s most famous gastropubs. This is also a great place to eat, with a fantastic Christmas menu at this time of year, but is equally good for drinks, with a brilliant range of traditional ales, Belgian beers, fine wines and cocktails. For a night out with a difference, head to Little Yellow Door, a house party with a twist where everyone’s invited. Billing itself as ‘the ultimate flat-share’, you can book your attendance via WhatsApp. It really is decked out like a house, with the relaxed setting a great place to meet new friends. Where it differs from your standard house party is in the quality of the drinks, with a top-class mixologist on hand to whip you up a gourmet cocktail – there’s also a revolving selection of fantastic cooks providing delicious food.