Hot Winter Pop-Ups

New Openings

Reassuringly high above the Oxford Street crowds is new pop-up Woody Bear, curing festive fatigue with hot cocktails and multiple variations on melted cheese. Ferris wheel booths and carnival lights make the former Sisu site Instagram-friendly too (535 Oxford Street, until 31st December). Covent Garden, meanwhile, is playing host to London’s first plastic-free, zero-waste café. The Peardrop pop-up is the brainchild of top caterer Rose Lloyd-Owen and gardening magazine Rake’s Progress. Expect salted Rolo brownies and award-winning Ozone coffee (13 Floral Street, until 31st December).

Planting a more permanent stake in the ground this winter is chef Henry Harris, who has joined forces with Harcourt Inns to re-open the historic Three Cranes pub, which appeared on London maps as far back as 1562 and featured in the writings of Samuel Pepys. Harris’s menu champions the grill with a daily changing selection of cuts, as well as smoked eel and his legendary steak tartare (From 4th December, 28 Garlick Hill, EC4).

Also taking us back in time is Kingsland Road drinking emporium TT Liquor, which has opened its new Cellar Bar. One-time jail cells have been transformed into cosy booths, while cocktail ‘flights’ chart the history of mixology (17B Kingsland Road, E2).

The Festive Season

For a Christmas day without the culinary juggling act, leave lunch to the professionals. The carvery at Lanes of London (140 Park Lane, W1) is a suitably decadent option, while both Riding House Café (43-51 Great Titchfield St, W1) and Village East (171-173 Bermondsey St, SE1) will be serving traditional roast turkey with all the trimmings.
Festive flavours translate well into cocktails: ‘The Old St Nick’ at Discount Suit Company (29A Wentworth St, E1) is a toasty blend of whisky, pecan, burnt butter and vanilla; Village East has created a Chocolate Orange Old Fashioned; and 8 Hoxton Square is serving a ‘Sloegroni’. Port lovers should hit Bar Douro (Flat Iron Sq, SE1) for its unrivalled offering of the original Christmas tipple.
It is possible to book a party venue that doesn’t feel like a venue. At Woody Bear groups of up to 100 can enjoy hot cocktails and street food fave Madame & Monsieur. TT Liquor will be hosting boozy banquets in its private ‘vaults’, while supper is served ‘family-style’ at 10 Greek Street. More formal affairs call for Christopher’s Covent Garden (18 Wellington St, WC2) — we love its Art Deco-style Martini Bar.

Giving Back

Since 1998, StreetSmart has been inviting diners to add an extra £1 to their restaurant bills throughout November and December, raising £8.2 million to date for homeless and vulnerable people across the UK. This year, as it celebrates its 20th anniversary, over 500 restaurants are taking part, including The River Café, Ottolenghi and Barrafina. Click here to see the full list and find out how you can take part..
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