London’s alternative experiences

Anna Hart covers London life for Grazia, Stylist and the Observer. Here’s her update on this winter’s novelties

London is a famously boozy city, but the new smart bars are ditching the gin for ginseng. The alcohol-free gastrobar Redemption at the Goldfinger Factory, 15 Golborne Road, Portobello, serving coco-tinis and hibiscus iced tea; and Martin Morales’s Andina, 1 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, will soon have Peruvian superfood juices (including physalis and aji limo blended with orange and pomegranate). Juice Club at Fortnum & Mason serves brussels sprout juice to the brave. There is boozed-up juice too – beetroot martinis at The Magazine bar in the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Kensington Gardens.

There’s nothing more British than a picnic, and Londoners don’t regard winter as any reason to stop picnicking, especially when a top restaurant or bar is doing the hard bit. The popular eatery Shrimpy’s Filling Station, Goods Way, King’s Cross, has opened a patio where diners can curl up in alpaca ponchos and sip rum-infused hot chocolate. The Boundary Restaurant’s Rooftop, atop a converted Victorian warehouse, 2-4 Boundary Street, Shoreditch, has a weatherproof pergola, vine canopy, herb and kitchen gardens and two century-old olive trees. But London’s most creative winter al fresco venue is the Leather Bottle Pub, 538 Garratt Lane, Earlsfield, London’s far southwest beyond Wimbledon, which is turning its summer “beach” huts into ski chalets, with heaters and hot water bottles; they have an ice rink.

London loves drama, but not necessarily in a theatre – immersive performances and interactive theatre have taken off in amazing venues. Punchdrunk is the biggest name in the game and its latest show, The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable is its most ambitious production yet. It takes place over four floors in a secret central London location, representing Temple Studios, a crumbling monument to Hollywood’s golden age. Your ticket stipulates that comfortable footwear is essential. And now there’s a trend for art in restaurant spaces – artist Tracey Emin has announced a collaboration with the Mayfair restaurant 34, in South Audley Street, a room displaying a selection of 12 of her works at any time: an ever-changing gallery in which you can eat pudding.

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