The winter months are behind us and it’s time to whack on those sunglasses, invest in a pair of shorts and have a good old laugh. To help you on your jovial ways, we’ve put together the A-Z of Fundon. Today, let’s start at the very beginning. The A-Is…
Animal magic. While you await the opening of Shoreditch’s new cat café, get petting at one of London’s city farms. On Sunday March 24, Spitalfields City Farm’s fundraising CowFest promises lots of great live moosic. Or go further and adopt an aardvark. For £32 you can contribute to the conservation work at ZSL London Zoo, then pop along to see how Kiyo and Misha, the resident long-snouted cuties, are doing.
Act now to get into a new Punchdrunk happening. A glance into our crystal ball suggests London’s most wanted theatremakers – the geniuses behind a choose-your-own-path version of ‘Faust’ – are back with a new secret show. Search for clues and you might find it hiding in a magical shop in Dalston (hint!). If you’re not lucky enough to stumble upon it, don’t despair: we hope it’s a sign that their long-rumoured new London show is imminent…
Booze with views. Anyone can drink until they see stars, but it’s more fun to see them before you start. Happily, London is packed with bars from where you can see the evening skies. Avoid the rush hour on a Sunday at Tower Hill’s Sky Lounge or the busy, fun bar at Sushisamba, which has the best views from Heron Tower, the City’s tallest building.
BYOC. You’ve brought your own booze, now bring your own cocktails. Take those random Christmas leftovers that have been gathering dust on your shelves down to the BYOC bar in Covent Garden, and bartenders will knock up something fun for you.
Comedy in a giant cow. Much of the world sees Britain as a nation of barking surrealists who have lost touch with reality. When we run three-month-long summer festivals of comedy, cabaret and theatre inside a large upside-down purple cow, who can blame them? The South Bank springs into life next month: book now for Udderbelly Festival which returns from April 12.
Cocktails in a jam jar. Don’t you sometimes think: ‘Putting jam in it is a bit of a waste of a jar… Wouldn’t it be better to fill it with delicious booze?’ If so, you simply must take yourself to the London Cocktail Club and sip a concoction out of these quaint receptacles.
Dance Dance Party Party. A girls-only freestyle freakout that’s a cross between an aerobics class and a club night. Its website boasts: ‘No Boys. No Booze. No Judgment (Legwarmers Optional)’ and its three London venues each offer a dark room so you can jump around like a loon without worrying if your bra strap’s slipped.
At Drink, Shop & Do, a bar/café/shop in King’s Cross, the afternoon tea is so good you’d swear they’ve got half the WI captive in their basement. There are board games for daytime amusement, and in the evening the bar hosts regular informal sessions to keep hands busy, including knit night (buy wool and needles here, along with a cocktail or two) and Lego-robot-making sessions. Thursday night is vintage make-up time so you can get dolled up too.
Eating on the hoof. Fun is about spontaneity, not forward-planning. Good news, disorganised diners: no-bookings restaurants are the big London food trend of 2013, and some of them are really superb – Corner Room in E2, Dishoom in WC2 (see ‘H’), and Morito in EC1. Be warned, though: if you want to be where it’s at, a lot of other people will be there too, so pick your moment.
Edible Cinema Love food? Love film? Then you’ll love the meals-with-movies trend that’s sweeping the capital. The best options include Bea’s of Bloomsbury every Tuesday, One Aldwych and the Firmdale Hotel chain over the weekends, and Edible Cinema, which often provides a tasting selection to dip into throughout the film, matching flavours to the events on screen.
Free chocolate. Free. Chocolate. Need we say more? The excellent annual Chocolate Festival is back this weekend (Friday March 22 to Sunday March 24). There are expert demonstrations, choccy gifts to buy and, most importantly, sampling sessions.
Or float your boat and take a mini cruise aboard Predator II – an ex-police launch which chugs across the river from the O2 QEII pier to Jubilee Pier at Trinity Buoy Wharf for just £2 each way.
Getting high. Raise your eyes from your screen for a moment, and you will notice that the capital has gone skyscraper mad lately. The View From The Shard offers the best chance of spotting your house/gutter, but otherwise you can re-enact ‘Avatar’ on Kew’s Xstrata treetop walkway, or ‘Where Eagles Dare’ on the Excel-O2 cable cars.
Come back down to earth but avoid humdrum reality by booking a night out with Gingerline. You can find a pop-up bar or art thing near pretty much every stop on the hipster branchline (the Dalston-New Cross bit of the Overground). But secret supper club Gingerline is one of the pioneering best. Diners go to a stop on the line then follow SMS instructions to get to Gingerline’s secet HQ for cocktails, and a fivecourse meal that’s nearly as adventurous as the in-house cabaret.
Having a Holi-day. Indian nibbles, chai, storytelling and an all-important opportunity to lob coloured powder at all and sundry make Dishoom’s celebration of the Hindu festival Holi fun for all the family. Everyone is welcome on Sunday March 24, when the crowd-pulling Covent Garden restaurant is taking over Village Underground for the day.
Ironic clubbing. Specifically, at the night known as Fleetmac Wood. Nope, that’s not a smelling mitsake – it’s a collective of DJs paying tribute to the many eras and ages of a band who contributed some sublimely melodic soft rock to the musical canon, but who are perhaps still best known for the urban myth about Stevie Nicks having cocaine blown up her bottom. Expect six hours of tunes culled exclusively from Fleetwood Mac’s back catalogue, including remixes and edits made especially for the night. Loads and loads of fun – and that’s not even a sweet little lie.