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The 14 best pop-ups happening in London this May

Posted at 1:30 pm, May 1, 2015 in Arts & Entertainment, Food & Drink, Free, Fun London

Whether you fancy partying on pontoon, a night playing laser tag, or a micropig picnic, we’ve got you covered with our round-up of the best pop-ups this month.

Nightspot Cinema presents ‘Tron: Legacy’

You know what most cinemas are lacking? A massive game of drunken laser tag to entertain you once the film’s wrapped up. So for one night only, Nightspot is combining the two with a screening of ‘Tron: Legacy’, followed by a night of laser tag with a Daft Punk-inspired soundtrack. Swig on sky blue virtual cocktails while you play laser tag and watch your hand-eye coordination deteriorate rapidly throughout the night. Or maybe the booze will improve your game – either way, it beats a night at the multiplex. Tickets are £20 for the full experience or £15 just for the after party. May 1, 8pm–5am. Star Command Laser Tag, 113–119 Charing Cross Rd, WC2H 0DT.

Truman’s Brewery yard parties


Beer lovers: your Friday nights are sorted for the next few months. Truman’s Brewery is opening its doors to the public on the first Friday of every month this summer for a celebration of all things beer. The east London brewery is putting on a full selection of its ales on cask and keg, as well as free brewery tours so you can get a look behind the scenes. Get competitive with pub skittles and darts, and soak up all that booze with some food from the barbecue.  From May 1, first Friday of every month, 5.30pm-10pm. Free entry. Truman’s Brewery, Stour Rd, E3 2NT.

Flamingo Pier


Want to party on a floating pontoon in the middle of the canal in Hackney Wick? Of course you do! Flamingo Pier returns for another summer of tropical parties and this time they’ll be choosing a different exotic location to theme each event, including the Seychelles, the Philippines and Burma. The launch party kicks off with Bali, and they’ll be serving up Balinese street food from Ayam Happy, Kombucha cocktails and soul and disco tunes. First Friday of every month. May 1–September 4, tickets from £10. Counter Café, Stour Space, 7 Roach Rd, E3 2PA . 

Streets of Spain at Southbank Centre


Can’t quite stretch to a cheeky getaway for the bank holiday weekend? Head down to the South Bank and you’ll feel like you’re in Spain. Well, kind of. We can’t account for the weather, but the site is being transformed into the best of Spain’s neighbourhoods including Barcelona’s La Boqueria market and Madrid’s Plaza Mayor. Chow down on paella, cured meats and churros, or try your hand at blending your own wine. May 1–4, noon–10pm, Southbank Centre.

Hot Tub Cinema – Tub Tropicana Tour

Hot Tub Cinema - 20 August 2014 / London. Picture credit: Tolga Akmen

Don your best Hawaiian shirt because everyone’s favourite aquatic cinema is back with a tropical themed bonanza. The Tub Tropicana Tour is stopping off in London from May 1–17 and it’s selling out fast, but there are still tickets for showings of ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’, ‘Anchorman’ and the David Bowie-starring classic ‘Labyrinth’. May 1–17, from £28. Former Shoreditch Underground station, Pedley St, E1 6SE.   

Crossrail Place opening

The roof garden in Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf which opens to

While the actual Crossrail network won’t start running until 2018, Crossrail Place – the new seven-storey building for the Canary Wharf Crossrail station – is opening on May 1 with a weekend of activities and pop-ups to celebrate the launch. Expect live music and loads of freebies including popcorn, candy floss, juices, waffles and prosecco. There’s also a covered roof garden so you can soak up the views and pretend it’s way warmer than it is. Shops and restaurants will be opening in phases and the first ten will set up shop on May 1, including Bespoke Cycling, The Breakfast Club, Poncho 8 and Sticks’n’Sushi. Find out more hereThe opening celebrations are from May 1–3, 11am–9pm. Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf, adjacent to One Canada Square, E14 5AB.

Hackney Drinks Market at Hackney Downs Studios 

Square Root

London’s first ever dedicated drinks market is coming to Hackney this May, with booze from east London producers including Butler’s Gin, Craft Cocktail Company and The Hackney Brewery. The drinks are very much centre stage here, but there will also be bar snacks, barbecue food and a fried fish bar so you won’t have to go far to get your drunk food fix. May 2, and then the first Saturday of every month, Village Green outside space of Hackney Downs Studios, 17 Amhurst Terrace, E8 2BT. 



Pop-up party Turntables is back for another summer residency of food, booze and tunes at Shapes, the canalside hangout in Hackney Wick. Stuff your face with food from The Cheese Truck, White Men Can’t Jerk and Popdogs Hotdogs and sip on boozy slushies or Turntables’ specially brewed lager. Once you’ve had your fill of food and drink, get ready to dance to house, disco, funk and soul from top DJs. Free entry, May 7–July 31, 119 Wallis Rd, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, E9 5LN

Edible Playground

quinoa castle

Who says you can’t play with your food? Christabel’s is putting on an edible playground pop-up so you can do just that. Before you get too carried away, you can’t go round chewing on swing sets, but the menu includes a snakes and ladders bruschetta, a build-your-own quinoa castle, shortbread Jenga and a ‘paint your own chicken’ course (your guess is as good as ours). May 14, 7pm–10pm, £40. Secret location in N1 – revealed three days before the event.

MayFest: Men of Mystery


Dulwich Picture Gallery is putting on its first ever weekend festival, celebrating the work of artist Eric Ravilious and film director Alfred Hitchcock. Expect 1930s/’40s themed fun with outdoor screenings of Hitchcock’s classics, exhibition tours, free swing lessons, a pop-up vintage clothes shop, as well as food from Original Fry-Up Material, Mean Green Foods and Dd’s Creperie. May 15–17, tickets from £6. Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Rd, SE21 7AD.

 Pop-up Screens – Science Flicktion


Ever found yourself wondering what the real life science is behind your favourite films? No, us neither. But you want to know now, don’t you? Lucky for you, Pop-up Screens are going to be showing ‘Alien’, ‘Terminator 2’, ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and ‘Good Will Hunting’ and getting in some scientists and mathematicians to talk the audience through the technical stuff behind science-y scenes in each film. They promise it’ll be more fun than it sounds – and there’s also going to be comedians on the panel, bringing the lols. May 15–17, tickets £18. Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Rd, SW3 5EE.

Campari Red Night District


Campari fans, get excited because this is pretty much as good as it gets. The appropriately named Campari Red Night District is taking over the Hoxton Gallery and Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes with a pop-up celebrating everything about the 150-year-old spirit. Expect Campari-inspired artwork, art deco interiors and non-stop negronis. And the best thing about it? It’s all completely free! Sadly their licence doesn’t allow for daytime boozing, but you can sip on complimentary Campari to your heart’s content in the evening. Wednesday–Sunday, 11.30am–10pm, May 16–June 10. 9 Kingsland Rd, E2 8AA

Summer Tales 

night tales

The guys that brought you Night Tales are coming back with a summer incarnation called Summer Tales and it’s set to be just as epic. Get ready to stuff your face with food from the excellent line-up of venders including Burger & Lobster, Morty & Bob’s and Bonnie Gull. As well as the usual great food, they’re bringing tropical-themed fun with a whole load of summery cocktail bars plus a sun terrace, rope swings and hammocks. Now all we need is some sun. From May 22, £4 or £5 after 9pm. 288–299 Old St, EC1V 9DP.

Pop-up Pignic

Triplets & the 3 pigs_37

Squeal! The micro pig pop-up has finally arrived. It’s the pop-up we’ve all been waiting for since we announced it in March. Yelp has joined forces with Petpiggies and Farms Not Factories to host the first ever pig picnic at The Proud Archivist. As well as some educational talks on all things pig-related, you’ll get to play with a load of newborn piglets, sip on piggy themed cocktails and feast on high welfare food – just don’t expect any bacon sandwiches. May 21–25, tickets £30. The Proud Archivist, 2–10 Hertford Road, Regents Canal, N1 5ET.

By Isabelle Aron



Find 121 more awesome things happening this May.

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