Best Lunch Break Alternatives in the City

For many of us, lunch breaks mean nothing more than quickly inhaling a sandwich while catching up on emails, but to put it quite simply: it shouldn’t be that way. Many studies have shown that taking some time off during office hours improves productivity levels and performance, so why rush? Better still, the City of London offers plenty of opportunities to spend your lunch break a little bit differently. Let’s take a look.

Alternative Lunch Breaks in the City: New Street Square

1. Treat yourself at a food market

Both New Street Square (on Wednesdays) and Guildhall Yard (on Thursdays) host regular food markets. An excellent opportunity to just wander past the wide range of international food stands, treat yourself to something delicious and sit down on a bench to eat it peacefully and (with any luck) enjoy the weather.

Alternative Lunches in the City

2. Get carried away at a lunchtime recital

What better way to relax than with some classical music? Every Wednesday and Thursday at 1 pm, St Olave’s Church in the City of London hosts a free classical recital. Stop thinking about work for a minute and surrender yourself to the music: your creativity will flow afterwards!

Alternative lunch in the City: Lunchbox Theatre

3. Be entertained at the theatre

St Bride’s Foundation frequently hosts a series of “Lunchbox Theatres”, starting at 1 pm and lasting for about 45 minutes: just enough time for stepping out of the office chaos for a little bit. Check out their upcoming shows and more info here. Not a theatre fan? Why not listen to an inspiring talk at the Shoe Lane Library?

Alternative lunches in the City: Guildhall Art Gallery

4. Wander around a gallery

With so many galleries and museums around in the City of London, why not pop in during your lunch hour? Museum of London has plenty of free stuff on display, as do the Guildhall Art Gallery and The Barbican Centre. Bring your colleagues along for some additional teambuilding – double win!

Alternative lunch in the city: Blue Cow Yoga

5. Blow off some steam at the gym

This might not be the first thing you’d want to do during your hour of freedom, but trust us: your afternoon will be so much more productive and enjoyable! Whether you go for an intense spinning class, a quick run, or a fun yoga session, your body and mind will thank you for taking some mid-day exercise.

5 Things You Didn’t Know about Paternoster Chop House

Close to St. Paul’s Cathedral, Paternoster Chop House (PCH) sits at 1 Warwick Court, Paternoster Square and is the place to go if you’re enthusiastically carnivorous. Best not attempt to woo a vegetarian at this sophisticated eatery (indeed, the veggie options are wryly minimal; but more on that later).

However, aside from offering some of the best steak in the City, PCH is famous. For rare is the person who hasn’t seen, let alone heard of, First Dates. Two lonely hearts, a televised dating agency, and maître d’ Fred Sirieix watching to see that Cupid strikes true. Nevertheless, PCH’s day job is a far cry from the Channel 4 reality show. All is not as it seems on the box.

1.

To begin with, “maître d’” Fred Sirieix doesn’t actually work at PCH. In fact, Sirieix is General Manager of the Michelin-starred Galvin at Windows, in the Hilton Park Lane in Mayfair. Rather more expensive than PCH, Galvin serves up French (mais bien sûr!) haute cuisine, including a seven-course menu degustation to work through while indulging in panoramic views of London only placement on the 28th floor can afford. Now, that is romantic.

2.

Yet, that’s not to say PCH’s isn’t quite swish in and of itself. The open-plan setting’s lovely and there’s a covered heated terrace. This is the City, after all, and although snacks can be bought for between £1.50 and £6.50, starters go up to £12.50, and mains up to £35. Though, if you like a nice glass with your meal, be prepared to pay for it (a bottle of Prosecco starts at £36).

3.

On the subject of the menu, the food really is delicious, fully living up to its “Chop House” name (where the chef buys in meat on the bone and wastes very little of such purchases). This has resulted in gastronomic delights aplenty, including roasted split bone marrow on sourdough, in-house pork scratchings, and Aberdeen Angus Cross beef 42 day-aged and available in five different cuts. Pass a steak knife, please.

4.

The remainder of the First Dates staff, on the other hand, do work at PCH – for the most part. Unfortunately, this doesn’t include First Dates’ blonde waitress CiCi Coleman (an actress) or waitress Laura Tott (who’s in the Royal Navy), nor beloved barman Merlin Griffiths (indeed a trained mixologist, but also landlord of his own pub and bar), or waiters Sam Conrad and Austin Ventour (an actor and hip-hop dancer). But rest assured normal PCH service will still be star quality.

5.

Lastly, given that Fred Sirieix isn’t really the maître d’, it probably comes as no surprise that the restaurant isn’t actually open during the filming of First Dates. By extension, all those diners in the background to the two potential love birds are in fact extras (or others to be matched). So, you won’t find yourself on TV whenever you decide to book a table; PCH is too professional for that. This might be a disappointment to some, but who truly wants to be recorded chomping on a juicy lamb double chop?

How to Celebrate Halloween in the City

Yes, it’s already been a year since you and your friends took on the honourable task of dressing up as the entire Stranger Things cast. But lucky for you, that can only mean one thing: it’s time to get your gang back together and make sure this year will be even better! Not sure what you’re doing yet? Not to worry. We’ve looked up the scariest and most exciting activities and parties throughout the City: the oldest (and most haunted!) part of London.

1. Join a creepy tour
With all its little lanes and mews, the City of London offers the perfect base from which to discover London’s haunted past. Even though The Ghastly Ghost Tour runs all year, the blood-curdling crime and murder stories, as well as the appearance of midnight monsters and devilish demons are particularly relevant during this time of the year. Want to take it one step further? Step on board of the Haunted Tube Express! An experience as mad as it sounds; this tour will take you through the darker history of the London underground network, which, apparently, is full of ghosts. Brrrr!

Zombie Escape Room

2. Outsmart a zombie
Does being trapped in a dark room with a zombie chained to the wall sound fun to you? Look no further: we’ve got just the thing for you. In this Zombie Escape Room, you and 9 other people get one hour to find a hidden key, all the while the hungry zombie’s chains get looser and looser … The faint-hearted might want to stay away from this, but then again, isn’t this what Halloween is all about?

Halloween in London 3

3. Experience Nosferatu at The Living Cinema
Get in the mood for your big Halloween weekend by watching this eerie masterpiece at the beautiful, historic and admittedly pretty spooky St. Luke’s Church on Thursday the 26th of October. Organised by the musical geniuses of The Cabinet of Living Cinema, this is bound to be a unique and chilling experience of an 80-year old silent classic. Get your tickets here!

Halloween at Bread Street Kitchena

4. Enjoy dinner at the dark side
Looking for something a bit more food-focused? Head over to Bread Street Kitchen, where Ramsey and his team are hosting a supernatural dining experience between 27 and 31 October. What to expect? A 5-course menu full of dark and bizarre dishes, from pigs heads croquettes to black risotto. Yum!

Hallowqueen at the Breakfast Club

5. Show your scary dance moves
If there’s one thing you don’t have to worry about during your big Halloween weekend (or week, even) it’s parties. From the Voodoo Halloween Ball at City Zebrano to Sky Garden’s annual Halloween party: the City of London has something for everyone. Get groovy on the Halloween Silent Disco Boat, get aboard on the TURNT Halloween Boat Party for a rave that you (quite literally) won’t be able to leave, or join the Strictly Come Drag Queens for a big night of fun at Hallowqueen: you name it, it’s there!

Dasha Rush +LCC – Live AV at the Barbican

If you’re someone who likes your auditory experiences blended with some stunning visual, then head over to the Barbican on 18 October for Russian Electronic experimentalist Dasha Rush’s new set, together with an opener by duo LCC (Ana Quiroga and Uge Pañeda).

Promising a “journey into unimaginable landscapes” and curated by Clon, the show sees Rush perform Antarctic Takt, which she made in collaboration with the visual artist Stanislav Glazov. First aired in 2014, this is its first UK performance. The evening preludes Unsound Dislocation, one of the world’s most adventurous music festivals, coming to the Barbican in December.

Antarctic Takt offers a glimpse into the uninhabited lands of Antarctica stripped bare, its 3D scenes blending smoothly, atmospherically with Rush’s low-tempo Techno. Sure to be an immersive experience, Rush (who was based in France for a long time) is known for “pushing the boundaries” with her contemporary music. Here, what results is a harmonious blend of “art, nature, and technology” that truly brings a new meaning to the word “ambient”.

Signed with labels Sonic Groove and Raster Norton, Rush’s majority of output nevertheless remains on her own Fullpanda records. An innovator even in the experimental, Rush was recently involved with 4D Sound in Amsterdam and will soon be taking up her role on the curatorial board for Budapest’s Spatial Sound Institute in this area.

A large part of Rush’s work can be accessed for free on Soundcloud. So, why buy tickets? That’s where the artistic touch of Glazov comes in. A Russian now based in and inspired by Germany, Glazov brings that epicentric Berlin Techno scene edge imagistically to Antarctic Takt. Without the eyes, the ears can’t appreciate it fully.

The evening will also mark LCC’s London debut, the Spanish duo performing another audio-visual piece, their second album Bastet (named after the Egyptian goddess of music and female power, and made in collaboration with the Portuguese, Berlin-based filmmaker Pedro Maia). Recorded in Sweden in 2016, Bastet unravels over eight tracks (Am, Lb, Ba, He, She, Ka, Aj, and Us) alongside manipulated 16mm films.

Where Rush offers her audience the uninhabited, LCC (short for Las CasiCasiotone) proffer the unimaginable, delving back into a time of “ancient rituals, symbols, and natural landscapes” to achieve a hypnotic narrative effect, yet never falling into Electronic music’s easy ability for the abstract, but rather circulating round and round on the symbolic meaning of human activity and experience.

What all these artists share in common is particular to the modern day Electronic scene: they’ve risen to the heights of (sight and) sound from underground. Not so, or only in passing, the mainstream commercial scene for these trailblazers. These gems have been polished from the grit, the highs and lows of untrodden artistic exploration.

Dasha Rush + LCC – Live AV will take place at 7.30pm in the Barbican’s Milton Court Concert Hall, with standard tickets priced at £20 (if you’re between 14 and 25, tickets are £10; proof of ID required). Please also note that there is a £3 online booking fee.

London Cocktail Week 2017 – Top 5 Picks

Cancel all your plans: London Cocktail Week has arrived.

Yep, from the 2nd to the 8th of October, Moscow Mules and Tequila Sunrises will be taking over the City of London. This year, drinkup.london have eradicated the wristband system and introduced a £10 Digital Pass that can be purchased through the app. This entitles the holder to discounted cocktails in some of London’s most sought after cocktail bars.

It’s hard to know where to start – London is, without a doubt, home to some of the best cocktail hubs the world has to offer. And with over 250 bars participating, you’re positively spoilt for choice. But never fear, One City is here with our top 5 picks for London Cocktail Week 2017.

The Cocktail Village Old Spitalfields Market London E1 6EW

Image by Drinkup.London

Returning for a third year, the Cocktail Village in Old Spitalfields Market acts as the hub of LCW. A veritable wonderland of pop-up cocktail bars, food vendors and experiences, punters can expect cocktails galore and a chance to sample new products and taste bespoke creations. But don’t be fooled – this isn’t your regular promotional event. Described as an immersive experience, The Cocktail Village fuses art, installation and drinks together. Experience the delightful combo of whiskey cocktails and music at Monkey Shoulder’s life-sized building block bar, or be transported to New Orleans with Southern Comfort’s buttermilk fried chicken and a SoCo cocktail.

The Village will also include a main bar, premium bar, a sensory room and a silent disco.

Advance tickets for The Cocktail Village are available in advance for £5 for Digital Pass holders. Otherwise limited tickets are available on the door for £10 – however you should expect queues so it is recommended you buy in advance.

Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings
42 Northampton Road
London
EC1R 0HU

This impeccably designed bar, nestled away in Clerkenwell, is the perfect place to start a night of cocktail sampling. After all, it is the ‘prettiest bar in London’. Designed by the minds behind Pizza East, this elegant bar is equipped with foliage filled conservatory, mismatched armchairs and warehouse space for creatives to boot. The food is also a hit, with former sous chef at the Connaught Alex Visciano taking the helm. Swing by Bourne & Hollingsworth with your digital pass for a £6 Monkey King cocktail – Monkey Shoulder whisky, peach aperitif wine, chilli liqueur and whisky barrel-aged bitters.

Merchant House of Bow Lane

13 Well Court London EC4M 9DN

+44 (0) 20 7332 0044

Image by Merchant House Image by Merchant House

Rum and gin lover? This comfortable basement bar is second to none when it comes to the stuff. Paying homage to the history of the merchant trade, Merchant House offers premium, super-premium and and fine and rare spirits, mixed to celebrate the flavours that have come to London throughout history. Expect plush leather armchairs, a buzzing atmosphere and an eclectic clientele.

This time your digital pass will get you a £6 Kopstoot – that’s Rutte Old Simon gin and vermouth, served with a wheat beer.

Sky Pod

1 Sky Garden Walk London EC3M 8AF

+44 (0) 20 7337 2344

Image by skygarden.london

Located within London’s coveted Sky Garden, The Sky Pod bar pairs sweeping views of the city with top-notch cocktails and bar snacks. As one of London’s most exclusive and instagrammable green spaces, the prices are, predictably, sky high. However your LCW digital pass entitles you to a £6 Berry Tipple tea – Grey Goose infused with Earl Grey and Lapsang Souchong, autumnal red wine reduction, citrus juices, IPA foam, with dehydrated grapefruit or orange and rose petals – and the view comes for free.

Exmouth Market Grind

8-10 Exmouth Market London EC1R 4QA

Image by grind.co.uk

Nobody knows coffee better than Grind, and coffee cocktails are no exception. Think casual dining, creative brunch, lunch and dinner dishes, and espresso martinis. Lots of espresso martinis.

The retro environment is energised with neon signs, white brick and wooden floors, and its location is trendy and central. Sample a hot flat white Russian with your digital pass this time – Grey Goose vodka, coffee liqueur, fresh espresso coffee and full fat milk.

Happy drinking!

Find out more information about how to purchase your Digital Pass and the bars who are participating here.