The weather’s getting hotter and we all know what summer in London means – rooftop brunches/drinks/sunbathing/all of the above. We’ve rounded up four of our favourite lesser-known spots in the City, and we’re using the term ‘secret’ fast and loose here, given that these rooftops have huge (well deserved) followings. But next time a pal suggests a drink at one of the busiest rooftops in London, why not guide them to one of these City hidden gems instead?
There’s more than one rooftop with a banging view of St Paul’s (and views don’t get much better). Sabine opened last year with a garden-like, highly Instagrammable decor and killer cocktail menu. Make your way to the seventh floor of the Leonardo Royal Hotel and clink a frozen blood orange negroni in the sunset before it becomes the hottest venue in London.
We waited with bated breath for The Garden at 120 to open after Covid, and it’s worth the long wait – spring is the ultimate time to visit to see the wisteria in bloom. Step up to the tranquil garden, complete with water feature, to see the City skyline from the mid level – a vantage point unlike any other. It’s free to visit and you can bring up your own food and drink, or if that’s not enough, find 14 Hills restaurant and bar just one floor down.
Over in Tower Hill, Cloud Nine is all about the Tower of London view – soon to be the summer Instagram spot once ‘Superbloom’ is in full view. Cloud Nine’s spring and summer residency is welcoming Cityworkers for brunch at the weekends or sunset club from 5pm, with DJs and VIP cabanas up for booking. Find it on top of Tower Suites hotel.
A proper London pub with an urban jungle twist. The Culpeper prides itself on using the rooftop to grow its own produce, with a proclamation that when you visit the pub, you’ll consume something from the rooftop (be that a garnish in your drink, a part of your dish, or something in your pickle). Worth a visit just for that – but then of course there’s the incredible view of the entire Eastern Cluster in the distance.
Easter Weekend means three things: hot cross buns, chocolate eggs, and a huge roast dinner on the Sunday. Whether you’re spending your Easter with family, friends or having a party for one this weekend, the City offers some of the best options when it comes to roast dinners with all the trimmings. We’ve picked a few of our favourites to whet your appetite for the bank holiday weekend….
A Truman’s pub for most of the last 130 years, the pub has recently been brought under independent ownership and now has a forward thinking approach to pub grub. Chef Sandy Jarvis was formerly head chef of Terroirs, which is a mark of quality in of itself. His style is simple and humble, with a focus on flavour. All roasts are served with Yorkshires and vegetable trimmings (as all roasts should be). There is a small but mighty selection of Pork, Bavette or Delica Squash, as well as seasonal starters and deserts.
If you need to shelter from the sun this weekend, Blacklock is ideal. Situated in the basement of a Grade II listed London’s first meat market in the City of London, Blacklock is for the real meat lovers of the world, with a selection of premium cuts of beef available on Sundays. You can even get Christmas sprouts & chestnuts on the side, for those who like to mix and match their holiday cuisine.
Located right in the heart of The Ned, Lutyens Grill offers 2 or 3 course Roast options on Sundays, alongside seasonal starters and mouth watering desserts. Although noot one for plant-based readers, the menu at Lutyens Grill is humble in size but not in ambition.
Located within the historic Leadenhall Market, the Lamb Tavern offers a selection of Sunday roast options alongside pub grub classics, and sits on the more affordable end of the price spectrum. The Lamb Tavern stands apart as one of the few Sunday roasts in the City offering multiple vegan options, alongside the expected devilish deserts and sumptuous starters you would expect from Easter Weekend.
The Coq d’Argent is a mellow restaurant and bar with a roof terrace, which should come in handy with this weekend’s heat wave. All weekend they are serving their Pyrenees Easter Lamb Sharing Special, perfect for bringing the family together over a mouth-watering meal. On top of this, the restaurant was awarded Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence 2018” for their wine list.
City lovers, it’s time to come out of hibernation and enjoy this glorious weather! Apparently this week London is set to be hotter than Ibiza and Barcelona. Lucky for you, the City is home to great outdoor spaces. Whether it’s lunch in the sun or sunset work drinks, check out the below round up of some of our favourite green areas in the City.
London’s newest green space, Exchange Square, aims to boost the emotional and physical wellbeing of those that work in and around Broadgate. Designed by architects DSDHA, Exchange Square is set to become a year-round destination, which will host everything from communal picnics to morning yoga in the sunshine. Exchange Square is also home to an exciting mix of plants and trees that encourage biodiversity and sustainability!
Located on top of the Fen Court building at 120 Fenchurch Street, The Garden at 120 is the City’s largest public rooftop space. Offering breath-taking views of London’s skyline, this is a great outdoor space to visit, as it’s free, with no booking required. Designed by German landscape architects Latz + Partner, the Garden at 120 is home to 85 Italian wisteria trees, over 30 fruit trees and a 200ft-long flowing water feature.
St Dunstan in the East Church Garden is a truly unique space – a green oasis in the heart of the City. The Church was named for St Dunstan, a 10th century monk, who survived brushes with black magic, leprosy and the Devil himself to become Archbishop of Canterbury. Like so much of the City it was badly damaged by the Great Fire of London and wiped out by a German bomb in 1941. The Anglican Church decided to abandon it as it had become too difficult to rebuild. In 1967 the City of London turned the ruins of St Dunstan into a public park, which offers stunning ruins in the middle of the Church and plants growing all over the walls.
Aldgate Square is perfect for an outdoor lunch with colleagues, as it often features incredible exhibitions and events. Last summer, Aldgate Connect organised Music in the Square – a series of wonderful lunchtime concerts. Grab your friends and colleagues and head down to Aldgate Square for a great lunchtime experience!
Open to the public seven days a week from 6am to midnight, the Roof Terrace at One New Change truly offers spectacular views of St Paul’s Cathedral! Whether you’re looking for an informal lunch spot or after work cocktails and tapas night, you will be in for a treat. One New Change also hosts a number of outdoor events throughout the year, ranging from yoga classes to free Wimbledon screenings…
The first quarter of the year is always a fantastic time for cinema, with huge blockbusters opening hand in hand with prestige awards season favourites. The City is the place to be for cinephiles this March, with Everyman Broadgate, Barbican Cinema and Curzon Aldgate all offering a wonderfully varied slate of titles.
See The Phantom of the Open at Everyman Broadgate. Starring Academy Award winner Mark Rylance (above), the film tells the true to life story of Maurice Flitcroft, the first amateur golfer to gain entry to the British Open. A heart-warming British tale, this movie is one for fans of Pride or Eddie the Eagle. Plus, it’s directed by Craig Roberts, who you may know as shy Oliver Tate from Submarine.
Like impressing your friends by ticking off all the awards season films? Check out Oscar Week at Barbican Cinema. Starting on 25 March, the Barbican will be screening all of this year’s biggest nominees. Missed being dazzled by Steven Spielberg’s masterful update of West Side Story (above)? How about Benedict Cumberbatch’s career-best turn in BAFTA Best Film winner The Power of the Dog? The Barbican has you sorted.
If you’re more a fan of caped crusaders, Curzon Aldgate is the place for you. R-Patz himself has put on the cowl to become Gotham’s vengeance in The Batman (above), a star-studded take on the world’s greatest detective. For those of you on the other side of the DC v Marvel debate, Jared Leto brings living vampire Michael Morbius to the big screen for the first time in Morbius, screening at Curzon Aldgate from 31 March.
We sat down with Swidesh-Chilean artist Anton Alvarez and Saff Williams, Curatorial Director at Brookfield Properties, to chat about The Remnants, a new exhibition by Alvarez at 100 Bishopsgate.
Alvarez has brought The Extruder, a three-tonne ceramic self-built press with him from Sweden for his residency at 100 Bishopsgate, in Brookfield Properties’ pop-up studio. For the month of February, Alvarez and his studio assistants, will create new sculptures, using recycled raw material, which will be on view in the reception of 100 Bishopsgate from March 2022 until March 2023.
Scroll down to read our interview with Anton and Saff…and make sure to pop by 100 Bishopsgate to catch the artist in action!
Your background is in interior architecture and furniture design. You also have an MFA from the Royal College of Art, London, in 2012. What attracted you to specialise in the medium of sculpture?
Anton Alvarez: My sculptures about space and the architecture that somehow influence their creation. I work in different scales, which allow for a transition from objects to architecture. The smaller scale is something the audience can observe from the outside. The larger pieces, which can even be larger than human size, almost begin to observe the audience. If you’re standing in between them, you are in a room they’ve generated by themselves. That for me is the difference between the architecture and the object: the scale and how we as humans can interact with them.
You come from a multicultural background, mixed from Swedish and Chilean roots. How does your culture and upbringing influence your work?
Anton Alvarez: I don’t know how much of it is conscious. I remember when I was showing at Art Basel and I was introduced by the gallerist to a visitor who said that she immediately knew the work was by a South American artist because of its colours. I was working with threads back then, so it was another technique, but to this day I work with a strong, vibrant palette. I’m probably touching on historical grounds as far as my palette goes, but I believe more generally that the environment you’re in constantly feeds the mind. It’s hard to pinpoint to a certain moment. You can see transitions when you experience something strong and your work takes another direction. But it’s still a mixture of all the experiences throughout your life that comes through the process. I want to experience and then see what will come out naturally.
Your new exhibition opens on 28 February at 100 Bishopsgate and will bring six new works and ‘The Extruder’ to London. Could you tell us more about ‘The Extruder’ and the works on view there?
Anton Alvarez: The exhibition will grow organically in the space, which is something that would be typically scary for a commissioner, so I’m very happy to be working with Saff. You have to be brave enough to embrace the fact that we don’t know exactly what will happen. You have to trust the process and let it happen on-site, taking decisions along the way. I of course have a clear idea of what I will be doing, but it’s important to be open to things that may happen during the process, rather than try to push something in a particular direction. It’s better to follow the flow of where the works want to go. I will be creating six tall clay column-like sculptures with the help of my clay-squeezing machine which I’ve named the Extruder. For this particular commission, I chose to enlarge the size of the pieces as the space they’ll be exhibited in is enormous. So, I will trying the new version of the Extruder, which will allow for larger quantities of clay to be pushed out.
Saff, can you tell us about your role as Curatorial Director for Brookfield Properties in Europe?
Saff Wiliams: At Brookfield Properties, we bring our indoor and outdoor spaces to life through installations and exhibitions, with the aim of connecting people and creating memorable experiences, allowing for reflection on contemporary life in an urban environment.
We deliver our programming to engage the companies that occupy our spaces, the broader public, including other workers, residents and local communities, as well as visitors in the area. It’s a bit of a dream job, as I get to work across London and Berlin crafting our arts strategy to show incredible talent across unexpected spaces.
My role entails fostering and building long-term cultural partnerships as well as working directly with contemporary artists that challenge conventional thinking and offer us a fresh perspective on life.
Can you tell us why Brookfield Arts decided to exhibit Anton Alvarez at 100 Bishopsgate?
Saff Wiliams: I was blown away by Anton’s show Tight Squeeze at Huxley Parlour in London. There is a monumentalism to his sculptures that feels reminiscent of the majesty one feels when looking at Roman columns, as well as a handmade quality of clay coil forms.
His machinery is at the centre of his practice, operating in a symbiotic relationship with the sculptures they produce. His ceramics are created by his custom-made machine ‘The Extruder’, built by the artist himself, which forces clay through specially-made moulds under heavy pressure.
For this project, I wanted an installation at 100 Bishopsgate, one that both interrupted our large voluminous reception area and questioned the openness of our architecture by ‘putting the columns back into our space’. Anton’s work is the perfect complement to the new monumentalism of our spaces.
The pop-up artist workshop in Unit 5 of 100 Bishopsgate speaks to the process and performative nature of Anton’s work, giving our tenants and visitors to the City a rare opportunity to see the process of an artist at work, inspired by his immediate environment.
What’s your favourite part of the exhibition?
Saff Wiliams: I am proud of Brookfield Properties’ willingness to support the creation and installation of a functioning pop-up workshop into one of our city retail units, providing the artist the space and licence to create our bespoke sculptures for 100 Bishopsgate in a public setting.
The opening up of our retail space as a working studio is ground-breaking for the City of London. I hope it sets the tone for exciting and collaborative working relationships between developers and artists in the future.
As the pandemic eases, what is the role that Brookfield Arts plays in bringing visitors back to the City?
Saff Wiliams: We believe in the unique ability of art to transform those spaces from places we rush through to places we linger, places we gather, places we seek out and come together. That is why we have been investing in the arts for over 30 years. By placing art within these shared spaces, we create alternative galleries, giving workers and visitors a moment of joy and reflection and a reminder to pause – if only for a moment. This enables us to make our spaces more enjoyable for tenants and visitors. It also allows us to support artists – especially emerging artists – financially and give them a platform to showcase their work and build recognition across a wider audience.