Imagine a combination of healthy herbs, flavoursome flowers, juicy fruits, alcoholic tipples and a little night music thrown in and you have London’s hottest pop-up cocktail bar.
Lovely Lottie, the ‘Cocktail Gardener’ has created a fabulous roof-top paradise with botanically-infused drinks straight from the garden.
Last year, Lottie completed a one-year horticultural course at Capel Manor with honours and was looking for a vacant plot she could transform.
She found the neglected circular plot on the roof of the Brunel Museum, just across the road from her home.
In spring, with the help of fellow students, Lottie transformed the plot into a beautiful, edible garden with six raised beds radiating out from a central sundial.
By day, this rooftop cottage kitchen garden can be visited and enjoyed by all, while on Saturday evenings in September, Lottie places shimmering, coloured birds and flares among the plants, puts out the deckchairs, takes off her gardening gloves and rustles up the most amazing ‘prescriptions’ – her cocktail creations.
Visitors sip divine drinks amongst the foliage; honey and basil daquiris, whisky mint juleps, raspberry mint martinis and lavender gin fizzes with lavender sprigs as swizzle sticks.
Lottie uses borage blossom as decoration and also creates inspired, imaginative – and potent – creations such as lovage with brandy, gin with thyme or chocolate mint in whisky.
As Lottie says ‘Although we use lots of herbs and flowers, our cocktails really pack a punch.’
The marvellous Midnight Apothecary will only last until the end of September, so visit soon and reap the benefits!
Midnight Apothecary is going on till Sat 29 Sept, but then they have two specials - for Halloween (Sat 27 Oct) and Bonfire night (Sat 3 Nov.) In between, Lottie will be doing the bar for the Royal Horticultural Society's harvest festival event on 9 October.
Free entry, cash bar
Every Saturday in September 5pm-10.30pm
Brunel Museum, Railway Avenue SE16 4LF
Nearest tube: Rotherhithe
Buses: C10, 188, 381
Tours of the Grand Entrance Hall at 7:30pm (£5)
Google map: bit.ly/RVPDWG
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The Star at Night is a mixture of a bar, cafe, cocktail bar, bistro and crusty old pub, all rolled into one. It's usually frequented by gay clientele, but in Soho anything goes and it's one of the most relaxed and friendly places in town.
The short menu has over-priced tapas-style offerings in disappointingly small portions: Greek salad, smoked salmon, grilled Halloumi, tortilla and nibbles such as pistachios and olives.
The main reason to go is the great, chilled out atmosphere and the old-fashioned decor with an emphasis on old wood, which makes a change from the usual sleek, up-to-the-minute, minimalist places all around.
The Star also has a great collection of sign memorabilia, including a pet food advert, which the waitress claims is the 'most photographed sign in London'.
Drop by and you'll see why!
Don't let the Crossrail building works occupying 95% of the street put you off. The word on the street was that the Star would have to close, however they are digging their heels in and staying put, hopefully for a lot longer.
A recently opened gallery and cafe located almost opposite Camberwell Art College and a great place to chill out of a morning.
From the outside, along the vaguely grim Peckham Road, it looks a bit bleak and industrial inside but the welcome is really warm and there's free WiFi all day, cocktails, snacks and a licensed cafe and bar.
On Thursdays there are introductory food and drink offers, such as a buy one get one free 12" pizza, which can't be bad.
Conveniently close to the super cool South London Gallery and also supportive of The Sassoon Gallery (www.thesassoongallery.co.uk) NewGallery London is THE place to be seen on the Peckham Road.
A low-key bar in a basement behind an unmarked door, Lounge Bohemia manages to avoid the Hoxton Saturday night invasion and remain a calm and laid back place to drop in for a cocktail, a chat and complimentary canapes. Strictly retro decor, very friendly and beautuful staff, the place is absolutely tiny and perfect to impress a date and tuck them away in a cosy corner.
Delicious cocktails start at £5 and it's easy to lose track of time and work your way through the whole menu. Tea For Two (£10) comes served in a chunky pattered teapot with matching cups and saucers and - be warned - a generous amount of alcohol. The perfect way to start an evening, or begin the end of an evening, depending on how well your date went...
1e Great Eastern Street
07720 707 000
Old Street tube
Liverpool Street tube
Sketch Gallery, on Conduit Street, is highly recommended. The modern British/French food is divine (the beef tartare is astoundingly tasty) but it’s the interior design, walls adorned by electronic projections instead of wallpaper, that takes your breath away.
Geisha Bar is a new cocktail bar in Soho. It has an excellent cocktail menu, good DJs and sound system, and a stylish interior. Its clientele is mostly gay, though I don't think a straight customer would feel uncomfortable.
75 Charing Cross Road,
It's nearly perfect: stunning building, great food, lovely cocktails, good-looking staff, regularly changing art exhibitions, a garden with deckchairs and cool industrial loos in the basement.
Erratic service, especially when the owner/manager is in, mars it. Plus she wears really strong scent.
But I still end up going back there, and when it is good it is very very good.
Afternoon tea with cocktails in the garden of an old power station is certainly unusual.
Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, Wapping Wall
020 7680 2080
Once you've eaten (alot) you could do worse than stroll back to Canary Wharf through the park opposite and then along the river
A Thai restaurant down the bottom of the Isle of Dogs. I wouldn't come out here for the sake of the restaurant, but if you are out in Greenwich and fancy a riverside cocktail, then it is a short stroll from the foot tunnel or Island Gardens DLR.
Food is good, though not super-cheap (about £9 for a curry and about £2 for rice). Service is friendly.
But really it is all about the location on the river.
Locke's Wharf, Westferry Road
Tel: 020 7987 7999
It's a tiny space - decked out in retro burlesque style, entered by a dramatic (if small) glass entrance just in front of the Lyceum. A former men's loo it is now rammed with high-tech stuff (sms jukebox, automatically opaque loo doors) and ambitiously holds shows (can't imagine how) every night at 10.
We went in for an early evening cocktail - all drinks 1/3rd off before 8pm. Cocktails strong but chemical, though the wine list looked okay. To be honest it's just feels like a pleasantly odd place to be drinking - huddled beneath the pavement sitting on leather seats which are shaped like buttocks. Maybe I wouldn't go back, but if you are in the area it's worth a visit.
London WC2r 0HT
A lovely new branch of an all-day dim sum restaurant. Really fantastic staff, truly great food, excellent, good quality and not too pricey cocktails.
Plus, order the Jasmine Flower tea - beautifully served, art in a glass that tastes lovely. Our food (a lot of it) was served a gentle but constant pace to our table on the patio outdoors. And when we left we were shocked that the bill was only just over £40 inc. service, drinks and far too many dim sum. Fantastic. The drinks were nice enough to justify just going for a couple of pre-theatre/ post-shopping cocktails (made with fresh fruits, herbs and al ot of ice - ideal for summer).
On the new Festival Terrace, South Bank centre (above Giraffe et al.). Walk past Le Pain Quotidien - great for informal brunch- away from the river. 020 7960 4160, www.pingpongdimsum.com
Tucked under the Westway at the ordinary end of Portobello Road, this Lebanese cafe/bar is charming, unpretentious and impeccably run. Eat souvlaki from terracotta plates (supplied by the Spanish supermarket across the road) - then move on to cheap cocktails while listening to funky eastern beats. The exposed brickwork and low tables might come over all Hoxton, but the pretension factor is low - and so are the prices.
299 Portobello Road, London W10 5TD. Nearest station: Ladbroke Grove
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