London Cocktail Week returns for its sixth incarnation this October and a deliciously decadent week of creative cocktail consumption is guaranteed. With 275 bars participating across London, this year’s carnival of cocktails looks set to be bigger and better than ever before. Yet it remains startlingly good value for money – grab a wristband for just £10 and you’ll have weeklong access to £5 cocktails from all participating bars. You’ll also get a free London bar guide that clearly maps out all the bars, allowing you to plot your week of cocktail adventures. Oh and did we mention that your first drink is on the house? As ever London Cocktail Week boasts an exciting array of pop-ups and events. There’ll be masterclasses, tours, parties, presentations, supper clubs, a candlelit tour on a floating distillery and, perhaps most impressively, Spitalfields Market will be transformed into an entire cocktail market. Grab your London Cocktail Week wristbands from the LCW hub at 51 Poland Street in Soho or The London Cocktail Week Village at old Spitalfields Market when the week commences.
Spanning seventeen centuries of stunning handmade Indian fabrics, the V&A’s Fabric of India exhibition gathers together a wealth of sumptuous textiles and provides an unmissable centrepiece for the museum’s India season. The exhibition brings together two hundred fascinating and exquisite textiles to tell the story of Indian fabric across the centuries. Showcasing fine examples of textiles from different regions and eras including spectacular wall hangings, robes, bed covers and dresses, this ravishing show manages to be both educational and visually stunning. The show also provides plenty of religious and cultural context to accompany its beautiful exhibits. Ancient ceremonial banners, sacred temple hangings, bandanna handkerchiefs and even a meticulously reconstructed tent used by the infamous Tipu Sultan are among the many highlights, but the show also provides considerable insight into the ingenious processes behind these gorgeous works of textile art and their uses today by contemporary designers.
Let’s face it, the end of summer can be a drab time of year. Happily the South Bank Centre is doing more than most to banish the back to school blues by lighting up September with another instalment of Africa Utopia. Back for it’s third year, Africa Utopia is an eclectic weekend celebration of African culture and the African diaspora that sets out to showcase the exciting art that’s emerging from one of the world’s most dynamic and fast-changing continents. This year’s highlights include celebrated drummer Tony Allen whose rhythms did so much to define Fela Kuti’s legendary afrobeat sound. Allen has been described as ‘perhaps the greatest drummer who has ever lived’ by no less authority than Brian Eno and his Royal Festival Hall performance will feature an exciting collaboration with the Grammy Award-winning kora player Toumani Diabaté, and Toumani’s son Sidiki Diabaté. The festival also features Senegalese supergroup Orchestra Baobab (also at the Royal Festival Hall) and one of Mali’s greatest singers, Kassé Mady, who will perform at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
The standard of food available at the average music festival has seriously improved in recent years. Dodgy burger vans have mostly been supplanted by an exciting array of street food stalls and the modern day festivalgoer can usually expect to fuel their fun with the sort of foodie fare you’d have struggled to find outside Borough Market ten years ago. Grillstock takes the foodiefication of festivals a step further by giving the grub equal billing to the music. Organised in partnership with Waltham Forest Council, Grillstock promises to bring the BBQ flavours of the Deep South to Walthamstow, along with an excellent lineup of musical attractions including the Fun Loving Criminals, Razorlight, DJ Yoda and the Cuban Bros. Grillstock’s winning formula of meat, music and mayhem has already taken Bristol and Manchester by storm and arrives in East London with a packed lineup of BBQ bacchanalia including eating competitions, masterclasses and a ‘King of the Grill’ competition.
In search of London’s ultimate dining experience? There’s no shortage of Michelin starred restaurants vying for the status, but while it’s one thing to wow diners with wondrous gastronomy few of the capital’s finest restaurants can compete with the singular experience on offer at St Katherine Docks this September. London In The Sky offers a skybound dining experience that grants guests glorious views across the London and amazing food prepared by some of the capital’s most celebrated chefs. This truly unique pop-up dining experience invites diners to convene around a ‘sky table’ that’s suspended 25 meters in the air. While guests (who are securely fastened to their seats) enjoy a spectacular open-air view that encompass an expansive Thames-side cityscape from Canary Wharf to the South Bank a world-class chef will prepare a very special meal. This year’s airborne chefs include Martin Morales, the capital’s foremost purveyor of Peruvian cuisine, Daniel Doherty, Executive Chef at Duck & Waffle (both of whom will be on breakfast duty), Mark Sargent, who’s worked as Head Chef at Claridges and now oversees Morden & Lea in Soho and Tom Aikens, widely acclaimed as one of Britain’s best chefs.
Dubbed ‘the wild side of British film’ by Metro, the Portobello Film Festival has been a fixture in the UK cinematic calendar since it debuted in 1996 and remains one of the country’s foremost showcases for emerging independent filmmakers. The festival’s stated aim has always been to give daring leftfield filmmakers a platform and as such hasn’t always enjoyed an easy ride. Nonetheless, even when cinema screens have been hard to come by the festival has come up with a variety of innovative solutions – often utilising pubs, clubs and parks -and remains in rude health. This year’s festival hits Notting Hill on the 4th September for 16 days of exciting and adventurous independent cinema, all of which is absolutely free. The festival’s main venue will be a pop-up cinema under the Westway on Acklam Road and a full programme can be viewed on the Portobello Film Festival website.