Posted by: Kakul Gautam
As one of us Scouters heads West for a week, we get bpb’s junior editor and former London resident Kakul Gautam, to design our itinerary (find Kakul's personal blog here). The result is so awesome that we had to share. So once you’re done sipping on an Aztec Martini and hitting on the hot bartender (who likes Indian girls) at Frevd's Bar; or scarfing down brunch at Bill’s Electric Diner; you know who to thank.
Frevd (High Holborn): My favorite place in London, if I could drink here every night, I would.
Recommended are Holy Freud Lemonade and Aztec Martini - chocolate martini with Tabasco; not everyone can stomach it, but for those who can, it's wicked. Get here early, it's VERY popular and gets cramped. They have a bartender here called Noah (I checked with my friend he's still there) who has the hots for Indian girls and is quite yummy himself. He will get you your drink fastest :). Also. If you visit their Facebook page, you'll notice someone stole their cushion. We must help them find it.
Gordon's Wine Bar (Trafalgar Square): Because you love wine and hidden places underground. Oldest wine bar in London, crazy collection, and not tourist-y.
LAB (London Academy of Bartenders, (Soho): Don't pick anything over Frevd - but this is fun with very interesting cocktails. All the bartenders are students at LAB and will make you a potent drink if you ask. This has both standing (upstairs) as well as seating; I like the seats much better. They have a lot of original cocktails, so go nuts.
Dirty Martini: My favorite branch was in Covent Garden, but the one in Regent Street is very hip. Martinis of all sorts and they have a good happy hour deal.
Cafe Pacifico (Covent Garden): I will recommend this in the food section of this guide as well, BUT BEST MARGARITAS EVER. This is not hyperbole. I would definitely do a boozy lunch here.
Sketch Bar (Regent Street): This is also very new and hip. You must go here if you're shopping in Regent Street, just for how fun and stylish this is.
Boundary Rooftop (Shoreditch): One of my favorite places to enjoy London in the open. This weekend was beautiful, so hopefully you will hit great weather.
PS: In case the weather is good and you want to drink outside by the river, these are some very nice English pubs - Prospect of Whitby and Old Salt Quay.
Breakfast: For When You’re Hungover
Counter Café: Many people would rank The Breakfast Club over this, but I prefer Counter Cafe because 1) not everyone goes here 2) their brunch is killer.
The Breakfast Club (Shoreditch): Most Londoners love this. There's always waiting here. Again, everything is good. They have other locations as well.
Bill's Electric Diner (Notting Hill): I haven't visited this, so it's not a personal recommendation. But my friend claims they have the best Bloody Mary's. Worth doing a fact check?
Cafe Pacifico (Covent Garden): Mexican cantina, good for vegetarians as well. Like I said above, they do the best margaritas ever.
La Bodega Negra (Soho): Excellent Mexican food. I do prefer Pacifico over it (but perhaps this is memory association baggage). Again tons of choices for vegetarians and great cocktails.
Ping Pong (Oxford Street): It has a million outlets but I still love it. Excellent dim sum (crazy variety) and a really fun flowering tea.
Hong Kong Dinner (Chinatown)- Greasy Chinese, always a good thing.
PS: If you're shopping on Bond Street/Oxford Street wander over to St. Christopher's Place, it's a very tiny alley opening up into a beautiful courtyard - on the street opposite Primark on Oxford Street, there is a NATWEST bank and it's around there- the alley is teeny tiny, but it's a nice place to chill. There's a Ping Pong here as well.
Strangely I can't remember more food places. Clearly my priorities were sorted.
Pick Borrough Market on the weekend over Portobello (unless you want to shop).
Giraffe has nice smoothies and outlets all over, if you want to stop for a drink.
Ben's Cookies - also outlets all over and delectable cookies.
New York's theatre and Broadway scene is debatably better, but if I can convince you, do catch a play in the open at Shakespeare's Globe. Tank up on Pimm’s. It's a blast, always.
The London Eye is fugly and pointless.
Southbank has a lot of independent bookstalls on the weekend.
I wasn't sure if you wanted to go clubbing, but my favorite is Mahiki, though people love Fabric more. I don't like Ministry of Sound.
One of my favorite stores is a London store called Paperchase (outlets all over), check it out if you like stationary too.
I know they might be done to death, I can never get over David & Goliath (Covent Garden) t-shirts.