Southbank Centre Winter Festival 2018
If there's one part of town that makes rather a big deal out of the whole winter thing, it's the Southbank Centre. Their annual festival is a bit like being given a huge stocking full of gifts: whilst you might not like them all, they're gifts, and it's kind of rude not to be grateful. There is all sorts going on - the iconic winter food market; Jimmy's Lodge; the Wintertime bar; winter choirs in December; circus performances; folk takeovers; and loads of other season-appropriate happenings. This is probably one to check the full programme for. You've got a mind for yourself, after all.
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The biggest compliment you can hit a cocktail joint with is that it’s where the bartenders drink. That’s the deal with Happiness Forgets: a moody cocktail den lying in wait down the right steps in the right restaurant in Hoxton Square. Sure it ticks the conventional boxes: candle lit, bare bricked and seating only, but this has more about it than an amorous aura; this is about putting the art of cocktail making on a pedestal. Here some of the friendliest, most knowledgeable staff around concoct unique potions that veer off the usual path, tailor made to suit the tastes of the most particular. Rather than ordering from the drinks list, tell them your story - yeah the whole thing - and see what they give you. But don’t forget to book, because happiness is all the rage right now.
This will be special. The story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s rivalry with Italian composer Antonio Salieri, pitching Mozart as a young upstart arriving in Vienna and wowing the world with his genius. Aside from the director Michael Longhurst (who worked wonders on Constellations) and Lucian Msamati playing Salieri, the real pièce de résistance is the 20-piece Southbank Sinfonia providing orchestral accompaniment - it’s sure to create an atmosphere unlike any other. Tickets will be very tricky to get - book ASAP for £15 tickets. Show times also vary, so check the website to be sure.
Forest on the Roof
This foresty restaurant has popped up on the roof of Selfridges for the wintry season. Decked out with bark and bulbs, this is a decent option if you're doing some Christmas shopping downstairs, but we certainly wouldn't recommend making a pilgrimage to this place otherwise. The food pays homage to British traditions, and encompasses breakfast, dinner, and dessert menus. The bar does a bespoke list of house cocktails, like the 'after dinner mint', made from Pisco, Mozart dark chocolate, Frangelico, sugar syrup, Baileys and Mint liqueur foam - so you can get mega merry.