Nuno Mendes is back in London and he’s brought a bit of Lisbon with him for his new restaurant Lisboeta in Fitzrovia. Taking over three floors of a townhouse on Charlotte Street, the restaurant is a love letter to Nuno’s home city and gives Londoners the chance to eat, drink and live life like a Lisboeta. The ground floor features a long bar made from repurposed tram wood and limestone from Lisbon, and is a place where you can dip into petiscos (aka little plates) and a glass of Portuguese wine. Upstairs in the main dining room, lunch and dinner is served ‘tasca’ style, with a menu including Goan spiced pork pies, Carabineiro prawns with garlic & piri-piri, chourico & beef tartare, slow-cooked lamb shoulder in a red wine stew, and egg yolk & pork fat custard with port wine caramel.


As restaurants and shops come and go in London, it’s nice to know there are some places that have stuck it out and stood the test of time. Randall & Aubin on Brewer Street is one of those places: a Soho institution that was originally founded as a butcher’s shop in 1908 and, since being converted in 1996, it has been one of the area’s most popular restaurants. It’s a classic and cosy space, with many of the original shop fittings on display, with just a touch of ‘Soho’ with a giant mirror ball that hangs from the ceiling. The menu is as classic as the space with a range of beautiful seafood and meats from the grill, it doesn’t get much better than the huge fruits de mer, laden with oysters, crab, shrimp and much more.


The Harp is a favourite of ale drinkers and was even named pub of the year by CAMRA (campaign for real ale) in 2011. It’s slap bang in the middle of London making it an ideal meeting point, although it is quite tight on space inside. The walls are covered with old oil paintings and the bar plastered with old beer mats from around the world which we love. Yes you will be sharing the pub with fusty old ale nerds but it’s a great spot regardless – especially if you are an old ale nerd yourself.


Fitzrovia’s The Champion is a fantastic option for when you need a quick escape from the crowds of Oxford Street. It’s got the classic Victorian pub interior that we know and love plus Samuel Smith’s excellent selection of cheap beers and ales. It doesn’t usually get too busy either so it’s always a good option for when you just want a quiet pint – event if that does end up turning into six.


Another rare gem in Covent Garden, the Lamb & Flag is on a site that’s had a pub in one form or another since 1772. We love the tiny alley that runs down one side of the rickety old building, which is also charmingly rickety inside with its classic Victorian design. The pub is owned by Fuller’s now so their ales and beers feature prominently and there’s also a fairly standard menu of pub grub too.


Tourist-focused Covent Garden isn’t known for having that many great pubs but the Cross Keys on Endell Street is a gem. If you haven’t been in before you’ll definitely have noticed its facade which is absolutely covered in plants and shrubbery. The ‘busy’ visual theme is continued inside with a dark interior that’s absolutely covered in bric a brac, with everything from oil paintings to old instruments and brass kettles adorning the walls.


On the slightly grimier end of the ‘classic Soho pub’ scale, the rough around the edges vibe of the place is, of course, all part of the charm. Full of old knick-knacks hanging from the ceiling and vintage war posters on the walls, this pub is firmly and resolutely stuck in the past – it doesn’t even have a website, a refreshing two fingers to modernity. In amongst all this though is a bit of a surprise: as well as your Fosters and your Guinness they have a huge range of craft beers from Leyton’s own Bodie’s Brewery (who actually own the place now), so you can enjoy the old school atmosphere with decidedly new-school beer.


If you had a friend over from America that wanted to see what a real traditional London pub was like, you may well take them to the Princess Louise in Holborn. It’s an absolute Victorian classic, with wood panels, tiled floors, and a series of booths separated by wooden dividers around an island bar. The whole place, including the men’s urinals, is Grade II listed, so it really is like stepping back in time in here. It’s own by Samuel Smith now so you’ve only got their drinks to choose from but given their famous cheap prices there shouldn’t be too many complaints here.


The Lyric is a lovely little Victorian pub at the Piccadilly end of Soho. Not far from the theatres of Shaftesbury Avenue, it draws a good crowd of Londoners and in the summer you can even squeeze yourself into the tiny outside area at the top of Ham Yard to watch the world of Soho go by. Inside it’s all classic wood panels, open fires, Victorian prints on the walls and a menu of ales, beers and pub grub.


The Coach & Horses, Greek Street, London

The Coach and Horses is the second best pub in Soho (after the French House obvs) and sometimes we even prefer it, when we fancy an actual pint for example. The interiors clearly haven’t been touched for a good 40 years and it’s all the better for it with creaky old furniture, frayed carpets and a solid wooden bar. It’s a classic boozer the likes of which you don’t find in central London too much any more – it even has piano singalongs on Wednesdays and Saturdays which are a lot of fun. They also have very comprehensive vegetarian and vegan menus. Here’s hoping The Coach and Horses never changes, as it’s pretty perfect just the way it is.


30th January - 1st March 2019
143 Strand, London WC1R 1JA

The National Trust is showcasing the rich history of the India Club with this audio-based exhibition inside the iconic venue. The India Club has been a significant meeting point and community space for Anglo-Indian organisations as well as immigrants, journalists, artists, writers and students. The venue recently came under threat from redevelopment but was saved following an extensive campaign, with the likes of food writer Sejal Sukhadwala, critic Marina O’Loughlin and Will Self lending support. The oral history interviews feature a range of people connected to the Club, from the late 50s to today, and provide a real insight into how important a place it is.


11th January – 23rd February 2019
39 Dover Street, London W1S 4NN

Gazelli Art House is hosting this celebration of gallerist Robert Fraser, who bridged the worlds of art and music in the sixties. The show brings together artists that Fraser championed, including Clive Barker, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Bridget Riley, Ed Ruscha and more, and there’s also an accompanying double vinyl album featuring songs in tribute to Fraser.


25th January - 28th April 2019
Somerset House, London

A new photography exhibition exploring the feeling of “being lost in translation” by two most acclaimed fashion photographers Hanna Moon and Joyce Ng is coming to Somerset House. Driven by the feelings of being immigrants in London, the work showcased by the two artists will celebrate the vitality of international perspectives within our multi-cultural society, challenging the concept of ‘otherness’ and the power fashion photography holds in shifting our perceptions of beauty, style and taste.


26th January — 31st March 2019
Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 0BD

The Royal Academy is bringing together the works of Michelangelo and Bill Viola, who though born centuries both explore the themes of the cycle of life. A selection of Michelangelo’s drawings will be on display, as will the Virgin and Child with the Infant St John, his only marble sculpture in the UK. Twelve of Viola’s installations will feature in the show, including the five-metre high projection Tristan’s Ascension (The Sound of a Mountain Under a Waterfall), which depicts the ascent of the soul after death.


28th November 2018 - 26th January 2019
37 Dover St, Mayfair, London W1S 4NJ

Large-scale pieces (with one stretching to six metres) from Robert Rauschenberg are on display for the first time in the UK at the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac. The Spreads series, inspired by “autobiographical feelings”, feature many of his best-known motifs like doors, lights and tyres though they are used with a brighter colour palette. If you liked the retrospective the Tate held in 2016, you’ll want to come and check these out.


39 Broadwick St, Soho, London W1F 9QJ

The man who showed the world that cholera was carried and spread via water, Dr John Snow wasn’t just a fan of pubs, but science. Outside the John Snow is a replica of the water pump that was actually the source of a huge cholera epidemic in Soho way back when. The pub itself is a beaut, a traditional beast with dark wood panelling and a big focus on ales. The saloon bar also has a partition in the middle under which you must duck, unless you’re vertically challenged, to pass from one side to the other. The upstairs is huge and more lounge than bar. Downstairs is where it’s at though.


Famous for its exceptionally well-poured and tasty Guinness, The Toucan is definitely the place to come for the black stuff. Some say that there is a tunnel under The Toucan that transports Guinness underground right from Dublin itself. Others say there’s no way. An Irish bar through and through, the place is small, often rammed and bloody good fun.


The best thing about Bradley’s is the original vinyl jukebox. The most annoying this about the jukebox is that it takes the old pound coins, so you’ll inevitably leave with a loads of gold you can’t use. However, this is a blinder of a pub. It’s tiny and hidden away just off Oxford Street where you’ll meet all sorts of people with enchanting tales of times of old. And it’s open late, obviously.

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