To mark London Fashion Week Katy Harrington picks some of the most fashionable places to eat, drink, dance, and (if you have to) sleep…
Best for people watching
Some London members-only clubs feel stuffy and a bit too stiff upper lip - not Shoreditch House.
With everyone from Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux to Lena Dunham popping in when they are in town, the converted East London warehouse is one of the best places in the city for celeb spotting.
It’s got plenty of choices for eating (incredible pizza), drinking and comes with its own gym and rooftop pool. The Fifth Floor offers a late night menu for part-goers where you can get mac & cheese at 3am.
The perfect combination of sophisticated cool with five star service. The only snag is, if you’re not a guest in the hotel or a member yourself, you’ll need to get someone to sign you in.
The Ace Hotel
If you can’t get into Shoreditch House, you can get into the equally cool Ace Hotel. Smack bang in the middle of hipster paradise Shoreditch, the Ace is great spot if you need somewhere to hot desk during the day and a lively venue for after hours drinks.
Check out the late night basement venue they call Miranda. According to the blurb “Miranda has a celestial sort of radiance — she can feed you and sate your thirst. She will make you dance and sing like a shining star of Shoreditch”.
That’s total nonsense of course but it’s a fiver on the door before 12 and good shout if you fancy strutting your stuff on the dance floor with London’s cool kids.
Miranda’s opening hours depend on the programme, but the Supa Dupa Fly ’90s and ’00s Hip Hop and RnB night over the Fashion Week weekend was a blast. Also, note the adjoining East London Juice Co for a hangover cure in the morning.
Best 360 view of London
Radio Rooftop at the ME Hotel
High above London’s West End is the ME’s Radio Rooftop bar.
Expect high prices and panoramic views of London’s skyline stars including Tower Bridge, the Shard, London Bridge, Saint Paul’s Cathedral and nearby LFW hub — Somerset House.
Radio Rooftop gets extra fashion bonus points for having the most Instagram worthy lift you’ll find in London.
Try not to let the long queues and clipboard wielding flunkies dampen your high-flying experience.
Best for celeb spotting
If the Corinthia were a character from contemporary fashion it would be Anna Wintour — immaculate, expensive and all class.
What lends the Corinthia its cool factor is it’s known as London’s top hotel for film junkets so hang out long enough in one of their bars and you are sure to rub shoulders with the super famous.
Film junkets for Spectre, Steve Jobs, Hunger Games, Game of Thrones all happened here and former guests including Oprah Winfrey, Daniel Craig, Mariah Carey, Cameron Diaz, Will.I.AM and Rihanna. The spectacular Victorian building has 294 rooms, 40 suites, seven penthouses and an out-of-this-world spa.
A suite for two nights over Fashion Week can cost up to £4,500, but if you’ve got champagne tastes and lemonade pockets a London Fashion Week-inspired cocktail in the Bassoon Bar is a decidedly more affordable option, darling.
Ladies & Gentlemen
Without meaning to drag down the tone, this award-winning cocktail bar is housed in the slightly less salubrious setting of a former underground Victorian toilet.
Don’t let that put you off a trip to Kentish Town to experience the brilliant cocktails on offer though. Launched in 2015, Ladies & Gentleman is the brainchild of craft spirit producer William Borell, a man who clearly has a sense of humour but takes his alcohol seriously.
The bar even has its own 16-litre copper for making bespoke spirits on site, not bad for a disused loo.
Oh and if bars in former toilets is your thing (no judgment here) there is also Cellar Door on the Strand, a stone’s throw from Somerset House if you fancy a subterranean post-show cocktail with a bit of cabaret on the side.
Not to keep banging on about toilets but sketch on London’s Conduit Street really do have the best bathrooms in the city.
The well-known venue is the “triple dream” destination for food, art and music thought up by Mourad ‘Momo’ Mazouz and his team of chefs and designers.
Sketch takes up two floors of a converted 18th century building, but what they’ve done inside has to be seen to be believed.
Most notable is the pretty-in-pink Gallery restaurant, designed in collaboration but brilliant and bonkers British artist, David Shrigley, with 239 of Shrigley’s own drawings lining the walls.
No wonder the super fashionable venue is a favourite haunt for the LFW fashion crew. Try the sparkling afternoon tea.
Kensington Roof Gardens
One hundred feet above London, with three spectacular gardens and its own private members club, is the famous Kensington Roof Gardens.
The three gardens that give the famous venue its name span 1.5 acres and are as glam as you can get. Up on the seventh floor is Babylon, open seven days for lunch and dinner with amazing skyline views.
There are also not many venues in London you’ll find live flamingos walking around.
While you’re there have a Flamingo Hula cocktail made with freshly picked rosemary shaken with Quiquiriqui mezcal, homemade watermelon puree, lime juice and agave syrup. Open until 2am at weekends for you to shake your thang.
Best for an early blow dry
Fenwick, Bond Street
Fashionable Fenwick’s is one of few places you can get a blowdry/mani/brow service before 10am. You can make an appointment or just drop in for a Bumble and Bumble blow dry or Nails Inc mani and it’s less than a five minute walk from the main LFW venue (Brewer Street Car Park), so a good place to know.
Best for fashionable stroll
London’s Carnaby Street is worth a walk any time of year but it’s 120 shops, bars and restaurants all make an extra effort for Fashion Week.
You can catch live shows from Burberry, Topshop Unique and Roksanda on a giant screen, there’s tons of fun beauty stuff going on like a Braid bar, Illamasqua make up master classes and a styling session with The Edited blogger Erica Davies.
They’ve even got a Carnaby campervan, where you can get free fashion and beauty services during Fashion Week.
Best brunch in town
St Martin’s Lane
St Martins Lane Hotel comes highly recommended. See and be seen at its Asia de Cuba restaurant which does which does an incredible bottomless brunch (Friday to Sunday from 12-4pm). You can even devise your own signature Bloody Mary.
Sit at the bar for delectable cocktail and ceviche pairings. They swear the freshly pressed sugarcane juice they use in their Cuban-inspired cocktails means they actually have health benefits.
I really want to believe them. Nearby in St Martin’s Courtyard in Covent Garden there’s a high speed a fast beauty bar called Blow where you can have your hair, nails and make-up done in 45mins so perfect if you need to smarten up for dinner or drinks in a hurry.
Best of the Irish
London is full of Ireland’s bright young things making good in a new city but Irish husband and wife team Robert Gill and Sarah Murphy deserve kudos for running one of the most raved about eateries around.
The Dairy won the recent Evening Standard award for best restaurateur and their sister venues (including super cool Paradise Garage in Bethnal Green) are held in equally high regard.
The tasting menu at The Dairy is inventive and delicious and great value for what you get. Regulars love the rabbit picnic to share.
A short stroll from The Dairy you’ll find The Manor - worth a visit for its live dessert bar, called The Sweet Shop, alone.
Gill & co also run a riotous all night dining experience called The Bloodshot Supper Club where guests get a very late night 1am reservation, dine on Michelin-worth food and dance until 7am. Tickets are like gold dust but telling them your Irish might help.
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