London Hidden Gem: The Mansion Bar and Parlour

Tucked away down the quiet Barkston Gardens near the bustle around Earl’s Court station is the charming Mansion Bar and Parlour, a cocktail bar that opened less than a year ago on the ground floor of the 4-star boutique Hotel Indigo.

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Dimple and I popped in for a drink on Friday night, but definitely plan to take advantage of the 2 for 1 happy hour that runs Sunday through Wednesday!

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I didn’t have my camera, so apologies for the terrible iPhone photos.

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It’s much better in person!

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We didn’t know what to expect, but were happily surprised.

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It’s sophisticated, elegant, colourful and contemporary with vintage vibes, taking inspiration from its original setting as a Victorian mansion.

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The wallpaper is made of old classified ads and there are old school newspapers folded on each table.

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After perusing the extensive cocktail menu, we put an end to our indecisiveness and took the advice of the waiter.

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Hemingway Daquiris were an excellent choice.

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Cheers!

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We noticed the staff’s name badges with Lord or Lady titles.

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Apparently, according to View London, “Far from being an empty gimmick, each member of bar staff has been bought a small plot of land so they legally possess the title, making sure guests are really served by members of high society.”

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Interesting.

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I’m looking forward to going back on a Sunday when they do a traditional roast with live jazz in the afternoons.

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The waiter told us to keep an eye on Living Social for deals and I see they have one on now.

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They also run loads of fun networking events, molecular cocktail masterclasses and charity fashion soirees.

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I can’t tell you how the food is, but the staff were lovely and so was the decor so hopefully it lives up to my expectations when I return!

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First Weekends at The Electrician’s Shop

You asked for some more London listings, so here’s a few worth mentioning, all at The Electrician’s Shop in South East London. Ever been to Trinity Bouy Wharf near the East India DLR stop? If not, here’s a few reasons to go. (Mark your calendar – all of these events are the first weekend of each month only, 12-5pm.)

Also, say hello to Garry who runs it. He has a lot of interesting stories about these artists!

Broken Colours

February – Launch event with street artist Paul ‘DON’ Smith.

March – Will Alexander who has constructed beautifully engineered vehicles such as a tram and an ice cream van from recycled cardboard, will construct a full size gondola.

April – Stik will paint giant figures that look at the issues of migration, referencing the immigration of seamen that established the Bangladeshi community in Tower Hamlets.

May – Dr Simon Park, a senior molecular biologist at the University of Surrey, will examine microscopic lifeforms in the Thames and how these can be interpreted into art.

June – Flyte will produce a map that points out permanent works installed at the Wharf, using graphically styled QR code smartphone technology as a guide for visitors.

July – Fluxion: assemblage and collage artists working towards a common kinetic ambition, utilising objects and images that are usually dismissed or thrown away.

August – Manifesto: a celebration of the art and design at Trinity Buoy Wharf, with kinetic sculptures on site.

September – Cluster III: a month-long outdoor installation of the best contemporary art from three continents presented by Mas Civiles (meaning ‘more civil’) on Orchard Place E14.

October – An urban art showcase that looks at the heritage of the maritime tattoo genre in a contemporary context.

November – Coinciding with East London’s major Photomonth Festival, specialist large format portrait and architectural photographer Peter Mackertich will exhibit a suite of images showing the melding of traditional crafts and modern technologies by people working at the Wharf.

The Electrician’s Shop
Trinity Buoy Wharf
64 Orchard Place London E14 OJY
www.trinitybuoywharf.com/find-us.php  

London Events: I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist!

There is a mass gathering scheduled for this coming Saturday in Trafalgar Square – a demonstration for the rights of both professional and leisure photographers. Section 44 of the Terrorism Act has been used – or, as many feel, abused – by police as an excuse to stop photographers. Police have been warned about misuse of the laws. The Independent, BBC, Guardian and Telegraph, among others, have all run stories on the topic. There is more information on this event, examples of recorded abuse and more on what the Photographer Not Terrorist group stands for on their website.

Speed Flatmating

I was in the middle of house hunting last week when I decided it may be easier to find people rather than a place and start a completely new flatshare altogether. I met one person who answered a message I put up on an American expat site and we hit it off, but we thought it would be fun to find two more people to add to the mix. That’s when we discovered “speed flatmating”.

Spareroom.co.uk started this little phenomenon where they host an event at a venue in a specific area and everyone flat hunting in that area is welcome to come along and meet up face to face, in a much more personal way than the typical internet search would allow. This one was held at SoBar, a dim, cosy pub with lots of sofas, in Fulham Broadway last week.

Walking in, we saw a group of people standing there looking posh, drinking wine. We were in jeans and wondered what we were getting ourselves into, but later found out it was for the launch of a children’s book and the people we wanted to speak to were on the other side.

We had a kind welcome when we arrived, were given stickers on which we listed our name, area and budget. They were pink if you were looking for a room, white if you had one to let. After heading to the bar for drinks, we stood there looking at our options, feeling slightly awkward. Everyone was either deep in conversation or texting on their phones, but after a few minutes, we joined a conversation, met a few people and everyone was quite open to a chat.

By the end of the night, we found someone we really clicked with and decided we would all find a place together*. The event was supposed to be from 7-9, but we stayed until 11 having some amazing conversations and playing shithead. All in all, a great night. (Even saw Jamie from X-Factor hanging out in the corner with some friends.)

If you’re new to London and not sure where to start, I’d say it’s well worth checking out one of the speed flatmating events. Even if you don’t find a place to live, you might make some new friends. You can also bring friends along so you’re not alone.

All events are either free or about £2.

There’s some more info on the website and blog if you’re interested.

*Didn’t work out in the end, but fun was had by all in the meantime 🙂

London Links: Londonist

Starting now, with one of my favourites, I’ll be posting occasional links to anything London that I’m reading: articles, events, products, blogs, photos, books, etc. Anything goes.

One of the best London sites and resources out there is Londonist. Last week, they celebrated their 5th birthday!

Not only does the site have a briliant personality, it knows this city inside out. I check it often for a heads up on the crazy happenings, a different perspective on the news and entertainment, interviews with interesting London folk, posts on beating the recession in the city, a bit of history, some eating and drinking recommendations, theatre and music reviews and all the other amusing, rediculous, fun, strange, important and not so important happenings, etc. in the Big Smoke.

Essential London reading!