Let’s face it: these ‘Dam secret spots would’ve been impossible to reach thanks to the gobblers of “Crunk-Kush Cookies” hallucinating their feet as loaves of Warburtons and getting right in your way. Luckily, you can enjoy the in-the-know secrecy of cocktail hole Porem, found round the back of a Japanese restaurant, at The Blind Pig. And websiteless Café De Klos has the Flat Iron no-messing approach to exceptional meat.
Bailing on Berlin means you no longer have to mutter “Yeah? You can stick your stupid disco!” at the terrifying bouncer door-blocking the Berghain. But it also means you don’t get to experience the Big Lebowski-inspired vibes of the Michelberger Hotel (most closely imitated at Shoreditch’s Ace) or chow at candle-lit tucked-away Der Goldene Hahn, with Italian food so belly-soothingly good it rivals Trullo.
Two opportunities to have a life-changing cocktail served to you by a mix maestro in a good-ol’-days cocktail jacket. One, a harrowing Ryanair flight to Catalonia and onto Pedro Carbonell’s Dry Martini – a revered shrine to the drink it takes its name from. Or two, a slightly less harrowing jaunt up the Northern Line to Angel, and into Tony Conigliaro’s film-noir tinged 69 Colebrooke Row. Your call, mate. But remember the last budget flight you caught? With the mass-tasering on landing? Jus sayin’!
Alright. Alright. We’ll admit it. There’s nothing quite like Silencio, the David Lynch-designed, Mulholland Drive-inspired member’s club-cum-nightclub in Paris. It’s moodily relaxing and draws on some much-loved on-screen magic. A little like Keystone Crescent near St. Pancras, which is more “rejected Mike Leigh set” than “LA-based thriller”, but hell, we’ll take it. A spot nowhere near as tough to match? Paris’s in-demand hidden cocktail bar/taqueria Candelaria – a Mexican love-in you can also enjoy in London’s La Bodega Negra.
Lisbon, over there, squaring up to London with its new wave of trendy rooftop bars like PARK – a seventh-floor carpark ginfest with top-drawer views, and one we’ll happily admit is really good stuff. We’ll admit it, then crush the life out of it with our year-round sky-high funhouses at Rumpus Room, Aqua, Boundary, Coq d’Argent and the Ham Yard Hotel terrace.
An international festival of light
Dinner in a decommissioned 1967 underground carriage
Half-price brunch and a HUGE fried chicken burger