On the surface, London Fashion week is all about the hotspots: of course you can go for drinks at the Savoy or dance at The Arts Club in Mayfair and bump into a bunch of classic characters from the scene, but as we see it, you’ll have more fun if you hit the unusual, stylish but off-kilter spots where the real trend-setters are.
Marylebone, Soho and Mayfair
These central neighborhoods are undoubtedly classy and beautiful, but there is more to them than meets the eye: just a few minutes’ walk from the revered Somerset house area, you’ll find a very decent bunch of cool, trendy hangouts.
A bit peckish? Hit Ceviche in Soho, for ace Peruvian seafood, skewers, salads and cocktails, at tables or the bar in a bright dining room. Or, if you’re inclined to see what all the buzz around Chiltern Firehouse restaurant is about, you won’t be disappointed. This perfectly decorated, lavish joint will serve you some of the best food you've had in ages.
For a bit of calm away from the storm, browse the National Portrait Gallery before enjoying the view from the Portrait Bar – in this rooftop restaurant you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner with an unmatched view (see below) of Nelson in Trafalgar Square and across Whitehall to the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the London Eye.
For cocktail extravaganza head to Connaught Bar – the ultra-stylish English Cubist and Irish 1920s art-inspired decor as well as the tantalizing cocktails put this Mayfair bar into a league of its own.
Up for something super chilled and curious? Postcard Teas is the place. They serve possibly London's best cup of tea but they aren't your average kind of place. Brainchild of tea-lover and traveler Timothy d'Offay, this small shop is home to all sorts of rare teas, from oolong to chai. Pick your fave and you can even send it off as a gift – the shop has its own postbox inside!
Shoreditch amd Dalston, Hackney
Why not go visit a nonchalant neighborhood by night, where the young artists and general hip kids hang out at? Might be unpredictable and even a bit rough, but hey – isn't that what fun times are all about? Get yourself on a cab – or the overground – and revel in the many wonders of Hackney. Certainly good for trend spotting, and that really suits the London Fashion Week spirit.
For some tasty, authentic foodstuffs in no-frills urban-cool surroundings, we recommend Mangal II and their sought-after Turkish deliciousness (we also recommend their hilarious twitter account) or Voodoo Ray’s (pictured above) for mouth-watering pizza by the slice.
If you’re up for some dancing action, hit the Dance Tunnel or Dalston Superstore in Dalston for a vibey, sexy basement rave feel. For something sleeker in clubland, try The Nest – which kind of bridges a gap between raves and more up-market nightlife by revamping iconic former gig basement Barden’s Boudoir.
Up for something a bit more creative? Go to Village Underground in Shoreditch - part creative community, part arts venue, this non-profit space for culture is housed in a renovated warehouse and tube carriages and hosts all things alternative culture, from concerts and club nights to exhibitions, theatre, live art and other performances.
Or - why not run away from it all and head to beautiful, safe Chelsea for some peace and quiet and breath-taking surroundings? If that’s the vibe you’re after, do not miss Kurobuta in Kings Road – an informal, hearty Japanese restaurant that started out at as pop-up last year but just stayed there because…it works.
Hope these suggestions tickled your fancy... Now go enjoy London Fashion Week 2.0!