Get caught in a blizzard in London and you have two choices. You could attempt to brave the bitter winds, slushy puddles and beswaddled tourists bumping this way and that; or you could find the nearest, cosiest spot for a great winter warmer. We’ll stay inside with a cocktail, thanks. Still, you can visit the pub at any time and your favourite bar will be right where you left it come the spring thaws. What won’t be there however are some of London’s coolest, warmest winter pop-ups. So grab some eggnog, mulled wine or cinnamon-spiked classic and settle in. After all, the weather outside is frightful…
1. The Churchill Arms
If your kind of Christmas tipple comes in a pint glass then head on over to the most overly festooned pub in Kensington. Actually, make that London. Tiers of Christmas trees, streams of fairy lights and one too many decorations to be sane, it’s the kind of place you can’t visit without your best, cheesiest festive jumper. They also do a Thai-themed Christmas menu if you’re in the mood for something a little different from the usual pub roast.
Where: 119 Kensington Church St, Kensington, London W8 7LN
2. The Aviary Igloos
A rooftop view might sound appealing but good luck keeping the cold out. The Aviary in Shoreditch at least has found a novel solution: igloos. Not the full ice ones of course, but a series of transparent hidey-holes across the rooftop decking. Get a few mates together, head on up and enjoy winter cocktails, indulgent snacks and a £100 bar tab for a grand total of £250 for one and a half hours. You’ll want to book in good time though; this is catnip for Instagrammers.
Where: Royal London House, 10th Floor Montcalm, 22-25 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1DX
3. Dalloway Terrace
The perennially stunning Dalloway Terrace has been given a makeover in gold in its latest autumnal incarnation. Bedecked in seasonal colours just shy of winter, it’s arguably the finest place off Oxford street to enjoy a pre-dinner drink or two. The drinks in question include the Terrace’s new Æcorn menu, herby and using nothing but 100-percent British Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Meunier Grapes. Maybe we’ll skip dinner…
Where: 16-22 Great Russell St, Fitzrovia, London WC1B 3NN
4. The South Place Presents
What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than a classic holiday film? Or you know, Elf. Returning again to its secluded Secret Garden, the South Place Hotel is screening some festive flicks like Love Actually, The Holiday and the aforementioned Will Ferrel vehicle, all with one of the bar’s signature winter cocktails. Prices from £20 for a fun start to the endless slew of Christmas films to come.
Where: 3 South Pl, Finsbury, London EC2M 2AF
5. The Lanson Winter Lodge
From 14 November The Montague on the Gardens will be transforming, courtesy of Champagne Lanson, into an elegant winter lodge a cut above your usual ski-themed hideaway. The festive atmosphere will be helped along by a goodly dose of fizz and a winter warming menu to match. If you’re in the mood to commit fully, there’s also the full Champagne Lanson Experience for £85 a head with includes a bottle of white bubbly, a steak bun, king-prawn tempura and breaded Camembert.
Where: 15 Montague St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 5BJ
6. The Fortnum & Mason Lodge at Somerset House
Even if you’re deathly scared of the ice – we wouldn’t blame you – it’s worth stopping by the annual skate-fest at Somerset House, if only for the Fortnum & Mason Lodge. While everyone else is out freezing and scared on the ice, you can be sat inside with a tipsy hot chocolate or some seriously punchy mulled wine. Then there’s the bar food. It’s Fortnum & Mason; you know it’s going to be good.
Where: Strand, London WC2R 1LA