With rising rental costs for commercial spaces, it seems that bars, restaurants, and shops are popping up rather than settling on a permanent residency. And at the forefront of this pop-up revolution is good old east London, where formerly worn-out industrial spaces are being turned into weird and wonderful experiences, ranging from burger bars to roller discos.
With the transition from summer to autumn on its way, we’re feeling transient too – so we’ve picked out some of the stranger and more interesting pop-ups around London at the moment for you to pop out and visit this week.
This unique summer-time pop-up café bar is built from stage sets and scenery from past National Theatre productions and is filled with a mix of props such as the train set from ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ and the lighting from ‘Frankenstein‘. To top off the eclectic setting, it’s bang on the river front and serves up a selection of delicious street food classics like fish finger sandwiches, scotch eggs, and pulled pork. Every Friday and Saturday night, the place comes alive with exciting live bands and DJs ’til 2am.
Redemption Bar, Bethnal Green
Here’s a weird one, mainly because the thought of an alcohol-free bar just blows our mind. But that’s what Catherine Salway, the brains behind Redemption Bar, has gone and done. Challenging the notion that we need alcohol at every social occasion, they offer a range of classy mocktails, fruit infusions, teas and coffees, as well as serving up some super-healthy food that’s sourced locally and organically. You can find this laid-back, detox zone on the roof of Netil House in Bethnal Green on summer Sundays.
Skate Kings Cross, Kings Cross
Get your skates on! Running till the 6th September, Skate Kings Cross combines DJs, drinks, food, and, that catalyst of fun, rollerskates. This pop-up rink can be found in the West Handyside Canopy, with room for 100 skaters and 200 onlookers (as if you’re not going to be self-conscious enough about falling over.) The Disco Bistro serves up what you would expect from a rollerdisco (burgers, wings, milkshakes), but working in the kitchen over the eight-week period are guest chefs such as Gizzi Erskine, Lucky Chip, Street Kitchen, and Yum Bun, who will be serving these classic dishes with a twist.
Wu’s Cruise, Regents Canal
Brought to you by the people at Ridley Road Market Bar, this cocktail bar comes inside a narrowboat moored up at various locations along Regents Canal. You can grab a Ginger Mojito, Tequila with grapefruit, Cuba Libre, or a simple G&T for just £5. Alternatively, they serve red, white, or rosé wine and cans of Red Stripe for those who want to play it safe. Chilling out beside the water’s edge is a lovely way to spend a few hours and watch the often busy waterways. Oh, don’t forget to keep tabs on their Twitter to find out where along the canal you can get these delicious cocktails and the odd Taco.
Pop Up Screens, various locations
Showing a range of cult and pop-culture films (Grease, V for Vendetta, Ghostbusters, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), there should be a screening everyone will love. What’s more they all take place in parks across London with caterers and a well-stocked bar, come rain or shine! Obviously, sitting on a picnic blanket on a warm summer’s evening is what we all hope for, but sitting under an umbrella listening to the pitter-patter of the rain while taking in the wonders of Wizard of Oz has a certain appeal to it.