Despite living in a climate that is rarely conducive to alfresco drinking us Brits seem to love nothing more than getting out in the fresh air (not so much of this in central London...) with our glasses of rose and jugs of Pimms. There is a thoroughly ‘blitz spirit’ attitude to this kind of activity, so although we may be shivering in our coats under an ineffectual patio heater we will stubbornly remain in situ long after those from warmer climes have given up and gone inside. So in homage to this most British of summer pastimes we have compiled a few suggestions of where you can get your alfresco on in style this summer. Chowpatty Beach Bar:
Dishoom has already bought an authentic Bombay dining experience to St Martins Lane and this summer they will be recreating the infamous Chowpatty beach on the South Bank. The original Chowpatty beach is where all of Bombay comes to snack from street vendors stalls and stroll on the seafront, sights, sounds, colours and smells merge to provide a totally unforgettable experience. The Chowpatty Beach Bar has been created, or rather improvised, from all manner of old materials, furnishing and decorations. The result a very authentic interpretation of an Indian street stall, in fact it has been rather charmingly likened to an old Bombay cafe on a mild acid trip. This summer visitors can hit the sand and listen to music while sampling a creative Indian-inspired drinks menu including Bombay Pimm’s Summer Cup, Spiked Colaba Ice Tea and Classic Dishoom Chaijito. With delicious authentic bites also on offer you can kick back and make an evening of it...for as long as the Indian summer remains.
Until end of September
Yes we know this is into its second summer now, but it wasn’t voted ‘Best place to eat alfresco in Britain’ by the Times last year for nothing. Take a stylish canopy (see they have come prepared), throw in the stunning surroundings of Somerset House and add views out over the River Thames and you’re hard pressed to find a better place to while away a few hours on a sunny evening. Tom’s Terrace will be hosting DJ nights all through the summer and with an extensive (and inventive) cocktail menu including Elderflower Collins and Red Chilli Martini we know we’re going to be in danger of running up a pretty serious bar tab. The new menu has introduced themed sharing platters meaning it really is the perfect place for a relaxed (well until those Red Chilli Martinis kick in) evening with friends.
Through 25 September
After being headquarters for mission ‘get Kate to the Abbey on time’ last month, The Goring was going to have pull something big out of the bag to avoid the summer feeling like a bit of an anti-climax. Luckily they have thought big...and tropical. Hip and happening Mustique hang-out Basil’s Bar and Restaurant, haunt of Kate Moss, Mick Jagger and the Royal Couple du jour, lands at The Goring in June. The Goring Beach Bar will bring us the authentic beach shack, polished driftwood bar, golden sand and dangerous cocktails, without the transatlantic flight. Basil himself will be instructing the barman on his signature cocktails and delighting the crowds for a few weeks in June, after which the party will roll on until September.Chowpatty Beach Bar - Queen Elizabeth Hall Terrace, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX
Tom’s Terrace - Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA
The Goring - Beeston Place, London, SW1W 0JW