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Thursday, 28 March 2013

Paris

I know, I know - Paris isn't technically in London, but if you have a good night out in King's Cross and get on the wrong train home then you'll be there in no time. I headed straight from work and met my host for the weekend, Tim "I'm actuary an actuary!" Henshaw, at Gare du Nord on Friday evening at 21:47. Tim has been eager to get involved in The List and we had a few planning sessions on Facebook throughout the week. A lot of thanks also has to go to Bar Chick and Timeout for their interesting bar suggestions. Will anyone make it through to the end of this epic post? There'll be a quiz.

Day 1 - Friday 22nd March - I dropped my stuff off and headed straight out with Tim and Shannon (An American in Paris) to visit a couple of their favourite odd places. First up was The Frog and Rosbif - one of five English microbrewery pubs in Paris serving up a range of amusingly named beers plus some interesting beer cocktails. Then we headed over the river to pop in to a really silly bar called Le Carré in Saint-Michel which is vaguely Star Wars themed - by that I mean they have put up three Star Wars posters, and named 5 of their drinks after Star Wars characters. We went for 3 shots of Yoda Is My Master and then left as quickly as possible! They do run retro gaming evenings which could be fun.  Head down the road to find a Sushi restaurant with a door that only hobbits can fit through.  We finished off our evening at The Lizard Lounge (sans Shannah Montana) - head downstairs to the cave bar for some amateur DJ entertainment. Tim ended up running the music for 10 minutes while the DJ went outside for a cigarette! We called it a night and went home to plan for the big day.


Day 2 - Saturday 23rd March - After an enormous "Turbichoc" pastry from Atelier Hure next to Tim's flat, we headed to Cave à Bulles - a specialist beer shop down the road from Dans Le Noir (a pitch black dining experience that has restaurants around the world, including one in London) near Rambuteau Metro. Cave à Bulles stands out because they brew their own beer in front of you.  The owner is also extremely knowledgeable and entertaining - he recommended us a low percentage beer to drink over breakfast, prior to telling us to get control of our hop addiction before we ended up running a hop shop like he does to fund his hoppy lifestyle. We bought a few bottles, including a cheeky breakfast beer, and headed back to the flat to fine tune our  day plan with Shannel Islands, who had joined us there with more pastries. First up was a pizza place called Grazie that turns into a cocktail bar in the evening with an exciting drinks menu masterminded by the mysterious pair of Oscar Q and Franck C.

Cave a Bulles
Turbichoc Pastry and Grazie
It was already extremely busy by 12.30 but we managed to grab three seats at the bar, giving us full access to the informative and friendly bartender Cyril. The pizzas are ridiculous - I don't think I've ever had one this tall! Thankfully they tasted as good as they looked.  We washed them down with a very refreshing beer called Loirette Touraine. Sadly we never made it back for cocktails - I particularly want to try the one entitled "Speakeasy" for obvious reasons, along with the "Suffering Bastard". The "Infused Negroni" made with walnut-infused gin and artichoke-soaked Campari also sounds great. I would book a table next time to be sure of a seat.


 
Next on La Liste were two different beer places. First we went to Académie de la Bière (near Port Royal RER or Raspail Metro) - a Belgian bar and restaurant serving a wide range of deadly draught beers (and beer cocktails) with a generous happy hour from 15.30-19.30. Here we introduced Shango Unchained to our favourite card game Big 2 (otherwise known as Presidents) to pass the time. We like to keep track of who is winning and losing (President or Bum?) by wearing a particular hat which you will see in some photos later on.  We moved swiftly on to the fantastic beer bar, La Fine Mousse.

 
Here we added some more Americans (Rawn, Sarah and Cameron) to the Big 2 game. Rawn blew our  tiny little English minds by giving away the best card of the game to Shannibal on purpose - he was President one round later. Every beer was delicious and great value - the setup reminds me slightly of the wonderful Euston Tap although it is nowhere near as cramped! It was very tempting to stay til closing (they serve from 17.00-02.00 every day) but we decided to press on to a few more standard List-style hidden bars in the Oberkampf/Republique area. We gained British Bill and Aussie Mike at this stage. Candelaria was our next stop - walk through a very ordinary looking taco bar and push on the unmarked door at the back and you are rewarded with a brilliant, atmospheric cocktail bar.  Tim and I went for their two special cocktails - one spicy, one smokey, both exceptional.  Bill and Mike stayed manly and had a bottle of Sol. It is also worth having a plate of their guacamole and tortilla chips. It looks like you can book on their website which is necessary if you want a table.

Can you spot the door?
 
We lost all of our Americans except for Shanna Karenina but kept Bill and Mike for two more bars. Next up was Little Red Door - Mike warned us that it could be hard to get in, so we called ahead to give ourselves more of a chance.  It is again unmarked so look out for the little red door set back from the street guarded by a giant bouncer (this slightly ruins the look of the entrance sadly!) - warning: the red door is not a door, the wall is the door, obviously. Mike talked the bouncer into letting us in and we packed inside for a quick drink. The atmosphere isn't as relaxed as Candelaria but if you book ahead then I'm sure you'll have a great evening. Their signature cocktails are €13-14 - pretty standard in Paris for the good stuff. Bill and Mike scrapped their manly image by ordering champagne cocktails.  


Don't mess with Tim
 
At this point we were joined by two Frenchies - Vahé and Simon. We tried and failed to get in to Andy Wahloo (run by the people behind Momo and Sketch in London) so we had to skip straight on to Experimental Cocktail Club - these guys have a place in London but also own Curio Parlour and Prescription Cocktail Club in Paris.  Tim made the basic error of not saying "Bonsoir" to the bouncer who then blanked him and talked to someone else - not quite as funny as the reverse situation I had the week before when Sam managed to get a bouncer at Kokos to say please to him.  Inside we met our favourite bartender of the weekend, Pierre - "I am French, I am a barman - I must be called Pierre!". We instructed him to make us whatever he wanted (except for Bill who, having completely given up on pretending to like beer, ordered a glass of champagne - to his credit, he did refuse a strawberry garnish).


 
Pierre whipped up lots of inventive cocktails for us, tempting us in to a second round (when we were joined by another Brit abroad, Polly). He was also very generous, giving me a free taster of some Velvet Falernum and Fernet Branca, and making Polly a new drink when she wasn't convinced by one of his creations. If you told him to make you a drink with anything except gin, then he would make you one with gin on purpose to change your mind. We also had the first of several flaming cocktails that evening - it never gets old! We eventually dragged ourselves away, losing Bill and Mike in the process, and we headed over to Le Ballroom Du Beef - a secret, underground bar beneath The Beef Club restaurant near Les Halles, again run by ECC. The entrance is outside the restaurant - look for an unmarked black door, probably being patrolled by a doorman (these guys really ruin the excitement of finding somewhere hidden!). Tim talked his way in by claiming that we had been here a few times before, and that we didn't need to sit down.




I joined Tim at the bar to find the bartender jumping up and down like a madman. "Did you do that, Tim?", I asked. "I think so - I just asked him to make 6 cocktails of whatever he wanted and he started jumping around with joy!". More flames and an absinthe mojito came our away amongst other drinks.  The atmosphere was fantastic - it's a fairly big venue for an underground bar and it was still completely packed so turn up early or be prepared to be turned away.



To complete our night we headed over to Le Fumoir - a relaxed restaurant bar where Shandbags knew the barman and a secret cocktail code! Ask for Le Dernier Métro (a Truffaut film title) and you are rewarded with a special drink.  He even gave us a few of them on the house which my wallet was very relieved about. They have happy hours from 18.00-20.00 and seem to take their Martinis very seriously. We said goodbye to Vahé, Simon and Polly and headed off in search of some crepes. For some reason, we found ourselves back at ECC where Tim's favourite bouncer greeted us with "Re-bonsoir!".

Stay!
Don't Go!
So wonewy
Pierre made us three final drinks which he described as a "descent into hell" ending with a potent Mezcal-based cocktail.  After a bizarre accidental camera-flash battle with a couple across the room, we headed off for a second crepe and some sleep. Douze points to Tim and Shanana for a top effort all day.


Day 3 - Sunday 24th March - We obviously didn't wake up too early but luckily it was still brunch o'clock so we headed straight for Breakfast in America - an American Diner in Paris serving up massive portions of bacon, eggs, pancakes etc with bottomless coffee and tasty milkshakes (go for the Oreo or Obama variations). We entertained ourselves with some more Big 2 in the queue - get there as early as you can to avoid a big wait.  The food was exactly what we needed and we particularly liked the fact that every table gets its own personal toaster! For a hearty meal, order CC's Big Mess and bring your expandable trousers.



Shansel (not Gretel) finally headed home to do some work (there were tears) after brunch so Tim and I made some more plans to visit some bars around Rambuteau and Bastille without her. First up was Mary Celeste (run by the Candelaria team) - an oyster/cocktail bar with Brooklyn beer on tap.  Head here for €1 oysters during their happy hour from 17.00-19.00.  We went for the tasty Brooklyn EIPA after too many cocktails the day before, but I'm sure they are excellent based on the Candelaria creations.  The free Mary Celeste postcard that comes with your bill is a nice touch.


We headed over Bastille way to try out Tape (a graffiti bar) and L'Entre Potes (a basement bar with quirky décor) but both were shut - it was a Sunday but Timeout did lead us to believe they would both be open. Shan Solo rejoined us sooner than we expected for a couple more drinks after giving up on her work due to a faulty computer and an unhealthy addiction to Big 2. Next we had some very ordinary beer in Bottle Shop - head there in happy hour for extremely cheap drinks.

Bum Wig - Trainers in Washing Machines - President Hat
Then we came to Bar 138 - a relaxed place with shabby chic décor and cheerful staff.  This is the kind of place you could spend the whole day in, especially with happy hour til 9 and food served til late as well. Shananarama abandoned us again at this point leaving us playing cards on our own.

Buddha the Bum
We headed over to Red House, another unmarked cocktail bar.  The drinks here are superb and we were very sad to have just missed happy hour. Thanks to the barman for getting us the last plate of nachos and giving me a taster of their Earl Grey syrup.



Finally, we went to try out Sherry Butt (guess what - unmarked door) after a strong recommendation from Pierre - he is definitely a big fan as we found him drinking at the end of the bar.  It was very empty as it was nearing the end of a Sunday night but the quality of the drinks was still there.  They offer Whiskey flights (try a few whiskeys from different countries) alongside an exciting cocktail list.  The barman was very engaging and gave us some tasters of pine nut syrup, byrrh and chicha morada after we asked about them. They are clearly very serious about their cocktails, keeping all of their glasses refrigerated between 3 and 4 degrees.


I think either everything was shutting or we ran out of money but we decided to stop there, go home to eat pasta and pesto, and watch some Green Wing.  As an added bonus, Shannover turned up for a final game of Big 2 to end the weekend perfectly.  An enormous performance from Tim and (George Frideric) Shandel has seen them rocket towards to the top of Team List with 17 and 15 visits respectively - Natalie is now floundering on 9 (Feast only counts as one!). Thanks also to Vahé and Simon (quatre points), Bill, Mike and Polly (trois points), and Rawn, Cameron and Sarah (deux points) for keeping us going on Day 2.

Quiz Time - can you name every variation on Shannon's name that is used throughout the blog? 

The winner gets mentioned on the next post and on twitter, and (if we ever meet) can have a sticker. Post your answer as a comment, tweet, facebook message, text etc.  Runners up might get stickers too. I have so many stickers. Bonus extra special sticker goes to anyone that comes up with a funnier one!

Please also leave comments if you have been to some other great places in Paris - Tim and Shannon would love to know about them!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Wigwambam - Malt Jockey - Three Blind Mice - Whistling Shop

Thursday 21st March - I snapped up two tickets a fortnight ago to a Monkey Shoulder Whiskey event called "For One Night Only - Malt Jockey" without really knowing what it was. When it sold out an hour later I started to get excited and invited Sam (of Meat Licker fame) along for the ride. The event was held in Factory 7 (a versatile events space) near Liverpool Street/Shoreditch High Street round the corner from the Queen of Hoxton pub (currently housing the now London standard mandatory table-tennis table).  Sam was running a bit late so I decided to head up to the roof of the pub to check out their rooftop installation, Wigwambam.


Wigwambam is a temporary rooftop wigwam bar complete with a large central BBQ for cooking the daily specials and for toasting Smores (see below).  There is another bar outside the main wigwam on the roof but still under cover. It's a beautiful venue and surprisingly warm when inside the wigwam considering that there isn't much protecting you from the elements. Luckily they have just extended their stay until the end of April. Put some time aside and head to Wigwambam asap!


Sam gave me a two minute warning so I popped back over to Factory 7 and headed inside. On arrival we were given drinks tokens (3 cocktails each), a food token (1 Street Kitchen burger), 1 betting token and a free jockey polo shirt.  The event was put on by Monkey Shoulder whiskey to promote their delicious blend of single malts which tastes superb on its own or in a range of cocktails.  To keep us busy they set up scalectrix, sugar cube and bitters tasting, remote control horse racing and betting, and cocktail making masterclasses.  We figured that the masterclass queue would fill up very quickly so we headed over there with our first free cocktail (a delicious Old Fashioned).  5 minutes later we were being taught how to make the Malt Jockey cocktail by a pro - 2 shots Monkey Shoulder, 1 shot Sweet Vermouth, 1/4 shot Maraschino and 1 dash of Chocolate Bitters with Orange Peel Garnish. I went in feeling pretty cocky about my cocktail making skills but quickly realised I knew very little after his fascinating lesson. We walked away with 1 extremely tasty drink.


Sam and I like to get our money's worth at events so we were as efficient as possible moving around the room so that we didn't miss out on anything.  Next we headed over to try some interesting bottles of bitters by putting a dash on to a sugar cube and eating it whole like a horsey. The cinnamon and coriander variations stood out for us. We then went to put some bets on the horse racing - choose the correct winner and you get another token, aiming to get to 3 tokens for a free drink. Sadly all 5 of their remote control cars had broken down so all bets were off.


We decided to turn this to our favour however and discussed with the betting man that since we hadn't yet betted, we could potentially have won limitless drinks all evening given the opportunity.  He agreed and sent us off to the bar for a free drink.  Meanwhile they turned the race course into seating - it would have been horrendously busy if they hadn't done this! This is where we met bartender Russell, our go to guy for the evening (along with the equally excellent girl serving next to him). He happily gave us two free Ginger Brewskis (whiskey, ginger syrup, lemon juice topped with London pride) without really caring why we wanted them on the house.


This was the beginning of our dangerous addiction to getting extra food and drinks from the generous staff who clearly had tonnes of produce to get rid of.  We ended up having 5 incredible Street Kitchen gourmet bacon butties instead of 2 (including the last one of the night), simply by asking for more! It seems Street Kitchen can do no wrong - everything they make me is always delicious. Head to their new home in Shoreditch or visit them near the Doodle Bar in Battersea when you get a chance. We also were gifted several more cocktails by the barstaff, including a cheeky pour of whiskey straight into our mouths over the counter from our new friends. We squeezed in a fun game of scalectrix in between drinks (we both flew off the track pretty early on) and eventually decided to head towards the exit.  However, as we were leaving, the Cloakroom girls gave us more free drinks tokens on the grounds that we would bring them some back. We ended up sneakily passing them their cocktails behind coats - probably totally unnecessary but it seemed clever at the time.

This took our final tally to 19 cocktails and 5 burgers (rather than 6 and 1) which we were pretty happy with. To top that off, we were also given an extra polo shirt in a different colour to add to our collection on the way out. The staff were fantastic all night, the event was very well planned and most importantly, the Monkey Shoulder based drinks were so interesting and moreish that we didn't get bored of them at all throughout the evening. It was all over by 10.30 so we decided to quickly try out a couple of places nearby whilst we were in town.


First up we popped into Three Blind Mice bar on Ravey Street after reading some good things about it. Sadly, it was completely empty and had no atmosphere so we headed straight out without even getting a drink.  It's tricky to find which is always fun but I don't think it stands out enough to compete with London's more exciting underground bars. We then headed round the corner to Whistling Shop on Worship Street set up by the guys behind Purl. They serve up some pretty odd drinks here, making good use of their laboratory that you can have a look at on one side of the bar.


We weren't overly impressed by our two bizarre cocktails but we had possibly already had a little too much Monkey Shoulder fun (all for £15) to appreciate the drinks on offer here (around £12 for 1).  I feel I should probably go back to try a few more things - the Radiation Aged Cocktail in particular stands out.  They also have a private room with odd bottled concoctions called The Dram Shop, and put on special experimental cocktail events in The Emporium that are worth checking out. There's definitely enough going on here to have a great evening but I'm not yet convinced by whether making a drink with mad ingredients and serving it in a strange way is better than something simple (you have to try the Pina Colada at The Langham Hotel!). I'd be interested to hear what anyone thinks who has also been here so do get in touch on twitter -@matthew1hickman - or leave a comment!  Thanks to Sam for a great evening, and especially to all the Monkey Shoulder staff.  There was a bonus after party at London Cocktail Club a few days later with master bartender Dean Callan that I will write about soon - a crazy evening that ended with me holding Johnny Depp's gun from Pirates of the Caribbean 2!


Coming up this week: Tanqueray Gin free Popup on Floral Street (March 26th and 27th from 5-11pm), Wandsworth Common Beer Festival (27th-31st), and South Bank Real Street Food Festival this weekend (29th-1st - opens at 12.00).

Finally, keep your eyes peeled for tickets for the next big Monkey Shoulder event called "Popcorn Flip" being held on 21st November - they have promised popcorn cannons and bouncy castles! Update - tickets are now on sale here.

Square Meal

Monday, 25 March 2013

B.Y.O.C - Pitt Cue Co.

Before I get to B.Y.O.C and Pitt Cue Co, my Dad has earned a mention this week by scouring through my blogs for typos and coming up with a winner. Apologies to Homeslice pizza who I listed as Homelice (not so appetizing) in my last post! Two members of Team List also amused me last week.  Firstly, Team Leader Natalie had to ask me how to spell beer for a wifi password (she was thinking of going with "bear") and secondly, Cheryl asked if the Duck and Waffle was situated at the top of The Shaft. Unless a risqué new building has recently opened that I am unaware of, I think she was going for The Shard - sadly, the correct answer is Heron Tower.

Tuesday 19th March: I booked a table for 4 at B.Y.O.C two weeks ago upon hearing rumours that it was close to being full up til late June. They have just got a new booking system to deal with the enormous number of enquiries and there are a few teething problems.  I went for 20.15 but was contacted a couple of days later saying that a mistake had been made and that only 18.30 was available, meaning I had to assemble a new team the night before. Luckily, Cath, Taro and Cheryl came to the rescue and we started planning what to bring.


B.Y.O.C is a tiny speakeasy style bar (hidden beneath the Juice Club on Bedfordbury Street) with a fun premise - everyone turns up with their own booze, pays a cover charge (£20 for two hours) and crams into a small cellar where a mixologist is waiting with a trolley of non-alcoholic treats, ready to invent cocktails on the spot.  We possibly went overboard on the alcohol front - Spiced rum, Passionfruit and Habanero Rum, 4 types of Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Pisco, Prickly Pear Liqueur, Vanilla Liqueur, Blackberry Liqueur, and a bottle of Brewdog Hardcore IPA. The table next to us brought a bottle of gin.


Every table was packed and the atmosphere was great - glasses hang above you, candles tucked away in alcoves give the room just enough light and old fashioned music plays in the background.  The immaculately dressed Cally squeezed his tray in between the tables and started to work his way around the  room. It quickly became clear however that it was going to be a slow night - Cally, whilst very friendly and funny, wasn't the most efficient barman I have ever met and it took 75 minutes to get on to our second drink.


This is where having your own spirits starts to come in handy! We started mixing our own entirely alcohol based cocktails to pass the time - if I were to go again I would definitely bring some wine/beers to have on the side. The B.Y.O.C staff did deal with it extremely well by giving us a whole extra hour in the bar which more than made up for the slow start.  Sadly though the drinks themselves were frankly not that exciting, considering the great ingredients we had provided. I did read mixed reviews in the build up saying it very much depends what barman you get, but I would have hoped they still could have mixed up something more memorable than our own concoctions!  That said, we did have a really fun time huddled around our little table, chatting with Cally and our fellow patrons.  One drinker helped us to translate a mysterious Ukrainian bottle, and I must give a special shout out to "Jemma with a J" and "Charlotte with a C" for giving us their  leftover champagne on the way out.


Bizarrely, after our 2 hour slot, no new customers turned up in the bar, despite the fact that it should have been fully booked up to 12.30 (especially after I was forced to change time).  The staff were packing up and heading home at 9.30 rather than hoping people would turn up which seemed a little odd to me. Despite all these glitches, I still recommend a visit for a quirky, London experience - just keep your fingers crossed for a great mixologist!


It's a bad habit
We stumbled back out into the night and headed in to Soho for some much needed food. Cath left us at this point to get some rest before saving lives the next day. The three potentials were Bone Daddies, Pizza Pilgrims and Pitt Cue Co - the latter winning on the grounds that it was probably the most satisfying drunk food to eat. Queues can be long early in the evening as you can't make reservations which can be off putting but at 10pm we walked straight in and were eating 10 minutes later.  Taro, struggling at this point after foolishly adding extra rum to his last rum cocktail, went for Pulled Pork with roast veg whilst I went for a Pulled Pork Bun with Bone Marrow Mash (pretty special) and Cheryl went for House Sausage (not as good as the pulled pork options).  I was instantly jealous of Taro's massive portion of pulled pork (everything is served in deep canteen style trays) but luckily I got to eat most of it anyway whilst he was "going for a walk to get some air" in the toilet.


They also have tasty beers and cocktails on offer. There is a small bar upstairs where you can have a drink or two whilst you wait to be seated in one of the 30 seats downstairs. We went for some Kernel beers with our meat (it is worth visiting their tiny brewery/shop on Saturdays in Maltby market in Bermondsey) which were a perfect accompaniment. I'll definitely head back at some point to get an idea of how long the queues are at a more normal time to eat, and to try out some cocktails and daily specials. The menu changes fairly regularly if you need an excuse for a repeat visit!


Thanks very much to Team List for a great night out - Cath (BYOC), Cheryl and Taro (BYOC and Pitt Cue Co).  Well done in particular to Taro for making it home and into work the next day (I assume?). This is the first of a few quickfire blogs after a bit of a backlog has built up - keep your eyes peeled for my next post on Malt Jockey, Wigwambam and Whistle Shop and the epic special edition from Paris (18 places visited in 3 days - will we have a new Team Leader?).  Meanwhile, buy your tickets for the Hen Party 4 course pop up!


Square Meal

Square Meal

Monday, 18 March 2013

Rebel Bingo - Well Kneaded Wagon - Pop Up Ping Pong - #BRGR - Bottomless Brunch

Hello all, I have 4 places to mention after a busy birthday weekend! First up from Friday 15th: Rebel Bingo

Team List leader Natalie secured the tickets to Rebel Bingo before the blog began but I'm pretty sure it still counts. It's basically a club night (this time at Scala in King's Cross) with a very rowdy game of bingo mixed in every now and then. Everyone was handed big marker pens on the way in for drawing on each other and on the bingo cards - don't wear a white t-shirt unless you want #yolo scribbled all over it.  It felt like a festival gig with the scantily clad, foul mouthed bingo callers pumping up the crowd and the odd beer sadly being thrown around, but it was an oddly enjoyable experience! It's definitely worth having a few drinks before you turn up to this one and probably more fun in a large group. Tickets sell out extremely fast every time so be organised if you want to go to their next event! 



Saturday 16th: I stupidly decided to have a birthday pub crawl on the last day of the 6 nations rugby.  More sensibly however, I decided to fill up on food before setting off.  I wandered down Northcote Road in search of something tasty and just I was losing hope I was lured in by a free sample to the Well Kneaded Wagon.  WKW make delicious firebread pizzas out of their pizza wagon - I went for the Chorizo, Leek and Cheddar variety (a steal at £5) and demolished it in a few seconds. I'm not sure I would have bought one had it not been for the hilarious Carl handing out the free samples out front - his pitch was so shambolic I just couldn't tear myself away. You can find them on Northcote Road on Saturdays and also at Kerb (a street food collective parking up in places around London).  If pizza is your thing then you should also check out Pizza Pilgrims and Homeslice Pizza. Street food has really taken off and it's hard to keep up with them all so I recommend heading to Kerb and/or going to the Real Street Food Festival on Southbank over Easter weekend to tick a few off.



I won't bore you with the details of the pub crawl but it ended up at Pop Up Ping Pong - a Ping Pong event in a disused pub near Kensington Olympia (with baby burgers or "sliders" provided by #BRGR).


Tickets were £6 which gave us free access all night long to the 4 Olympic-sized tables that PUPP had crammed in. Drink choices were limited but incredibly cheap and vodka mixers were served in the classic American red cups though no beer pong broke out that I noticed (head to Exhibit Balham for that) - CORRECTION - there was beer pong, I am clearly not very observant!

Mysterious girl No.1
We managed to colonise a table in the corner for most of the evening with 2 mysterious and frustratingly capable girls often joining in the fun too (speak up if you are reading this!). Socially it worked really well with people rotating round tables quickly so you were often playing with randomers.  There will be more PUPP events - follow @PingPopPong to stay up to date. For more permanent Ping Pong head to Bounce in Holborn or Ping in Earl's Court.  I also spotted a table outside the Doodle Bar though I can't guarantee it will be there again!

One slight downside was the epic wait for food! In my merry state I wasn't too bothered waiting 2 hours for my burgers but I should imagine some people were less patient.  That said, when they finally arrived they were delicious.  I had a pair of White Truffle Cheeseburgers (having stated the secret white truffle burger password "Tyrion Lannister" that was spread around on Twitter) and they disappeared even faster than my firebread lunch.  #BRGR are a very small, pop-up West London burger joint who are only delivering locally at the moment, but I look forward to seeing them expand soon as they deserve to!


Sunday 17th - To finish off the weekend, I decided to combat my hangover with a Bottomless Brunch at Dime Bar in Battersea. For £16 you get to choose one of five brunch dishes plus also unlimited Mimosas, Bloody Marys or coffee (from 12-3 on Saturdays & Sundays - not 10.30-3).  Only 3 of us made it in the end - List Leader Natalie and an overdue first Team List mention for my sister Emily who deserves credit for many pre-List places. Despite being tempted by a pancake and waffle stack, we all went for the Trucker Special - an enormous fry up with both hash browns and chips for potato lovers.  It's a fry-up worth getting out of bed for and an absolute bargain if you arrive early and fit in a few drinks. You might as well book - it started to get busy around 1pm and people stick around once they have arrived to maximise the bottomless drinks situation. For a Bottomless Roast, head to House of Wolf in Islington on Sundays for a similar deal for £25.

UPDATE - Dime Bar sadly closed its doors at the beginning of 2014 - Bottomless Brunch will be missed!



Oscar speech time - thanks to many Team Listers this week for keeping me going! Natalie (currently way out in front - who's going to step up?), Embob (Dime Bar), Mary, Joe, Morgan, Cass, David P, Leanne, Lee, Jane, Jason, Ali, Seb, Libby, Sabina, Lydia, Tom, Christine, Rosie, Taro, Andy, Lauren, Felix, May, Kathleen (Pop Up Ping Pong and #BRGR), Luke, Breedy, Olly (Rebel Bingo), Harriet, Dinwiddie, Sophie and David C (pub crawl via Doodle Bar). Phew. Give me a shout if I have missed you out!

Carl and friends from the Well Kneaded Wagon
Thanks for reading (or looking at the pretty pictures) - stay tuned for B.Y.O.C and the sold out Malt Jockey event coming up this week plus a special List edition all the way from Paris next weekend!