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North-west Londoners mourned the loss of the area’s best bar when At Proud closed last year. So they should be rejoicing as it has just reopened, with the new name of Proud Camden, on premises a few hundred metres away from the original in Camden Market. The site is five times larger than before, featuring a mix of classic and quirky design, plus a vast alfresco terrace that will no doubt reinstate it as NW1’s biggest party hang-out this summer. The Horse Hospital, Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, NW1, 020 7482 3867.
Veteran restaurateur Claudio Pulze, who has opened over 30 restaurants in London including Aubergine and Zafferano, has moved away from the fine-dining scene with his latest venture, The Beehive, opening in mid April. Pulze is keen to stress that it’s not a ‘gastropub’, but a pub, good and proper, albeit one serving eggs Benedict, Caesar salad and an Italian take on fish and chips, made from top-notch ingredients for very fair prices. There’s also a short list of wines, beers and ales. 126 Crawford Street, W1
Creating a successful bar chain (and one with personality) is no mean feat, so we’re pleased to hear that Mike Filpi, who started up the Eclipse chain of neighbourhood boutique bars, is the force behind Chelsea’s new Bartique. It serves up swanky cocktails like the Kentucky Matcha (bourbon, vanilla liqueur, green tea syrup and white grape and pomegranate liqueur with pomegranate juice) alongside bite-size food. There's also an early evening aperitif hour with complimentary nibbles to accompany drinks.
Zebrano on Soho’s Ganton Street, has opened a second branch. Zebrano at The Establishment is set over three floors: there’s a laid-back balcony bar upstairs, a ground-floor restaurant with a Thai/Med menu, and a dance floor and bar area in the basement. 18 Greek Street, W1, 020 7287 2051.
News reaches us that after months of rumours, pop diva Madonna and her film-maker hubby Guy Ritchie have purchased The Punchbowl pub on Mayfair’s Farm Street. The couple have been regulars of the 18th-century boozer for some years and, since the purchase, are deciding whether to turn it into a gastropub or a private members’ club. Surely Madonna’s most unlikely re-invention since she became a children’s writer?
Geronimo Inns has clearly struck a winning formula with its soon-to-be 21-strong portfolio of bars and gastropubs. It’s just launched The Five Tuns, a chic bar in Heathrow Terminal 5, and in April opens two new gastropubs including The Crown (223 Grove Road, E3, 020 8880 7261) serving up posh pub grub overlooking Victoria Park. Then there’s The Betjeman Arms (St Pancras International, NW1, 020 7923 5440) just next to the Eurostar concourse. It’s made up of five rooms (including a business lounge) and will serve up honest British food, so visitors from across the channel can sample bangers and mash as soon as they set foot in the country.
Currently open to non-members, City newcomer The East Room comes from the same stable as Milk and Honey and The Player. There's an impressive selection of wines, with several options by the glass, cocktails plus a generous buffet
This latest Maida Vale gastropub from Gordon Ramsay Holdings follows a similar format to its two siblings, The Narrow and The Devonshire. Seasonal British cooking (plus a few continental favourites) are served up in a restored Victorian boozer
The Coburg is the first of the two newly refurbished bars to open at The Connaught following the Mayfair hotel's £70 million renovations (The American Bar opens later this year). As well as classic cocktails and fine wines, there are good looks courtesy of uber-designer David Collins
Billing itself as the ‘largest farmers' market ever’ with over 500 small food and drink producers exhibiting, the first Real Food Festival (24-27 April, Earls Court 1) is a great opportunity to sample rare products. There'll be seminars and workshops taking place throughout the event, plus the chance to try the unusual likes of wagyu liver pate and Sicilian donkey sausage