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Ever popular Mexican Tequila bar Green & Red launches a new basement venue this week, with a party on Thursday which you can sign up for on their website. It's a 200-capacity space (320 if you include the existing upstairs restaurant) called Chamucos (tel: 020 7749 9670) with a late licence, loungey leather seating and funky decor.
S Bar in Battersea Bridge Road has now become The Brunel (tel: 020 7223 3322), so-called as Brunel once had a factory over the road. The bar is dark, moody, sexy and beautifully designed, a theme which follows through to the upstairs 200-capacity events space, Kingdom. Designed to look like a New York loft apartment, hire is free and the room has its own bar, complete with late licence. There is also a Conservatory holding 50.
Swanky private members' club Home House (tel: 020 7670 2000) has bought up the building next door and opened it as Home House at 21 Portman Square. Hire the very sexy House Bar & Lounge designed by architect du jour Zaha Hadid, with a 60-person capacity, stocked with fabulous cocktails & vintage Champagnes. There are five further private hire spaces, all equally stylish. The space also boasts two bedrooms, which can be opened up and turned into a two-bedroom apartment, plus a state-of-the-art gym and spa.
Europe's leading magic company has a new name and identity. Dynamic FX has become Magicians.co.uk, to better reflect the nature of the company's core business. An approved supplier at The Magic Circle Headquarters, it has been delivering magical entertainment and services for nearly 20 years, and in 2007 was voted one of the UK's top 20 entertainment companies.
The UK's first 'LA-style dive bar' has opened in Islington's bar-packed Upper Street. Slim Jim's Liquor Store (tel: 020 7354 4363) has a lived-in, retro feel, with bare-brick walls, 50s-style stools and diner booths. Private hire for up to 40 can be accommodated any night of the week, or exclusive hire can be arranged on Monday nights. Fine whiskies and rums complement a musical backdrop of guitar-based rock and roll.
We're glad to see conference venues getting greener and more charitable: the latest is One Queen Anne's Gate (tel: 020 7344 1884), who are suggesting that for every bottle of chilled tap water clients consume during an event, they make a voluntary donation to the Tap into WaterAid programme. All donations fund life-saving water, sanitation and hygiene education projects in the developing world.
This week sees the opening of All Star Lanes, Brick Lane, the third in London for the company & the largest yet, with a private room holding 120 and boasting three bowling lanes (Holborn and Bayswater each have two). Set on a mezzanine floor above the main bowling hall, the room has a luxurious American 80s penthouse feel, with its own cocktail bar and kitchen station in the room, so canapés or private dining for smaller groups can be accommodated. For larger groups, the main bowling hall is also available for exclusive hire.
A new bar and sake lounge opens at Japanese Soho favourite Bincho Yakitori (tel: 020 7803 0858) this week. A slinky lounge space holds up to 40 for private hire and there's an extensive list of sake and shochu, not to mention Japanese cocktails and an extended wine list, all overseen by renowned 'master of Sake' Shige Seo.
Dependably stylish City and Docklands bar chain, Corney & Barrow, has opened two new bars. New Street Square, located on the western-most fringes of the City near Holborn, encompasses fine dining in a 14-seater private room plus exclusive weekend hire for 200; while Lime Street, near Bank (and the first Corney & Barrow to serve cask ale from the Cotswold’s Hook Norton Brewery), has private dining for 12, an 80-capacity lounge bar available for weekday hire and exclusive weekend hire for up to 350.
Owned by Nick Valentine (Cuckoo Club owner) and with a membership committee numbering the likes of Tracy Emin and Alice Temperley, Molton House (tel: 020 7493 1688), opening this week, means business. The five-storey Georgian townhouse in South Molton Street has a 120-capacity for private events, with the cocktail bar holding a further 45, and there are private booths dotted throughout.
With a 30-seater private dining room and a delightful chef's table seating 10, newly opened Corrigan's Mayfair (tel: 020 7499 9943) is bound to be popular with private diners looking for a fabulous fine-dining option in the West End. The chef's table (aka The Club Room) has a glass partition with the kitchen, offering fascinating views of the chefs and the pass.
Restaurant with a view Babylon has just reopened with a glamorous new look. Inspired by the building's history (iconic fashion brand Biba was based here in the Seventies), the interior has been brightened and lightened, with flock wallpaper, green leather chairs and colourful artwork. The private dining room, seating 12, has also been refurbished with cream wallpaper, softly lit by chandeliers.
Bringing new meaning to the term liquid lunch, the bar at Skylon has introduced a three-course cocktail ‘menu’, with drinks served alongside matching canapés. Our favourite is the ‘starter’, which sees a lingonberry Champagne cocktail matched to venison carpaccio with beetroot and hazelnuts. This is followed by a rosemary and lychee martini ‘main’ with hot-smoked salmon, plus a spiced bourbon cocktail with chunks of nougat for ‘dessert’. The three courses cost £35.
We've put together a round-up of seasonal skating rinks, all of which are now open and available for private hire. The Natural History Museum has particularly appealing corporate packages, including hire of a private area in the Cafe Bar for two hours of post-skating Pimm's Winter Cup drinking!
Cheer yourself up post New Year slump by heading down to the O2 arena, where an artificial twin 45m ski slope (The Kiss 100 Slopes) is in situ until 25 January. Aside from skiing and snowboarding, you can try out snow tubes (inflatable sledges). Book the slopes exclusively for 35 people: one slope is £800 and includes two instructors and ski hire; both slopes is £1400. To book, contact Nicola Lucas on 020 8463 2125 or email [email protected]
Doubletree launched their first UK hotel in Cambridge earlier this year, Aberdeen soon followed and now the third opening is in London, rebranding the Courthouse Hotel as the Courthouse Doubletree by Hilton - Regent Street (tel: 020 7297 5555). Event facilities include the delightful rooftop terrace for cocktail receptions and one of the biggest private cinemas in London, seating 94.
The curiously named Bob Bob Ricard (tel: 020 3145 1000), all-day English-style brasserie, has opened in Soho this week, on the former site of Circus. With a striking design by David Collins, inspired by first-class Edwardian train travel, the sexy private dining room (The Owner's Salon), seating up to 16, is open until 3am, as is the downstairs basement bar.
Yesterday saw the unveiling of a new rugby trophy honouring the late Sir Edmund Hillary and his contribution to New Zealand and Great Britain. Thomas Lyte Silver was commissioned by the RFU to create the shield, which will be contested for the first time tomorrow at the Investec Challenge Test match, when the All Blacks take on England at Twickenham. Created from 9kg of Sterling Silver, it will be presented to the winning team by Sir Edmund Hillary's widow, Lady Hillary.