Winter alfresco

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing,’ said someone, who might have been Billy Connelly and might have been Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Whoever it was, we applaud the sentiment. This year when the mercury drops, instead of diving for cover, we’ll be sipping hot cocktails under sheepskin rugs at one of London’s increasing number of alfresco spaces.

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Trust the Queen of Hoxton (tel: 020 7422 0958) to come up with something as cool as a winter wigwam, which sit on the bar’s rooftop terrace in Shoreditch until the end of March 2013. Hot toddies, buttered rum and a schwenkgrill (a big round barbecue) loaded with meaty delights will keep you warm. Get in soon if you want to book the 120-capacity wigwam for party season.

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Uptown in Knightsbridge, the vodka is flowing at the Freeze by elit Terrace (tel:  020 7823 1839) on Harvey Nicks’ fifth floor. Styled as an upmarket Alpine lodge, the Stolichnaya-sponsored bar majors in cockle-warming creations – we loved the Stoli Mary with jalapenos, fresh coriander and chilli salt – and tapas bites such as the Manuka-glazed sausage dog and hot vodka tiger prawns. Groups can book the eight-seater ‘cabin’, a cosy booth complete with LCD fire, or the terrace itself for 60.

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What could be more wintery than a classic film? At Hush (tel: 020 7659 1500) in Mayfair, a weekly line-up running to the end of February features favourites like Anchorman. There’s no charge – just book a table in the courtyard. Outdoor heaters and ponchos keep the chill off. Over at The Berkeley  (pictured above tel: 020 7201 1699), up to four guests can settle into the pine-filled forest cinema amid Moncler blankets, fluffy cushions and heaters. The package comes with home-made hot chocolate and Berkeley mince pies for £55 per head.

This was first published in November 2012