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Five city hacks that every Londoner should know

By Dan Frost
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Ever wondered how to nab a cab during a rainy rush hour? Secure a ticket to a sold-out show? Get served in a heaving bar? The pros give Dan Frost the tricks every Londoner needs to know.

HOW DO YOU GET A TICKET TO A SOLD-OUT THEATRE SHOW?

'A sold-out show is rarely sold out. Most theatres hold back a number of seats to sell on the day, which is why there have been queues through the night at the Barbican to see "Hamlet". The queues are always shorter on rainy days or at certain times of year - early September, early January and major Jewish holidays. Box offices often don't publicise day seats until after the previews have started, so go early in the run. Many theatres also keep a few seats back that they then sell at the box office just before the curtain goes up. Most people walk away once the day seats have gone, and don't try and get one of these seats.' Steve Rich, founder of Theatremonkey.com.

HOW DO YOU GET A TAXI IN THE RAIN AT RUSH HOUR?

'All drivers use pre-booking apps like Gett and Hailo these days, so one of those is a good way of making sure you get a cab when it's busy. If you're trying to get one on the street, position yourself near a busy intersection. It's not safe for us to stop by the intersection, so you're better off being 20 metres before or after the junction. If you're near the river, it can help to wait near one of the bridges; drivers will do journeys to south London then make their way back across the bridges to pick up new customers.' Jermaine Fagan, black-cab driver.

HOW DO I GET THE BEST ITEMS IN A SALE?

'During a sale, prices are reviewed and lowered every three days or so and will probably drop down to 70 percent off in a week. The most popular styles and sizes will, naturally, go quickest but you can shop the sale online which is hassle-free. I'd suggest window shopping and trying on sizes over Christmas, making a note of what you like, then ordering online on January 1.' A sales assistant at Selfridges.

WHERE’S THE BEST PLACE TO SIT AT A CLASSICAL CONCERT?

'I would never sit in the first few rows of the stalls. The seats there tend to get hit by the [sound of the] violins and other instruments at the front of the stage, whereas you get a nicer balance from the whole orchestra if you sit just a little further back. A more affordable second-best option is seats in the choir stalls: behind the orchestra, looking down on the musicians. The sound is quite different, but it's a very immersive experience and you get to watch the musicians really closely.' Nicholas Collon, conductor of Aurora Orchestra.

HOW DO YOU GET SERVED QUICKLY AT A PACKED BAR?

'It sounds simple, but good manners don't cost a penny, and that's usually what's missing if someone doesn't get served straight away. When you have someone muscling in, with two elbows on the bar, waving a note in your face, that's likely to put a lot of bartenders off. It also helps to know your order when a bartender comes to you - if it's busy and you don't, they'll probably go and serve someone else, and you'll end up a few places back in the queue. It's just about good manners and good communication. Decent bar etiquette, basically.' Olly Brading, co-owner of The Cocktail Trading Company.

For more insider tips, take a look at these sneaky tube shortcuts that only Londoners know. 

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