Unless the Swiss Army knife-alikes and ‘Kiss the chef’ aprons in shop windows have failed to catch your eye, you probably know that Father’s Day is on its way (this year it’s Sunday June 18). But #notalldads are throwback alphas who want to spend their Sundays prodding barbecue meat and grumbling about blocked U-bends. Dads are people too, goddammit, with hopes and dreams and interests of their own. Instead of posting a mawkish tribute on social media this Sunday, why not spend some actual time with him? You could easily mark Father’s Day with one of London’s unusual things to do.
RECOMMENDED: Our full guide to celebrating Father’s Day in London
DON’T go for an average pub roast
DO share a wild African feast
Swap anaemic gravy and soggy spuds for West African suya spices and roasted plantain at Lerato Umah-Shaylor’s supper club at The Joker pub in Angel. Get to know the guests at your table over seven courses of sharing plates, all served to the beat of African drums, for £39. If your pop is veggie or vegan, fear not, you just need to let Lerato know in advance.
The Joker, 58 Penton St, N1 9PZ. £39 per person.
DON’T just sit in the garden
DO book ahead for Open Garden Squares Weekend
Secret gardens? Not anymore. At Open Garden Squares Weekend you can wander through 138 green spaces that are usually closed to the public, like those lush squares in the posh bits of the city normally reserved for residents. You can also enter ballots for guided tours of special locations such as the Kew Gardens Tropical Nursery. See the full list of participating gardens here. Maybe the grass really is greener on the other side.
Various locations. Find tickets for £13 at www.timeout.com/ogsw2017.
DON’T fire up a disposable barbecue
DO head for Jimmy Garcia’s rooftop barbie pop-up
Why wait hours for coals to go red-hot when you can visit Jimmy Garcia’s rooftop BBQ Club on the South Bank? Drop into the ‘Honesty Bar’ for a gin concoction or try and drink your dad under the table with a ten-pint keg of beer. The sample menu is a steep £45, but that does get you six stonking barbecue courses, finishing with melted s’mores under the stars by the Thames.
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd.
DON’T just have a kick about
DO challenge him to a rooftop games day at Roof East
Find new ways to argue the toss at Roof East’s Social Fun and Games Club, a space filled with batting cages, crazy golf and hip hop lawn bowls (no, we don’t know either). Then make peace over a chorizo hot dog at Jimmy’s Tapas Bar. And if your dad is a closet ABBA obsessive, you might not want to mention the Rooftop Rollers Roller Disco.
Roof East, Floors 7 and 8, Stratford Multistorey Car Park, E15 1XE. From £8 per person.
DON’T stay in watching Netflix
DO see new films at The Shortest Nights
Settle in for a short film festival inspired by the shortest day of the year. Help yourself to free popcorn to munch your way through 40 cutting-edge movies by emerging British directors at The Yard Theatre.
The Yard Theatre, 2a Queen’s Yard, E9 5EN. £30 day pass.
DON’T make him dinner
DO go for a steak and whisky tasting at Barbecoa
Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa will be celebrating Father’s Day with a steak and whisky pairing menu including a welcome cocktail, four food courses and a line-up of carefully selected drams.
Barbecoa, 20 New Change Passage, EC4M 9AG. £55 per person.
DON’T watch ‘Star Wars’ for the bajillionth time
DO go to the ‘Beam Me Back, Scotty’ exhibition at the Museum of Brands
Does your dad have a habit of slipping into Yoda-speak and harbour unusually strong feelings about ‘The Empire Strikes Back’? Then teleport him to the glistening era of space fiction at the Museum of Brands’ ‘Beam me Back, Scotty’. See how many times you can get him to say ‘I had that’ about the ‘Star Wars’ annuals, and take a nostalgia trip through the ‘Stingray’, ‘Thunderbirds’ and ‘Doctor Who’ merch.
Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising, 111-117 Lancaster Rd, W11 1QT. £9.
DON’T go for a greasy fry-up
DO go to the Bachn & Eggs Classical Brunch
You can score a half-decent brunch in pretty much every borough in the city these days, but how many plates of smashed avo on toast are accompanied by a string quartet? At Bachn & Eggs, nurse your hangover with a dose of Debussy and a mimosa in your hand to go with a Sunday feast beneath the old railway arches at The Underdog gallery. It’s free to get in (with a suggested donation of £8 for the performers), but you’ll have to fork out for your eggs benedict.
The Underdog, 6 Crucifix Lane, SE1 3JW. Free entry.
DON’T settle for a 99
DO taste a dozen ice cream flavours at the Gelato Festival
Eat your weight in creamy scoops at the London leg of this European competition, where 16 gelatieri face off with their flavours in the hope of being sent to Florence and crowned European Gelato Champion. Entry is free but you’ll need to buy a wristband to sample the contenders and cast your vote.
Old Spitalfields Market, 16 Horner Square, E1 6EW. Free entry, wristbands from £12.
DON’T stay in debating immigration
DO learn about it at the Museum of Immigration
Housed in a Grade II-listed building – a 1719 Huguenot silk merchant’s home – 19 Princelet Street is London’s ‘museum of conscience’. The building is only accessible to the public a few times a year, and the first two open days in 2017 (Sunday June 18 and June 25 at 2pm) mark The Great Get Together, in honour of Jo Cox and Refugee Week (June 19-25) .
Museum of Immigration & Diversity, 19 Princelet St, E1 6QH. Donations welcome.
DON’T make him a rubbish card
DO see some provocative art at the Grayson Perry show
Britain’s most colourful artist is pretty much inescapable. If he’s not on your radio talking about Brexit, he’s in your living room, trying to dismantle traditional masculinity on the telly. Perhaps that’s why his new solo show, ‘The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!’, wastes no time with false modesty. Whether you’re a fan of his pop culture tapestries and scribbly pottery or not, Perry’s art always starts a conversation.
Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA. Free.
Image: Animal Spirit, 2016. © Grayson Perry