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Matt Breen

Matt Breen

Matt Breen is a copywriter at Time Out London. He gets the Central Line every day, which is why he is the way he is. Follow him at @MattBreen3.

Articles (36)

The best Airbnbs in London

The best Airbnbs in London

London. One of the most famous cities in the world, and we get to call it home. Isn't that just lovely? And of course, there's plenty to rave about. From some of the best restaurants in the country and some of the best things to do, London is the epicentre of fun. But, it ain't cheap, that's for sure.  If you're on a trip to London, it may be friendlier for your wallet to book an Airbnb. While there are a lot of hotels, ranging from different styles, tastes, and budgets, Airbnbs give you a more unique experience that is hopefully not going to cost you the earth. Whether you want to be on the doorstep of the West End's theatres and attractions, or in the buzzing hipsterland that is the East End, we’ve rounded up the best of the best Airbnbs in London for you to have a butcher’s at. These stays go from simple convenience to stunning locations, with opulent 16-guest penthouses and even historical houses.  RECOMMENDED: The best online shops for flower delivery in London RECOMMENDED: The best hotels in London RECOMMENDED: the best hotels with hot tubs in London This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The 9 best Airbnbs in Amsterdam

The 9 best Airbnbs in Amsterdam

We are confident enough to wager that "a fun-filled weekend in a swanky Amsterdam Airbnb" is one of the most popular bucket list items in all of tourism. Why wouldn’t it be? Amsterdam has long been one of the most popular cities on the planet for travellers, tourists, nomads and backpackers alike, a relatively quaint and cosy European city as famous for its debauchery as its culture. The two often mix, which certainly helps. The biggest city in the Netherlands is one of the biggest deals in tourism, make no mistake about it. It shouldn’t come as a great surprise to hear that the city is full of awe-inspiring Airbnb options, from romantic loft apartments to luxurious flats that just so happen to be floating on the city’s famous canals. Are you looking for the best Airbnbs in Amsterdam? Look no further. RECOMMENDED: The best hotels in Amsterdam This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The 8 best Airbnbs in Düsseldorf

The 8 best Airbnbs in Düsseldorf

It may be hidden away on the western fringes of Germany, but those who disregard Düsseldorf as a rural backwater do so at their own jeopardy. With innovative architecture, unbelievable attractions, awesome shops and (given its size) a delightfully vibrant art scene, the North Rhine-Westphalia capital is one of the country’s most charming destinations, with a wealth of things to do. (Oh, and like many German cities, its nightlife is an absolute revelation.) And if you’re looking for a place to stay, an Airbnb could well be your most affordable option. We’ve taken a look through the best Airbnbs in Düsseldorf – so take a peek and start making your travel plans. Recommended: The best things to do in Dusseldorf

The 8 best Airbnbs in Berlin

The 8 best Airbnbs in Berlin

Over the past decade, Berlin has become an increasingly attractive place to visit. Sure, this artsy city has long been a fascinating place to visit, but these days it's absolutely packed with fun things to do, from big-name attractions to the more indie-friendly venues. It's also, lest we forget, got some world-class restaurants and an infamous nightlife scene – all of which makes finding somewhere to get a bit of shut-eye all the more important, but don't even think about booking a hotel. We're here to tell you that Airbnb is the way to go, especially if you want to experience the capital like a local. With city apartments of all shapes and sizes available, the most tricky bit will be picking your perfect place. To help you get started, we've pulled together our top picks of Berlin's best Airbnbs. Bitte schön. RECOMMENDED: The best hotels in BerlinRECOMMENDED: The best things to do in Berlin This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The 21 best things to do in York

The 21 best things to do in York

York is a city that marries history with contemporary elegance like few others in the UK. One of the most beloved places for tourists to visit in the UK, as well as to live, there's a good reason people flock to York in huge numbers. A cultural hub since Roman times, this is something that continues through to modern-day life and there’s plenty here for the inquisitive visitor to get totally lost in. From the majestic York Minster cathedral to the surrounding streets of quirky tea shops, sumptuous restaurants, buzzing bars and a variety of museums. York’s got a delightful selection of stuff for any tourist, stretching from family-friendly activities to high-end fine dining. It’s also an incredibly digestible city. You can walk from one side of the city to the other in under half an hour – so it’s perfect for day trips or weekend breaks and means you can walk at a nice relaxed pace and take in the incredible architecture and cobbled streets. Below is our list of the finest York has to offer. Recommended: the best Airbnbs in YorkRecommended: the best hotels in York This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The 11 best walking tours in Paris

The 11 best walking tours in Paris

Landed in the City of Light for the first time? Don’t be intimidated. This place is big. Really big. And there’s so much going on it can be hard to know where to start. But luckily for you globe-trotters, we’re here to help out. If you’re an out-of-towner with next-to-no knowledge of Paris, we think booking a walking tour might be your best bet. Thanks to a guide who knows what they’re talking about – and, more importantly, where they’re going – you’ll have sussed out this city in no time. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your comfiest shoes and set out on a tour of one of the finest cities in the world. Here’s our pick of the best walking tours in Paris right now, from tip-top chocolatier trips to erotica-themed excursions (yes, really).  RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Paris This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The best Airbnbs in Madrid

The best Airbnbs in Madrid

Barcelona attracts the beach addicts, Seville brings in the honeymooners – but for a Spanish city with real cosmopolitan vibes, there’s nowhere quite like Madrid. With its all-night fiestas, pulsing bars, world-class museums and stylish stores, the capital makes for a great city-break destination. But where to stay? Take a look through our list of Airbnb properties – we’ve done the hard work, and rounded up the best of them for you.  This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here. Recommended: the best attractions in Madrid

9 same-day flower deliveries in London

9 same-day flower deliveries in London

Got some last-minute Christmas shopping to do? Or maybe a friend's anniversary coming up, a birthday, graduation, or even an engagement? Well, there is no better way to mark a special occasion than with flowers. And we know that sometimes life gets in the way, so if you've left things to the last minute – don't panic, there is still time to save the day. All these wonderful London-based florists do same-day delivery, so you can go to sleep knowing it's all taken care off and look like you had this under control the whole time. Now you can breathe... Recommended: the best online flower delivery in London This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

Best Paris river cruises

Best Paris river cruises

In a city full of magical things to see and do, few activities can be more enchanting than a trip along the Seine. To sail down the river in the City of Love is to dip under narrow bridges, pass tree-lined boulevards and spot iconic landmark after iconic landmark. The trips on offer don’t stop at the Seine either, and there are plenty of other canals and lakes to explore either as part of an organised tour or on your own steam. Ready to hit the water? Here’s our pick of Paris’s best river-based tours, trips and activities. Bon voyage! This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The 50 best Beatles songs

The 50 best Beatles songs

The Beatles parted ways way back in 1969, but the band never for a second left the pop-culture conversation, their legacy cemented by a catalogue of timeless hits and a neverending debate about which are the best Beatles songs. The Fab Four altered the very DNA of pop music. They introduced the mainstream to cheeky Britishisms, shaggy hair and psychedelia. They went from boy band to experimental musicians, fads to film stars. Now – 60 years past the British Invasion – Beatlemania is once again percolating thanks to Peter Jackson’s buzzy six-part Disney+ documentary, Get Back.  John, Paul, George and Ringo penned some of the greatest songs in modern music during their eight years together, but let’s be honest – not all Beatles tunes are equal. There are genuine masterpieces in their discography. There are also many, many songs about dessert foods, sea creatures and whatever popped into Paul’s brain during his afternoon doobie. Still, even the most basic Beatles number is worth a listen. Which makes ranking the 50 best Beatles songs particularly difficult. In polling the biggest Beatlemaniacs on our roster, we discovered, unsurprisingly, love for every era of Beatledom, from the gruffer Hamburg days to the Ravi Shankar era. As such, you’ll definitely find some favourites missing here (no songs about the sun made the cut, and poor Ringo got left out entirely). But you’ll also find the best of the world’s most influential band. Your preferences may vary, but these are undeniably

Paris wine tours

Paris wine tours

France is the world’s most famous producer of wine. It’s not hard to see why either, thanks to 17 different regions that produce everything from sparkling Champagne to deep, intense Burgundies. Today, France is still the leading exporter, but for those who aren’t connoisseurs, it can all be a tad intimidating. Luckily, vin-curious visitors to the capital can take their pick from our list of wine tours and tasting sessions in Paris, where expert guidance is on hand. We’ll drink to that! Recommended: The best cafes in Paris This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

Kids can go free to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard this summer

Kids can go free to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard this summer

We Londoners might be lucky enough to live in a buzzing city that’s full of things to do and see – but let’s be honest: every once in a while, it’s nice to escape on a daytrip out of town. This summer, why not head to Portsmouth? The Hampshire port town is just 90 minutes on the train from Waterloo, and is home to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard: a haven of attractions that explores Britain’s long and rich naval history. You can climb aboard the HMS Victory, the famous ship where Lord Nelson led the British to triumph over the Napoleon’s forces at the Battle of Trafalgar. There’s also the fearsome Victorian steam warship the HMS Warrior, while the National Museum of the Royal Navy, which will send you on a journey through centuries of naval history. There’s also the groundbreaking ‘Tattoo: British Art Revealed’ exhibition, which delves into the world of tattoo art. Best of all though? Until September 2, kids accompanied by an adult can go free to the Dockyard, saving you that extra bit of cash for fish and chips on the beach afterwards. With a summer programme that's packed with event and activities – from glitter tattoo workshops to the chance to sit inside a WASP helicopter – you’ll find plenty to keep the little ones entertained. Round up your sailors big and small, and hop on the train to Portsmouth! The Kids Go Free offer runs at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard until Sep 2. Buy tickets here. Terms and conditions apply.

Listings and reviews (165)

‘Bat Out of Hell – The Musical’ review

‘Bat Out of Hell – The Musical’ review

4 out of 5 stars

This review is from 2018. ‘Bat Out of Hell’ returns in 2023. Following on from its run at the Coliseum in 2017, ‘Bat Out of Hell: The Musical’ has transferred to the Dominion in a parade of dry ice, skin-tight leather, fire-belching motorbikes – and just a smattering of self-awareness.Really, it’s strange that a jukebox musical of the songs of Meat Loaf took as long as til 2017 to hit the stage. Jim Steinman’s songs drip with such mythos – youthful dreams, cars on highways, wild boys, lovelorn girls – that they half-seem destined for this daftly operatic tale of star-crossed lovers Raven (Christina Bennington) and Strat (Andrew Polec). She’s the daughter of tyrant Falco (Rob Fowler), who keeps her under lock-and-key in his penthouse-fortress; he’s the leader of a ‘Mad Max’-esque tribe of street mutants who cannot physically age beyond their late teens. Based on the amount of crotch-grabbing going on, their hormones have clearly gone nowhere.The show careens between rock ’n’ roll bangers – ‘All Revved Up With Nowhere To Go’; ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’ – and tinkly piano ballads: ‘I Will Do Anything For Love’; ‘Heaven Can Wait’. You swiftly realise that they all basically tell the same story: of brutish, untameable men who are perfectly happy ravishing their swooning beauties, while offering them little else. And this is the main charge to lay against ‘Bat Out of Hell’: it’s mired in such unreconstructed ideas of romance. That’s partly countered by giving such sentiment

Four Play

Four Play

3 out of 5 stars

'Four Play' is on at Above the Stag in January 2020, with a new cast. This review is from 2016. Pete and Rafe have a problem: they’ve been together for seven years, and all they know is each other. So to give their relationship a shot in the arm, they decide to find someone else they can sleep with – separately. It needs to be someone they trust, but don’t know too well. (Or as Rafe puts it: ‘Not someone we might bump into in Sainsbury’s or catch HIV from.’) So they enlist the services of up-for-it Michael (currently in an open relationship with Andrew).  Naturally, Pete and Rafe’s scheme awakens far more issues than it resolves. Andrew is at first detachedly amused by Michael’s arrangement – then his voicemails to his boyfriend become increasingly clingy. By this point, the sparks flying between Michael and Pete suggest something beyond no-strings experimentation. And as the play progresses to a toe-curling showdown over dinner, we realise that neither couple is as content as first might seem.  What emerges is a reflection on monogamy and commitment, and how they co-exist in the twenty-first century. It seems ironic that Jake Brunger was originally commissioned to write a ‘state of the nation gay play’, since these are themes that will resonate across all orientations. What’s harder is squaring the serious stuff against the nudge-wink naughtiness that characterises the rest of it (the title’s innuendo being a good indication). And an over-reliance on twee middle-class anxiet

Forest Bar + Kitchen

Forest Bar + Kitchen

4 out of 5 stars

Lisbon: that’s where this sharing-plates restaurant almost ended up. Its two managers, French natives Nico and Ali (the latter has run the wine shop next door with his wife for the past four years), considered starting a restaurant in the Portuguese capital – but in the end, they felt too settled in London to move. Let’s all be very, very grateful they stayed put. I’m always a bit suspicious of menus that list dishes in solemn sequences of comma-broken ingredients, but this spot does the casual-yet-discerning micro-dining thing to an absolute T. Nico’s food tasted like the results of a meticulous series of experiments. A bowl of radishes wasn’t exactly sautéed but coaxed into life in butter and garnished with bonito flakes. A caponata was spiked with puffed-up raisins. The shaved spring onions in a moules marinière gave the dish a fragrant crunch. A buttermilk ice cream had the slightest sour kick. The gorgeous food is perfectly suited to the small, cosy surrounds. There’s a big mess-style pine table in the centre, and countertops and stools run around its edges – a nice perch for a date. But perhaps the loveliest thing about this place is the passion of its owners, who so self-evidently love what they do. Ali even went so far as to name the artist who illustrated the label on a bottle of Greek red wine, then brought out a sack of bonito flakes imported from Japan. None of it was pretentious, none of it was for show. Just in case it needs spelling out: sorry, Lisbon. Your los

The Plague

The Plague

3 out of 5 stars

'The Plague' returns to Arcola Theatre in 2018. This review is from its 2017 premiere.‘[Insert name here]’s text has added significance in the world’s current climate…’ Given how much this phrase – or variants thereof – is being bandied around right now, you’d be half-forgiven for thinking that the only shitty things that have ever happened in the world were those Two Really Shitty Things that happened in 2016 (which, in case nobody told you, was A Really Shitty Year). It’s how the Arcola Theatre has framed Neil Bartlett’s adaptation of philosopher Albert Camus’s 1947 novel ‘The Plague’. Okay, it was written in the wake of a far-right authoritarianism that had devoured nearly all of Europe – but really, it is a far more timeless meditation on the meaningless of life, the indifference of death, and how humans react in times of catastrophe. Existentialism 101, basically. Still, an iffy bit of rationale doesn’t mean that Bartlett’s production isn’t any good: it is. In a confident move, his text dismantles its source material and refashions it as a procedural that hears the testimonies of a number of inhabitants of a French-Algerian town inexplicably struck by a contagion. As the death toll rises and the crisis unfolds, each of them reacts differently. Sara Powell keeps the heart of the play beating as the tersely compassionate (and gender-flipped) Dr Rieux; Joseph Alessi shines as Cottard, the eccentric who becomes a madman. The stripped-back production and Dinah Mullen’s soun

Gökyüzü Walthamstow

Gökyüzü Walthamstow

3 out of 5 stars

After opening branches in Chingford and Harringey, the Gokyüzü restaurant group has now set up shop in Walthamstow’s Mall shopping centre. It’s a noisy, hard-floored, two-level restaurant, decked out in latticed screens and the chain’s signature teal. You might describe the vibe as ‘Turkish Nando’s’. Turkish hospitality abides: bread and tarator is immediately served upon arrival, along with condiments of garlic yogurt and ‘ajvar’ sauce made with red bell peppers and oil. The menu plays it very straight: hot mezze, cold mezze, pide and a long list of grilled chicken and lamb dishes that you’ll need to play spot-the-difference with. (Vegetarians will be disappointed by the scant options on the menu.) But portions are generous, and will certainly set you up for the evening. A kunefe – a Palestinian dessert made of two pieces of honey-drenched wheat with soft cheese in the middle – was huge, and luscious. The staff were friendly, and a sense of fun hovers around the place – in no small part due to the fact that most diners were in their late teens, either in pashing couples or excitable groups. At 9pm, the lights were turned down , which brought a little buzz to what otherwise could be a rather sterile environment. There’s a branch arriving in Finchley soon: these guys are clearly doing something right.

‘Beirut’ review

‘Beirut’ review

3 out of 5 stars

Alan Browne’s one-hour play is set in a future America, whose population has been ravaged by an unnamed sexually-transmitted disease. Those with the infection have a ‘P’ for positive tattooed on their buttocks. Survivors have to wear burlap smocks so as not to offer temptation to others. State-operated cameras in homes monitor citizens to make sure they’re not at it. New York’s Lower East Side is now a quarantined zone known as ‘Beirut’, where Brooklynite kid Torch (Robert Rees), who’s tested positive, lives under surveillance. When his girlfriend Blue (Louisa Connoly-Burnham), who’s negative, breaks into his squat-like apartment, it’s clear that despite the law, and despite her own safety, she has one thing on her mind. The Aids allegory is patently clear; this was first performed in 1992, at the height of international hysteria (Browne himself lost his life to Aids-related complications). Though what’s noticeable is that, unlike many plays of the time, this doesn’t focus on the LGBT+ community – Torch and Blue are a straight couple – and is more a comment on the leaking of guilt and paranoia into erstwhile normal, romantic desires. A grubby, guilt-ridden sexuality (get set for a lot of furtive dry-humping) runs throughout Robin Lefevre’s revival; even all the Noo Yoik patter has an icky, bodily quality to it: (‘Suck it, nipplehead!’ ‘Man, life is a haemorrhoid.’) Lovers become dangerous sacks of contagions; love itself becomes a reckless exchange of saliva and excretables.

Wanstead Tap

Wanstead Tap

3 out of 5 stars

Under the arches of the Overground – and a two-minute walk from Wanstead Flats – is this little Forest Gate shop, café, bar and events space. The Wanstead Tap has a charmingly scrappy feel: beneath its corrugated roof lies salvaged furniture in clusters, AV equipment with pools of cables, and stacks of empty beer casks. There are shelves lined with books too, if you fancy burying your nose in something besides a pint glass. The Tap serves a rotating selection of beer – Bermondsey-based Fourpure on tap when we visited – with usual suspects like Beavertown and East London Brewing Company lined up in the fridges. But since there are more than 100 types to pick from, you ought to peruse; the chap behind the bar pointed me towards a sour by Thornbridge, a brewery in Derbyshire. The cider selection was broad too. And Yard Sale Pizza (which recently set up shop in nearby Leytonstone) delivers to the bar free of charge. Tucked away among rows of anonymous suburban housing, The Tap has a gentle, discerning vibe that feels aimed squarely at parents and property owners rather than younger craft beer aficionados. Its opening times are a little patchy (closed Monday to Wednesday and only open till late on Friday), but a regular programme of gigs and performances will keep a buzz going in this sweet, unassuming neighbourhood spot.

Yard Sale Pizza Leytonstone

Yard Sale Pizza Leytonstone

4 out of 5 stars

The arrival of this popular pizza mini-chain – or its kind – has been a long time coming in Leytonstone. The bedding-in of a few new pubs in the last couple of years has signalled the area’s (admittedly slow) metamorphosis into an up-and-coming part of east London. You could say E11 is like the food-business equivalent of a school disco: everybody has been waiting for someone else to make the first move. And it fell to Yard Sale, whose fourth location has just landed on Leytonstone High Road, five minutes’ walk from the station. It’s small. It has table service. And a chilled vibe. (They also deliver to all E11 and some E10 postcodes.) Their range of 12- and 18-inch pizzas, with requisite daft names like Cheesus Walks, are written across a blackboard covering one wall. The vegetarian I was with was pleased to find three meatless options to choose from, alongside vegan and gluten-free options, too. Our Falco (fragrant, fennely sausage) and Ooh Mama (guindilla chillies, Peppadew peppers) were fantastic – charred but not too charred, topped with restraint rather than stinginess. Yard Sale were never going to struggle here, not when their main competition is the oil-drenched pies the local kebab shops have been churning out for years. But they’ve exceeded expectations by becoming the nicest, coolest dining spot in the area by miles. Service was lovely: our waitress popped our leftovers into takeaway boxes without prompting. Seriously, even the view of Iceland through the window t

Singburi

Singburi

4 out of 5 stars

We all love being in on a secret, like those neighbourhood restaurants that look unassuming from the outside, but inside dish up city-class food. The thing is, secrets can be hard to keep – especially those that have had a couple of decades to spread. That’s why Singburi, a tiny family-run Thai café on a nondescript stretch of Leytonstone High Road, is constantly packed to the rafters with a discipleship of canny locals. The BYO policy is definitely central to its appeal. The shop-bought wine and beer that litters Singburi’s tabletops give the place a boozy buzz. Dishes are staunchly trad and served with little ceremony from the tiny kitchen. You’ll find many gems among its starters: fish cakes lifted by the clean taste of holy basil; fiery grilled pork ‘sai ua’ sausage that comes with a hideous-looking (but actually delicious) chunky sauce. Staples like pad thai and massaman are fantastic, but I suggest taking a look at the chalked-up specials board. A dish of squid practically melted into its tangy dressing; the sauce of a soft-shell crab curry, rich and silky like a South East Asian lobster bisque, had us lapping gracelessly from the bowl once we’d finished cracking and prising. But Singburi’s charm isn’t so much the food as its refusal to acknowledge its own excellence. Prices are fair; service matter-of-fact. The only problems, really, are its rampant popularity and what you might politely call the management’s laidback attitude to opening times. (It took three phone cal

‘The Biograph Girl’ review

‘The Biograph Girl’ review

3 out of 5 stars

For the first time since it premiered in the West End in 1980, David Heneker and Warner Brown’s ‘The Biograph Girl’ has been given a revival – although this saga of epic movies, big budgets and grand visions makes it an odd fit for the Finborough.The musical takes us on a 16-year journey through cinema’s fledgling years, from the days when movies were still disreputable things called ‘flickers’ that only out-of-work stage actors did, through the studios’ migration from New York to California and the boom of a big-bucks industry, and all the way to the troublesome advent of sound in the late 1920s. It’s all told through a series of jazzy, ragtime-influenced numbers and real-life characters including groundbreaking filmmaker DW Griffith (Jonathan Leinmuller), his muse Lillian Gish (Emily Langham) and proto-starlet Mary Pickford (Sophie Linder-Lee).Jenny Eastop’s production is a stripped-down affair, with the cast reduced to nine and the music courtesy of a single piano. It’s an inventive, if necessary move, and succeeds with intimate solos (‘One Of The Pioneers’) and duets (‘I Just Wanted To Make Him Laugh’) – but with the dance-led ensemble songs, this does burst at the seams of this above-the-pub theatre a bit.Then there’s the issue of Griffith, whose ‘Birth of A Nation’ committed images of Klansmen to celluloid and is remembered now as a bigoted yet brilliant masterpiece. The focus here is less on Griffith’s racism and more how his belief in cinema as a moralistic artform fl

The Birds

The Birds

4 out of 5 stars

Competition is never a bad thing, right? For years, Antic’s Red Lion enjoyed a cosy monopoly as basically the only self-respecting made-over pub within walking distance of Leytonstone tube station. Then, last year, there was a new contender for its crown. You could say that feathers were ruffled – except this newcomer’s name is more of a reference to local history. The moniker is actually a nod to E11’s most famous native, ‘The Birds’ director Alfred Hitchcock. In due tribute to Hitch, the ornithological theme in The Birds extends through the pub, from the birdcages that form part of the vintagey decor to the picnic-bench-filled ‘Aviary’ beer garden. There’s a constantly rotating selection of craft beers on tap, as marked out on a blackboard on the wall. Food-wise, we visited on a Sunday afternoon to try out the (glorious) roasts and there was a bit of confusion as to what we’d ordered. But when we told the cheerful staff, they promptly knocked one off the bill and brought us a round of free drinks as recompense. A savvy move: it’s stuff like this that will bring first-timers back in. And when we did come back for the second time – on a Saturday night – there were DJs on the decks and the tables had been pushed aside to make space for dancing. The place was packed, and remained so until chucking-out time at 1am. A great lazy daytime spot? Check. A party destination? Check. Your move, Red Lion, your move.

Bleecker

Bleecker

3 out of 5 stars

First came the truck. Two more locations followed: a Spitalfields kiosk, then a proper Victoria fast-food joint. Now comes the burger joint’s third permanent setup, this time in the Bloomberg Arcade: a hop, skip and jump from Mansion House station. Some folks gripe at the lack of subtlety in Bleecker’s burgers, every last mouthful hitting your palate in a freight train of fat, salt and grease. To my mind, that’s like watching ‘Love Island’ and bemoaning the lack of Shakespearean verse. Go elsewhere for sophistication. My bacon double cheeseburger was perfectly complimented with a side of ‘angry fries’ that, loaded with a blend of hot sauce and blue cheese, were – to use the culinary parlance – a pisshead’s dream. But this isn’t exactly a cosy destination: it’s harshly lit, and the scant seats are too cheek-by-jowl to make you want to settle down with your food. Really, this is a takeout spot best suited to a ravenous City crowd who could take their patties and milkshakes back to their desks, or get them delivered to the office when pulling a late one. Actually, this outpost of Bleecker makes me genuinely grateful I don’t work in the Square Mile: the regular temptation would be too much to bear.

News (95)

Here's a map of all the Banksys you can still spot around London

Here's a map of all the Banksys you can still spot around London

Click for the full-sized map He may be the world’s most famous street artist, but that doesn't mean murals by Banksy stick around for that long. He’s done plenty of spraying around London over the years, only for most of it to be painted over and lost forever. But, dotted here and there throughout the city, there are those that have survived – some in better shape than others. Here’s a list of what you should look out for on your urban art perambulations. Good condition Banksy Rat, Tooley Street, SE1 Just where Tooley Street meets the underpass beneath London Bridge is this little rat – one of many that Banksy has left around London over the years. They’re kind of like his minions, wreaking havoc across the city.   Bansky 🐀 !! I kept rubbing it and people were staring at me not knowing why the hell i was stoked about a rat in a tunnel under the London bridge. #banksy #banskylondon #londongraffiti #banksyrat #londonstreetart #streetart #londonbridge # A post shared by GunMetalFlowerPetal (@blairefcknaimee) on Dec 27, 2016 at 8:06am PST   ‘You Lose’ rat, Steelyard Passage, EC4 At the eastern end of this passage running beneath Cannon Street Rail is this guy, holding a sign saying ‘You Lose’. Who’s losing? The squares who’d like to see this removed! Loserrrrrrs.  ‘I Love Robbo’ rat, Chiswell St, EC1 This rodent on this City street is holding a sign saying ‘I Love Robbo’, a reference to King Robbo, another famous street artist. Hard to say if this is sincere or not: the t

A George Orwell classic is getting the immersive treatment next week

A George Orwell classic is getting the immersive treatment next week

      Photo: Robin Boot   Fans of George Orwell, take note! An immersive, live theatrical version of ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ is being read and staged next week. Orwell’s frequently grim and bleakly funny memoirs about his experiences of abject poverty in both cities will be brought to life at Stone Nest in Bloomsbury, as part of UCL’s Festival of Culture and it partnership with the Orwell Foundation. Director Hannah Price and producer Libby Brodie worked on last year’s live public reading of his dystopian masterpiece ‘1984’ (pictured above), and we’re incredibly excited to see what they will deliver here. Details are being kept under wraps right now, but we do know the production will combine performance, music, film, poetry and storytelling and will be live-streamed into libraries and venues across the UK. A roster of high-profile names are involved, including journalists Jon Snow, writer Bonnie Greer and actor Simon Callow. But most importantly, the purpose of the project is to highlight the present-day realities of homelessness, a problem getting worse, not better. The four poets commissioned to write in response to contemporary homelessness have done so by listening to the first-hand testimonies of rough sleepers and refugees. Orwell’s captivating book first opened the eyes of audiences 85 years ago. Today, they’re still just as relevant. Down and Out: LIVE runs at Stone Nest on Wed June 6 from 2pm to 6pm. No booking required. For more info about the Festival

The solution to all your romantic meal dilemmas lies HERE

The solution to all your romantic meal dilemmas lies HERE

Maybe you’re in the doghouse with your other half and have some serious making up to do. Maybe you went a bit swipe-happy on Tinder and you’ve found yourself promising dinner to a lot of different strangers. Maybe you just, y’know, want to shower someone you care for with affection. Either way, we’ve got your needs covered with Time Out’s Date Restaurants gift box – it’ll get you a discounted meal for two at not one, not two, but TEN of London’s top romantic restaurants. Don’t know the concept? Much like the facial expression of a person in love, it’s incredibly simple. We’ve spoken to ten of London’s best romantic restaurants – a list curated by our ever-reliable Food critics – and struck a pretty awesome deal. All you need to do is present the corresponding card at the end of the meal, and they’ll knock 50 percent off your food bill. That’s all there is to it. It’s basically a big box of foodie love. A love box, if you will, though we got told we couldn’t go with that name. Something to do with a festival in a park somewhere. All the box costs is £49.99 – you can buy ’em here – though be warned: we’ve only released 1,000 of them, and they’re flying off the proverbial shelves. Turns out astonishingly good-value meals at some of the capital’s cosiest restaurants (take a look at the list below) are incredibly popular. Who would have thought? The restaurants:  Petit Pois Bistro – A cute little French bistro in Hoxton Square. Casita Andina – A homely Soho townhouse from the fo

Skateboards, LSD and other rad stuff: the Design Museum’s ‘California’ exhibition

Skateboards, LSD and other rad stuff: the Design Museum’s ‘California’ exhibition

You might associate California with things like Hollywood, botox and hydroponic weed cultivation – but it also has a rich design history. The Design Museum’s ‘California: Designing Freedom’ show tracks six decades of innovative design in the Golden State. Here’s a sneak peek of what you should expect.  Apple cursor icon The big, friendly, pointy hand was the idea of graphic designer Susan Kare, who was also behind symbols like the trash can and smiling Mac icon. We take all this stuff for granted now, but ‘skeumorphic design’ – where computer functions are designed to resemble their real-life counterparts – was revolutionary at the time.  ‘Sketches for Graphical User Interface Icons’, Susan Kare, 1982.
 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. LSD blotter paper Any big surprise that LSD was first synthesised in the homeland of hippiedom and counterculture? The hallucinogen was also potentially responsible for the creation of other things on this list – many of Cali’s top design innovators swore that its mind-altering properties allowed them to see the world in new and radical ways. Far out, man!  California LSD blotter paper. Designer unknown, 1984
. Courtesy of Mark McCloud, San Francisco. Skateboards An innovation that came about when surfers wanted something to do when the Pacific’s waves were flat. In fact, in the early days, skateboarding was known as ‘sidewalk surfing’. Snapchat spectacles The Los Angeles-based social media platform’s smart-glasses first hit the market

Most Googled: can London be independent?

Most Googled: can London be independent?

People always go on about how the capital might as well be an entirely different country to the rest of the UK – but could it actually happen? Could London become an independent city-state, a kind of Vatican-on-Thames? We put this to Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills at City Hall, who sadly poured water on the idea. ‘Nobody is seriously talking about independence for London,’ he says. Boo! But campaigners for ‘Londependence’ can take comfort in the fact that the GLA is lobbying for more control over the city’s taxes and public services. Pointing out that London has a bigger population than the devolved Wales and Scotland combined, Pipe says that there are plans to give the capital more power over housing, criminal justice, health, skills and employment support. Which is all good, but don’t expect border checkpoints at the M25 any time soon. While we’re at it, why is London called the ’Big Smoke’?

Most Googled: how did London cope with the plague?

Most Googled: how did London cope with the plague?

Our city’s faced its share of challenges, but the plague was one of the toughest. Bouts of the disease broke out across Britain every few years from the 1300s to the 1600s. So how did Londoners survive? You’ve been Googling it, so we put this question to Meriel Jeater at the Museum of London. ‘During seventeenth-century outbreaks, searchers were employed to check whether sick people had the plague,’ she says. ‘Sick households were shut inside their homes; their door was marked with a cross and watchers stopped people escaping. Thousands of dogs and cats were killed as they were suspected of spreading the disease. Theatres and other public places were closed and bonfires were lit to try and purify the air.’ Not that any of this helped much: during the Great Plague of 1665, an estimated 100,000 people died in London – a fifth of the city’s population. Which kind of puts today’s chlamydia outbreak into perspective. You’ve also been Googling: what do Beefeaters actually do?

Four things to see at Soul of a Nation

Four things to see at Soul of a Nation

The 150 pieces in ‘Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power’ were made in the US between 1963 and 1983, a time marked by Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Black Power rallies and a constant struggle for change. It was a time when black artists sought to assert their own voices in an art world whose gatekeepers were white artists and gallerists. That still resonates, as movements like Black Lives Matter gain momentum and repoliticise artists and filmmakers. So this show feels like a timely reminder of a particularly febrile chapter of American art. Here are some of the most striking works in it. Elizabeth Catlett ‘Black Unity’, 1968 ELIZABETH CATLETT COPYRIGHT CATLETT MORA FAMILY TRUST/DACS, COURTESY OF THE CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, BENTONVILLE, ARKANSAS. Catlett’s organic forms have a lot in common with other modernist-era sculptors, but her work comes complete with a strong social message, as she portrays the African-American experience. One side of this mahogany piece is a raised fist – a symbol of defiance and solidarity that was adopted by the Black Power movement. The other side has two joined faces to represent the black community’s  spirit of togetherness. Barkley L Hendricks ‘Icon for My Man Superman (Superman Never Saved Any Black People – Bobby Seale)’, 1969 BARKLEY L. HENDRICKS COPYRIGHT THE ARTIST, COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND JACK SHAINMAN GALLERY     Hendricks belonged to the school of postmodern realism and painted sleek, life-size portrai

The Glam Clam are throwing one of their legendary parties this Friday

The Glam Clam are throwing one of their legendary parties this Friday

As the Pride festivities continue, one of the more raucous celebrations will be happening up in north London. The Glam Clam team are throwing one of their famous – or is that infamous? – parties at Islington venue the Dead Dolls House this Friday. And we just so happen to have nabbed a bunch of discounted tickets.  If the Glam Clam people are behind a night, you can be sure something outrageous is in store. Think drag-queen cabaret, lip-syncing that will put Channing Tatum to shame, and more pole-dancing than is probably appropriate in this day and age. All the while DJs will be spewing out ’80s and ’90s bangers until four in the bleedin’ morning. Time to get out your fanciest clothes and dancing shoes – the weekend starts on a debauched note. To book tickets for Glam Clam’s party, click here. For our ultimate guide to Pride, click here.

You can win a year’s supply of free fried chicken for £1

You can win a year’s supply of free fried chicken for £1

Forget bubble and squeak or jellied eels: if modern London has a signature dish, it’s surely fried chicken. And thanks to the Chick ‘n’ Sours team, the bus-stop staple has jumped in status of late. These guys serve up the deep-fried, crispy-skinned bird with a healthy – well, healthyish – twist, using Omega 3-rich rapeseed oil. They've just opened a new branch on Baker Street, too, and are hosting a game of Wheel of Fortune, which we just happen to be selling £1 tickets to. The prize? A year’s worth of free fried chicken. Plus a trip to Benidorm. And a whole heap of other goodies including burgers and shakes. Paying attention now?   On Wednesday July 12, and Saturday July 15, you can spin the Wheel and try your luck at bagging a year’s worth of the special stuff. All for a quid. Be warned, though, we anticipate this one to get busy fast. Obviously. FREE FRIED CHICKEN! BENIDORM! We’ll see you in the queue. Book tickets for the Chik‘n Wheel of Fortune here. Chik‘n, 134 Baker St, W1U 6SH.

Most Googled: why is West End theatre so expensive?

Most Googled: why is West End theatre so expensive?

Whether it’s rent or a pint of lager, the price of stuff in this city can make you wince – and theatre is no exception. But is the West End really all that pricy? We put this question to our very own Theatre editor, Andrzej Lukowski. ‘The bottom line is that it’s capitalism,’ he explains. ‘Commercial theatre producers have no obligation to keep prices down.’ And the usual rationale that theatres give for their top-end prices – that they combat ticket touts by charging tout prices in-house – sounds like, in Andrzej’s words, ‘spurious bollocks’. But wait! Our expert points out that while top prices are getting more expensive they’re still not as bad as in New York, where the average Broadway ticket costs $109. London’s low end has also got cheaper in recent years: ‘It’s rare to find a show where tickets don’t start at £20 or lower,’ according to Andrzej. And if you’ll excuse the plug, Time Out has some pretty great theatre ticket offers. So there’s plenty still to applaud. Get the West End for less spend via Time Out theatre tickets.

Most Googled: why is the tube so hot?

Most Googled: why is the tube so hot?

The arrival of summer is always a cause for celebration in London, but there is one downside: the Underground turns into a grim subterranean sauna of clammy brows, seeping armpits and more fainting than the average One Direction gig. But why is it so damn hot down there? We put this to London blogger and transport expert Ian Visits, and he threw this curveball our way: since it was built, the tube has in fact been getting hotter. ‘When they were dug, the deep-level tube tunnels were actually cold, and were advertised as the coolest way to commute,’ Ian explains. ‘But over the past 120 years, the London clay that the tunnels pass through has slowly absorbed the heat from the trains braking and accelerating. What was once the coolest place to be is now one of the hottest.’ Yep, you read that right: the tube itself is to blame for the soaring temperatures. But Ian is keen to add that, in TfL’s defence, lots of work has gone into upgrading the ventilation in the tunnels in the past decade. So hopefully the temperature won’t keep on getting hotter as more trains run faster and closer together during peak hours. Still, don’t even think about going underground this time of year without a bottle of water. And if you want to know which tube lines are the hottest, we made this handy map.

The Serpentine Pavilion has just opened – and it’s looking glorious

The Serpentine Pavilion has just opened – and it’s looking glorious

Hyde Park has been graced with the arrival of this year’s Serpentine Pavilion. And we must say it’s looking mighty fine this year. Ironically, while we’re all busy staggering around under the blazing sunshine and scorching temperatures, the architect, Francis Kéré, clearly had the more typical British summer in mind. The Pavilion’s 25m-diameter roof has been designed in a conical shape, so any rain will trickle down its timber spokes and then fall in a circular waterfall (which, let’s face it, will most certainly happen before long). Serpentine Pavilion 2017, designed by Francis Kéré. © Kéré Architecture, Photography © 2017 Iwan Baan     Kéré, who is the first African architect to be invited to design the Pavilion, took inspiration from a huge tree from his hometown in Burkina Faso, where the community gathers to hold meetings. Should you wish to gather there with some fellow culture-seekers, take a look at the events programme they’ve got lined up. The regular Park Nights will see artists, musicians, filmmakers and other creative types do stuff in the Pavilion. Each Wednesday there’ll a picnic-based talk, where you can get involved in debate and discussion over a cucumber sandwich. Oh, and here’s a picture of Jamie Foxx in front of the Pavilion, looking like a bit of a baller. We can’t promise he’ll be there the whole time though. Working It #serpentinepavilion #jamiefoxx #franciskéré #architecture #london #nailedit #werk A post shared by Two Poms (@two_poms_fran

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