Organising a squad night out can be a right pain in the arse especially if your short of ideas and you’ve already done the usual – social darts, go-karting, bowling, the lot.
But have you ever considered table shuffleboard? Thanks to London Shuffle Club in Shoreditch, this shuffleboard venue has just made a game of simple game a whole lot better with Crazy Eight, a brand-spanking new subterranean bar/lounge offering a competitive experience with fancy as cocktails and brilliant freshly-made handcrafted pizzas. Even vegans are well catered for. Just get a loads of this…
From the outside it may look grungy. But this is Shoreditch and this place plays the part of urban hipster hangout to a tee. This once industrial warehouse has been converted (course it was) into the perfect space to enjoy an authentic game of table shuffleboard.
The atmospheric basement that has been converted into a welcoming lounge with panelled walls, polished concrete floors and on trend neon lighting. And in case you were wondering where the name comes from, it’s derived from an old school variation of the game called Crazy Eight.
What is Shuffleboard I hear you ask? Well, it simply involves two teams of players sliding weighted pucks along super smooth tables with the aim of landing them in the scoring zone at the other end. Simple. There are of course different variations to spice up the game.
The 60 person capacity inimitably chic underground venue is available for private hire as well as walk-ins which makes this a high viable option for a group night out.
Table prices start at £10 per hour and are recommended for groups of 4 or more. Find out more at londonshuffle.com
You might be familiar with Mr Fogg, the Victorian explorer who circumnavigated the world in 180 days in a hot-air balloon. But did you know the well-known explorer now has an expanding drinking empire?
Forget the mulled-wine, ’tis the season for hot cocktails at Hotboozaplooza.
This year’s festival, organised by the rockstars at TimeOut London, showcased the finest tipple to warm your cockles this winter in partnership with Hendrick’s gin, Monkey Shoulder scotch whiskey, Glenfiddich whiskey and Reyka vodka.
This year’s ani-mulled wine festival took place in Night Tales in Hackney below Hackney’s railway arches.
My love for quirky cocktail bars knows no bounds and so not long after my trip to the vintage vibes of Cahoots, I soon (and by soon I mean the next day) found my intrepid self at Old Street favourite, Nightjar.
For those who know me, you’ll know I can’t quite stop banging about how incredible Greenwich is. The history, the market, the museums, the restaurants, the park – it’s everything you want all in one place. For me, it’s also the perfect excuse to hop on the DLR more often too and an escape from the sometimes overwhelming centre of London.
On this occasion, The Old Brewery relaunched and I was lucky to have been invited to see it for the first time.
Relaunched just in time for the summer months, The Old Brewery is a gastropub/bar/restaurant located within the walls of the Old Royal Naval College. Only moments away from Cutty Sark tube station and a stone throw away from Cutty Sark, the Old Brewery is just as beautiful as the building that surrounds it. I particularly like the decor which recalls Greenwich’s famous maritime past. It might just be me. I have a weird fascination with ships!
The food was excellent as you would expect from a Gastropub/restaurant using the best of seasonal British produce. I thoroughly enjoyed the mini-sliders but the fish & chips and mini roast beef and Yorkshire pudding weren’t bad either.
It’s more than just a gastropub, it’s a great place to hold events too especially with an outdoor terrace outside and an overhead performance area for live music. I was told that a wedding reception took place here just a week before my visit. Not a bad choice if you ask me!
Like I said, The Old Royal Naval College is beautiful itself and by the time you’re making your way back home, you walk past majestic buildings like these. Not a bad stroll.
Delicious food, great location, beautiful interiors and perfect for the summer months, I reckon I’ll be back pretty soon.
Oh London, you have no idea how good you have it. It seems like every week, heck, every day, that a new restaurant opens for foodie Londoners to get all wet about. It’s no surprise to see London right up there as one of the gastronomic capitals of the world.
Being fortunate as I am to be involved in the restaurant and bars biz in a journalist role, I am blessed with invitations to get a sneak preview of the latest restaurants on the scene. The excitement of discovering a new place before it opens to the public never wears off.
On this occasion, I was headed to The Bothy. I was particularly excited not just because it happens to be in one of my favourite location in London, West India Quay, but this new restaurant is the latest from the Drake & Morgan Group, owners of some of my favourite restaurant. I cannot lie, the free food and free-flowing alcohol was also a big plus! 🍾
The first thing I noticed was the stylish outdoor terrace at the front. It’s huge with its own bar which makes it a great al fresco space.
The food is inventive and locally sourced. Not hard given how close the venue is to London’s famous Billingsgate Market. On the menu, British classics such as the humble Scotch Eggs exist alongside other modern European dishes.
I’ve never tried Haggis before and never thought I ever would. But for some reason, I did here – and it was freakin delicious. Just try not think about what it really is!
Step inside and you’ll discover a low-ceiling but stylish venue spread over two floors. Housed within a former dock warehouse, I’m glad Drake & Morgan had preserved many of the features that remind me of the buildings past. I’m a sucker for these things. The basement is spacious with plenty of table and banquettes to sit.
As night descends, The Bothy takes on a party atmosphere with the DJ mixing up great some tunes, and The Bothy lighting up in the same pretty way as the rest of Canary Wharf.
West India Quay is already well known for its restaurants. Lately, I’ve noticed many changes and it’s getting better every time. The Bothy is a welcome addition, and if you’re nearby looking for somewhere to dine al-fresco or just after-work drinks then I’d recommend paying a visit to The Bothy, the latest from the Drake & Morgan group of restaurants.
If there was such a thing as The Institute of Good Times and Competitive Socialising, then Swingers would definitely be a miust-visit for all fun-loving Londoners. No, it’s not a strip club as the name might suggest. It’s actually a really fun crazy golf course!
Having seen images of it, I was very keen to channel my inner Rory McIlroy there and as luck has it, I received an invitation to take part in a Crazy Golf tournament.
Having hastily cobbled together an all-male team of 4 at the last minute, we met up outside a nondescript entrance beside the iconic London skyscraper, The Gherkin, with a sense of excitement and anticipation.
Not really knowing what to expect beyond the gold course, I felt the sensation of warping back through time as soon as I crossed the threshold and headed downstairs. The art decor and prohibition style posters reminded me of decadent days of the rip-roaring 1920’s. Swingers is definitely a classy place, so classy even the Great Gatsby would be impressed. It’s the opposite to the cool and edgy vibes of The Junkyard Golf Club in Shoreditch.
Having checked-in and taken up our place in the private area where we were treated to some incredible food and cocktails (more on that later), our first major challenge was to come up with a team name. After much head-scratching and deliberation, and being an all-male team (where were all the ladies at?!) we finally settled on a team name: 4 Guys, 1 Hole (sniggers). If we were to win anything, it would surely be for best team name of the night.
After much chit-chat and anticipation, game time was upon us and after being introduced to the rules of the game by our caddies, team 4 Guys, 1 Hole were off. We would have to guide our golf balls over a 9-hole course. I could see our spectacular performance in lights now.
However, no sooner had we started did our confidence begin to dip faster than United Airline’s customer ratings. The courses were pleasingly/fiendishly challenging. Yours truly started steadily. Unspectacular but so far have managed to avoid any mishaps. Things were looking promising.
We had to guide our ball through a medley of fiendishly tricky obstacles including loops, a lighthouse, ramps, bridges and, what I shall call, the sandpit of death’ (more on that later). It’s wacky, quirky and, most importantly, as fun as it sounds.
Some were so challenging it required a team discussion on the best way to navigate.
I was doing ok. I was optimistic that if our team did not win the championship, I would at least stand a chance of coming first and secure bragging rights. Then came the ‘sandpit of death’. Ah, the sandpit of death. We were told by our caddie that this was the hardest hole on the course. Pfff, yeah right! Hold my cocktail!
She was right, of course. The penultimate hole offered a tempting shortcut to the hole. You had to use the right level of power to hit your golf ball so it launches off the ramp, over the sandpit and safely onto the other side. Too little power and you’ll end up in the pit. Too much power and the ball could rebound off the backboard and back down into the sandpit or roll depressingly back downhill down the side back to where you started.
Up first, my good friend. What followed was unbridled joy and entrance into Swingers folklore as he manages a hole-in-one on the hardest hole! “Good job!” I congratulated, turning green with envy at this moment of genius.
Cursing inside at his incredible masterstroke, I stepped up to the tee. From then on, I’m afraid it all went downhill (lol) from there. My first shot went into the sandpit. Shit! Struggling to claw back some sense of repose, I tried again. Too much power. Damn Again, I tried. Back down the hill! I was throwing all my ‘hard-work’ down the drain (or sandpit in this case). By this point, the alarm bells in my head was ringing louder than a sinking ship and I’d lost my head.
The rules of the game permitted 6 strokes for each player on each hole. I didn’t make it 😭 I wanted to blame the course in some way. Maybe one blade of artificial grass was longer than the others? In reality, every course was so well constructed (good job Swingers), I had no excuse. Perhaps it was the cocktail? Yeah, was definitely the cocktail 😂
Despite my tragic end, I finished my rest of the course with the same sense of fun as the 8 holes that went before.
Convinced that I would probably end up last, I was surprised to learn that I remarkably held on to 3rd spot! Needless to say, we didn’t win the championship which only highlighted how badly we needed a female team member to show us boys how it was done.
Still buzzing from the huge amount of fun on the fairway, we checked out the rest of Swingers to discover that the venue is more than just a Crazy Golf venue. Spread over 2 floors, there’s an uber stylish bar on both floors, a buzzing dining area, a swish lounge area and plenty food stalls. Even if you’re not up for a round of golf, you’re still in for a good time here especially with the cocktails and food on offer.
Speaking of food, it’s stellar. Heard of Patty & Bun? Of course you have. These guys have been serving some of London’s foodgasmic burgers for a while. Pizza more your thing? Then let the folks a Pizza Pilgrim satisfy your cravings. The cocktails aren’t bad either with a selection of sweet, potent, refreshing and fruity options. Just look for yourself!
This might seem a little strange but one of the stars of this place are the caddies. They don’t just stand there, hold your clubs, bring your drinks and keep your score. Their enthusiasm, energy and character really help the fun along. They’re the kind of people who could make watching paint dry sound exciting. If you’re nice enough, they might even impart some very sound advice. Advice which I perhaps should have heeded!
Despite my tragic ending, Swingers was so much fun. Is there a better way to tee off the week? It’s going to be pretty hard to top this. You might come feeling pretty competitive, keen to impress with your golfing prowess but you’ll be having so much fun, you’ll quickly forget about keeping the scores. I strongly recommend it for any fun occasion with your mates.
Have you tried your hand at Swingers Crazy Golf? I’d love to hear your story and how you got on (and your team name!).