Whatever you want from a pop-up - rooftop pop-ups which are as vital to summer in London as sunscreen and an umbrella; long-loved pop-ups that are starting to put down roots (gasp!); pop-ups that combine food with frolics; secret pop-ups that Tintin would be hard pushed to find; Olympic pop-ups; pop-ups with views; pop-ups with props – we've handpicked some of the best pop-up restaurants in London this summer.
Back In 5 Minutes from the Disappearing Dining Club, Brick Lane (pictured above)
Long-running pop-up Disappearing Dining Club has decided to put down roots, producing a home restaurant downstairs in a Brick Lane clothing store. It's easy to miss, nothing outside Ante the Italian boutique suggests there's a dining haven inside bar the apron-wearing chap stood outside the inconspicuous door. After walking past rails of cloths, you descend down a small flight of stairs and into a darkly lit room filled with too many clocks and 80s furniture. Glass display cabinets, worn leather sofas, vinyl record players and mis-matched chairs, many of which are the kind of chairs you had at school, give you the feeling you could be in a friend's home having a dinner party. And that's how Disappearing Dining Club like it; every Wednesday at their Dinner Club guests share tables and food with others they don't know meaning by the end of the evening you have at least 5 new friend requests to make on Facebook.
Basecamp from The Book Club, Leonard Street car park, Shoreditch
Billed as an outdoor bar, restaurant and playground for adults, Basecamp will be open during the Olympics until the 12th August. An all-day and free entry affair, there's frozen cocktails and a paddling pool to cool down in after you've been competing in their ping pong tournaments or playing at their basketball hoop, or if playing sports is not your thing you could watch those with actual talent on the big screens as the Games are screened. Grub comes in the form of Street Kitchen who are on hand with their freshly prepares bistro menu by day and burgers by night.
A Great Olympian Feat from The Pale Blue Door, Hackney
The Pale Blue Door is something of a pop-up legend by artist and set designer Tony Hornecker whose ramshackle homemade rabbit hole residences pop up intermittently and have even visited Glastonbury and Buenos Aires. This summer The Pale Blue Door is back with A Great Olympian Feat and is, for the next few weeks, calling Hackney home. A Mad Hatter affair, you can expect the usual jumbled setting of endless weirdness, if past landscapes are to be an indication then a lot of dusty knick knacks, dolls, lamps, doors, bikes, plants in old boots, and toilets hidden in cupboards should be expected. The theatrics this time are based on the Olympics (of course) with seating from 8pm every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday until the 12th August.
Gingerline HQ, Top Secret location
More than just a pop-up restaurant, Gingerline is by a group of friends looking to combine secrecy, theatre, art and food to create a dining experience in different locations along the East London Line. Their mantra ‘loose lips sink ships' means you won't know where you're going until 60 minutes before you're booked to dine so you'd be wise to make sure you're more Shoreditch way than Shepherd's Bush. Gingerline HQ is running for 6 weeks from 7pm on Saturday 29th August.
Global Feast, Stratford
From 25th July until 13th August, Global Feast (held at Stratford's Old Town Hall) invites 80 guests to dine on four courses around its giant world sculpture over 20 nights during the Olympics, each evening trying a different world cuisine made by an array of Britain's top restaurant and supper club cooks. Each guest will dine in a different part of the unique sculptural space, sitting on its oceans, dining off its coastlines, illuminated by its cities and enshadowed by its mountains.
Jimmy's Olympic Supper Club at Annex East, Stratford
Another Olympic-themed pop-up supper club, from now until the middle of August, Jimmy Garcia of Southwest Supper Club is hosting an Olympic Supper Club at ANNEX EAST warehouse less than 100 meters from the Olympic site. A fine dining experience celebrating the best in British produce, nights include Dodgeball & Dinner, Sunday Brunch Sports Club Day, Wine Tasting & Pairing Menu nights, Special film screenings (including Cool Runnings, Blades of Glory & Chariots of Fire), Live Music & DJs, art exhibitions and gallery shows, custom designed cocktail bar and more.
Flat Iron pop-up upstairs at The Owl & Pussycat, Shoreditch
Another east London pop-up, the Flat Iron invades the upstairs quarters of The Owl & Pussycat for 6 weeks of steak and cocktails. The delectable sounding pairing promises to deliver remarkable steak with quirky cocktails.
Wahaca Southbank Experiment, Southbank
A longer running pop-up but a pop-up nonetheless showing that pop-ups aren't just for small, individual venues or rouge restaurateurs, the big boys can do it too. For the next 18 months Wahaca's Southbank Experiment will offer experimental monthly specials, the most popular of which will be added to the main menu in all Wahaca restaurants before it moves on to another location. The current Mexican pop-up is built from 8 recycled shipping containers to make a two-storey restaurant so it's not just dishes they've been experimenting with! There's also a tequila bar with views of the river Thames.
Propstore Pop-Up by the National Theatre, Southbank
Another Southbank-based pop-up, this time from the National Theatre whose diner is just outside its building with riverside tables. Made from old scenery and sets from its productions, props like a goose puppet from War Horse, vintage light fittings from She Stoops to Conquer, and the crocodile from Peter Pan make for a different street food dining experience. DJs and live music until 2am make Fridays and Saturdays that much more interesting. Just make sure you visit for 29th September!
Forza Win, Hackney
Having had to change venue location, suddenly sold out Forza Win now have tickets again and some added dates thanks to the new and larger space. And that's good news as this rooftop pizza supper club offers unique entertainment including some you'd expect like music and some more unusual such as beer and pizza matching. Three course rooftop pop up pizza and view delights open until the end of September.
Recent Pop-ups Articles
- 11 Super (And Sexy) Supper Clubs in London (03 Nov 13)
- London's Pop-Ups & Supper Clubs: What's The Secret? (23 Oct 13)