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Hg2... London Review 4 Favourite Venues April 2011

Hg2 is an abbreviation for A Hedonist's Guide to... - a luxury city guide series coveted by travellers who value both style and substance when it comes to soaking up a city. Hg2 has teamed up with Run Riot to deliver monthly recommendations for things to do and see in London Town. Check out their website: http://www.hg2.com And, specially for Run Riot readers, you can get access to a free online guide courtesy of Hg2, click here: http://www.hg2.com/partners/run-riot Click here to read our interview with Fleur Britten, Editor of Hg2 London on her top tips on the changing ways of Hedonism in London - full of foody treats and lifestyle nods and winks.

 

JAZZ CLUB

Ronnie Scott's, 47 Frith Street, Soho, W1D 4HT

Such a national treasure is Ronnie Scott’s that two entire books have endeavoured to tell its story. The potted version is thus: it was opened in 1959 by one Ronnie Scott (plus fellow musicians Pete King and Leo Green) – Scott was largely credited with importing modern jazz to Britain and in 1981 was awarded the OBE for services to jazz. He died in 1996, and in 2005, King sold it to theatre impresariette Sally Greene, who brought in Hotel Costes’ designer Jacques Garcia for a £2 million facelift. Thankfully, however, when the lights are down, it looks exactly the same (think 1950s Soho – warm, dark, rich, red, and lined with black-and-white photos of all the musicians who have played here: Dizzy, Miles, Ella, etc). She’s also brought in a decent menu, and opened a members’ club upstairs (here, think unrestrained Hotel Costes – all luxe lounge bar). But when the old jazz cats are smoking up the smoothest tunes, there’s nowhere else to be but in the magic and romance of the main room; ideal for conversationally challenged dates. Booking advised.

http://www.ronniescotts.co.uk

 

GALLERY

Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA

Much of the Serpentine’s appeal is in its snack size compared with some of London’s cultural heavyweights. Indeed its setting – in a Grade II-listed tea pavilion (built in 1934 in the heart of Hyde Park for the park’s ‘poorer visitors’ because the authorities thought there might be trouble if left without refreshments) – is also a pleasing antidote to the pandemonium of planet London. However, since becoming a contemporary art gallery in 1970 (and now co-directed by Hans Ulrich Obrist, named in 2009 as the most influential figure in the art world, and Julia Peyton-Jones OBE), its provocative exhibitions – from the likes of Jeff Koons, Richard Hamilton and Cindy Sherman – have stood in pleasing counterpoint to the tranquillity of the park. Each year from July to September the gallery reclaims some parkland with its Pavilion – always an exciting, and temporary showcase for pioneering and internationally acclaimed architects (previously, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas) under which a café operates, and in July, the social calendar’s highlight, the Serpentine Summer Party. Park Nights runs throughout August showing open-air films, talks and ‘sound’ events in the Pavilion. Awfully refreshing indeed.

http://www.serpentinegallery.org

 

DINING / CLUBBING

Supperclub, 12 Acklam Road, W10 5QZ

‘No shoes on the bed’ is the only familiar note of convention as Supperclub throws out all the rules. The concept has been imported bed-by-bed into Notting Hill’s bender bastion (previously 12 Acklam Road, Neighbourhood and Subterranea) from Amsterdam, where, in 1992, a group of artists wanted to showcase their art in an old warehouse. Lacking furniture, they brought in their own mattresses, inventing a bed-based dining/clubbing craze that’s spread to LA, San Fran, Istanbul and Singapore. The look has been compared to a mental ward: two floors of white day-bed banquettes surround a dance floor, while UV lights, the odd Panton chair, and white everything give off a comfy space-pod vibe. With performance art as a backdrop, a four-course, party-friendly meal (£45 excl drinks, incl entry), such as carpaccio, gazpacho and sashimi, is served on bed-trays – though it’s not really about the food: the lounging-and-picking encourages some very un-British socialising. Then the food is cleared and the intercontinental house pumped up. The ice may get broken long before you do, though will you be ready for the tongue-in-cheek ‘light bondage’ encouraged at the monthly Whippet? A rather more gentle ‘Love Brunch’ is on monthly Saturday mornings.

http://www.supperclub.com

 

THEATRE

Shakespeare's Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 9DT

They say they don't make them like they used to, but here on the riverside, a group of thesps led by the late American actor Sam Wanamaker did just that. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, originally built at the end of the 16th Century, was authentically reconstructed in 1997 right down to the 12 million wooden pegs used to hold the playhouse together, and has the only thatched roof in London since the Great Fire in 1666 - needless to scythe original burnt down (daily tours and an exhibition tell the full story). Even if you despise olde-worlde theatre, the polygonal amphitheatre is incontestably spectacular , with it's elaborate jewel-box stage and repro Tudor exterior of oak beams and whitewash. The Auditorium comprises the pit for 700 'groundlings' and tiered benches for 900 (though the bard would have packed in a riotous 3,000). The programme is Shakespearean, plus some plays by his contemporaries, as it would have been in Elizabethan times, and those relating to the Tudor era. In fact the most dramatic change to the experience is you, the audience - the throwing of rotten eggs has sadly been consigned to history.

http://www.shakespearesglobe.com