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Hg2... London Review 4 Favourite Venues Feb 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.


Notting Hill Arts Club


Notting Hill Arts Club, 21 Notting Hill Gate, W1

To say that the NHAC's line-up is eclectic is understatement akin to 'the Queen has savings'. All-encompassing might be more accurate, where 'arts' means anything from photography exhibitions to fanzine showcases to craft sessions to, yes, music. That's not to say that clubbers are required to come equipped with a crochet hook (that's provided) - music is its prime concern, and is yet more diverse - classical, country, flamenco, ska, gypsy, rock, and all in the least obvious take. Long-running nights include DJ Seb Chew's Yoyo every Thursday (no tickets on the door, sign up via the website) and Rough Trade's free showcase afternoons every Saturday. In fact the only things the NHAC doesn't do are open-mic nights ('we have standards', they say) or anything that is cliche?d or boring. With the emphasis on its cultural programme, the NHAC is a small, no-frills basement club that's mostly standing room only, and it can get hot and cramped. Organic bar snacks, champagne and 'fishbowl' sharing cocktails afford welcome comfort to a loyal crowd, all enlightened in the NHAC's philosophy that 'a world created by artists is better than a world created by politicians'. Pseuds welcome.



Dalston Superstore


Dalston Superstore, 117 Kingsland High Street, E8

It's a Scene - a Major Scene, arguably home to Britain's sceniest scene. The diamond in the rough of Dalston's dive bars (see Bars), this two-floored hotspot sees drag queens flirting with teddy boys, moustachioed dandies chewing toothpicks at the bar, and just about all the East End personalities being untouchably cool: DJ/artist Matthew Stone, DJ/fashion designers Pam Hogg and Gareth Pugh (yes, to be cool, you have to be able to DJ). Opened in summer 2009 by three of East London's hottest promoters - Dan Pope and Mikki Most of Trailer Trash and Dan Beaumont of Disco Bloodbath - this WiFi-enabled cafe?-by-day/club-by-night draws inspiration from the hip hoods of Mitte and Williamsburg. But its cement walls splashed with neon graffiti and monthly-changing local art will be all but obscured at their notoriously wild weekend parties (the nights to name-drop are Horsemeat Disco and Homo Electric). Predictably, it's very gay - it goes with the territory, but it's open to all. All, that is, that have 'it' - you either do or you don't, and the serious 'tude on the door is fascist in its discrimination. Tell them you're with the DJ.



Royal Albert Hall

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7

London has much to thank Queen Victoria and Prince Albert for, a lot of which can be found in 'Albertopolis' - a veritable village of epic national institutions (including the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Colleges of Art and Music) designed to bring arts and sciences to the people. Its symbolic heart is the Albert Hall, a love story in red brick built in Albert's memory after he died of typhoid in 1861. Victoria mourned his death till her own and apparently always drew the curtains of her carriage when driving past as she couldn't bear to look; at the opening ceremony in 1871 she was too emotional to speak, and the then Prince of Wales had to do the honours. For more heartache - and eyestrain - cross the road into Kensington Gardens to see the dazzlingly gaudy Albert Memorial, some 176ft of gilded Gothic revival. The Albert Hall - a 6,000 capacity rotunda - is vastly more tasteful and is affectionately known as the nation's village hall, thanks to a diverse programme including boxing, tennis and concerts; it's also famously home to the BBC Proms. It's even available for hire, so any secret ambitions of performing in the Albert Hall could be just a rather large cheque away.



Royal Academy Of Arts

The Royal Academy, Burlington House, W1

The Royal Academy of Arts is rather like an order of knights for the art world. Founded in 1768 by King George III, there's room around the proverbial table for 80 elected Academicians - sculptors, architects, printmakers and painters - who must be professionally active in Britain. Past Academicians include Sir Joshua Reynolds (its first president), Constable, Gainsborough and Turner; current members include Peter Blake, Norman Foster, David Hockney, Elizabeth Blackadder, Anish Kapoor, and, since 2007, Tracey Emin. Academicians' privileges include choosing its major loan exhibitions (recently featuring such art stars as John Singer Sargent, Van Gogh and Schiele), curating the famous Summer Exhibition (plus tickets to its society party), and of course hanging their own masterpieces ('Whoops - that's a whole wall taken out; no room for non-members. Oh well - our club'). And with the RA's architectural pedigree, the building itself is a work of art (and a welcome sanctuary, set back from Piccadilly) - built in 1668 for the Earl of Burlington, it's since been embellished by numerous Academicians including Sidney Smirke (who with his brother designed The British Museum) and Lord Foster, Knight of modern London.