Weekends are for fun. Weekends are for friends. Weekends are for fitting in as many activities as you can possibly cram in over such a brief – but enjoyable – period of time. Our favourite way to spend our days off is, of course, by eating great food and drinking great drinks. Living in a city like London, you'll never be lacking for a range of ace and tasty events running over the weekend. But choosing which ones are worth your precious presence (and, moreover, worth the Google Calendar invite) is a bit more difficult.
After all, there's nothing worse than spending your Saturday and Sunday at an event with limp burgers and weak cocktails. To help you make the most of your time off work and away from your glass office, we've created this handy little weekend round-up of the best food and drink events going on across the city. Anything you think we missed out? Well, feel free to be in touch with the events that you think we should be covering next week!
From gin festivals to half-price Indian food, here are the events that you should be pencilling into your calendar and putting on your radar this weekend.
16 things to do in London this weekend
1. Chomp on free pizza at Radio Alice's new Canary Wharf premises
10 July; Unit 24, Jubilee Place, Canary Wharf, E14 5NY
Flour-mad brothers Matteo and Salvatore Aloe are opening a new Radio Alice pizza place in Canary Wharf at Jubilee Place. The premises is their third pizzeria in London and fourteenth across the UK and Italy. To celebrate this big occasion, the duo will be giving away 3000 slices of pizza on the evening of 10 July at the new premises that you can chomp while enjoying a pint of Radio Alice's own brewed beer from Beer 52 or a glass of natural wine. Even if you miss out on the freebies, it's worth a visit to grab an excellent pizza this weekend.
2. Soak up the sun with Brew Summertime x Craft Beer Rising
10-11 July; Hyde Park, W2 2UH
Taking place from 10-11 July at Hyde Park, Brew Summertime is a collaboration between the UK's biggest craft ale festival Craft Beer Rising and British Summer Time festival. You know that meme with those two muscled men clasping hands? It's like that. But with beer. As the UK's largest outdoor craft beer festival – in arguably one of the best city parks in the world, – you can expect some great food to go along with the bevs, too. Street food favourites such as Claw, Flank, Island Poke and Ballroom Meatballs will keep you fuelled while the likes of Joey Negro and Joe Goddard of Hot Chip lead the DJ lineup. Over 30 breweries (including Mad Squirrel, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Orchard Pig and Brick Brewery) will be pouring beer. Obvs.
3. Check out the spanking new The Standard
11 July onwards; 10 Argyle Street, WC1H 8EG
The Standard hotel is launching at King's Cross on 11 July, and the good news for you is that you don't even need to book a room to get a taste of what it's all about. Literally. Because along with this brand-new hotel comes two equally brand-new restaurants destined to please you nicely. Double Standard – a ground floor, NYC dive bar-inspired pub will be serving food from executive chef Adam Rawson and plenty of cocktails. Double Standard will also have company in the form of Isla. Now, Isla's a bit more of a laid-back kind of lass, offering a seasonal menu with a predominantly minimal intervention wine list. It's the sort of restaurant that seems far too cool and intimidating for you to approach at the bar but actually turns out to be super down-to-earth once you get to know it, all gently spilling itself out into The Standard's lovely garden terrace.
4. Dance all day at Lovebox Festival
12-13 July; Gunnersbury Park, W3 8LQ
Yes, Lovebox is primarily an event where you'll be doing practically everything but eating. But don't let that make you think for a moment that there's not some great grub there as well. Expect big hitters like Patty & Bun, Tiger Bites, Only Jerkin', Yorkshire Burrito, and many, many more. Chowing down on a burger in the sun while Action Bronson takes the stage? It's what he'd want from you.
5. Eat your way through the Turning Tides Festival
12-14 July; Greenwich Peninsula, SE100SQ
Taking place across two weekends of July, Turning Tides Festival is a free-to-attend festival in honour of the launch of Greenwich Peninsula’s The Tide. Created by design duo Studio Morison, a 27-metre picnic table called the 'Seafood Disco' will be adorned with a series of feasts prepared by guest chefs throughout both weekends. Berber Q will be presenting a barbecue with a Mediterranean menu; Stevie Parle is bringing his acclaimed fresh pasta restaurant, Pastaio, to the riverside; Disappearing Dining Club are supplying British picnic fare; and chef Matt Williamson will be doing his bit by supplying oysters, whole sides of trout and smoked eel. Sounds like it will go just swimmingly.
6. Discover Japan at Hyper Japan Festival
12-14 July; Hammersmith Road, W14 8UX
This two day event at Olympia London is a great way to properly immerse yourself in Japanese culture. And one of the best ways we've found to do that cultural exploration is via our stomachs. Which is good news considering this festival will be stocked with tasty food and exciting food demos. The festival's food and drink area will all be gathered under one umbrella called the "EAT-JAPAN Show", located in the Olympia West on the upper level. Not only that but 27 different sakes from nine sake breweries (located across all over Japan) will be ripe and ready for your drinking.
7. Get arty at the Contemplate exhibition
Until 14 July; 32A Gerrard Street, W1D 6JA
Fancy something foody and arty this weekend? Contemplate, a free art exhibition exploring dual identity through food, is just the thing you've been looking for. Commissioned with young photographer, Marcella Chan, the exhibition will be running from 9-14 July at China Exchange in Chinatown London. Raised by Chinese parents in rural Somerset, Chan explores her East Asian and British identity through mismatched ingredients and kitchen utensils from both East and West, producing colourful displays of food combinations that aren't quite what they seem. If you end up feeling culinarily inspired and want to try something new in the kitchen, free recipe cards featuring some of Chinatown London's top restaurant like JinLi, Golden Phoenix and Baiwei will also be available at the exhibition.
8. Have a stroll around River Walk Market
13 July; Circus Road West, SW11 8AH
This snazzy new independent market situated by the iconic Power Station on the south bank of the River Thames is ideal for anyone who feels like hitting up South London this weekend. Focussing on high-quality independent makers, local producers, sellers and artisan food producers, River Walk Market's edible line-up is one your tum won't want to miss. With purveyors such as Popina, The Flour Station, Casa Cannoli, Bayou, and Tongue n' Cheek all in attendance, you certainly won't struggle to find a good feed. Thirsty? Well, the Battersea Brewery will sort that out sharpish.
9. Drink some Beer by the River
13 July; Ram Quarter, SW18 1TH
Beer by the River 2019 is a beer, food and music festival run by the Ram Quarter and Sambrook's Brewery in the heart of Wandsworth. So expect beer, and lots of it. Food, too. And lots of that as well, to be honest. Indian-spiced burgers from Burger Singh UK; wurst from Herman Ze German; cheesesteaks from Passyunk Avenue; top Indian eats from Chit Chaat Chai; wood-fired pizzas from Ò Vesú Van; and neat flat whites from KUKA Coffee round-off an all-star cast of eating options. If that doesn't sound ideal to you, you're beyond hope.
10. Taste what the Five Points London Brewers Market is about
13 July; Coal Drops Yard, N1C 4DQ
The Five Points' London Brewers Market is back for summer 2019, and is throwing a beer and music spectacular at Coal Drops Yard to celebrate the arrival of the sun. Alongside festival organisers, Hackney's The Five Points Brewing Company, the London Brewers' Market will host 11 of London's finest independent craft breweries including Howling Hops, Two Tribes, Mondo Brewing, Redemption Brewing Company, and more. No, really. Loads more. There'll be around 80 stalls of incredible beer, great music, and delicious food in total.
11. Turn your day into a night at the East London Nightlife summer terrace party
13 July; 17-19 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3EJ
East London Nightlife is taking over Dinerama for an afternoon of dancing and street food feasting under the sun. With cocktails, beers and shots galore, you won't struggle to have a good time and experience some proper summer vibes at this takeover. If you really start to feel it – and you're not too full of tasty food to boogie – you can always head to the XOYO after-party to see off the rest of the weekend in style.
12. See the best East London has to offer at the Walthamstow Garden Party
13-14 July; Forest Road, E17 4PP
Spend your weekend in Walthamstow to get stuck into some prime eating, drinking and vibes. Presented by the Barbican, Create London, Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture and the lovely local residents, it's a free two day global festival celebrating and powered by the incredible creativity of Waltham Forest. Do-gooders like the Appetite Food Market will be providing green food offerings with a wide range of vegetarian and vegan lunch options and gluten free cakes while drinks from Wild Card Brewery can let you get just that little bit loose. It's a really feel-good sort of event. Hence why the Stories & Supper is returning to the fest with some inspiring migration stories from Ghana, Sierra Leone, Iran, Biafra, Sri Lanka and beyond. They'll also be selling amazing Hyderabadi street food before the stories begin – the best meal deal you'll find all day.
13. Channel your inner Judd Nelson at Pachamama's Brunch Club
73 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3HR
Kicking off on 14 July and running all the way until early September, Pachamama's latest Sunday brunch series promises to be a great weekend option for those with Simple Minds and empty stomachs. And don't you forget about it! (sorry) Executive chef John Javier will be joined behind the pass every other Sunday by some of London's brightest and tightest chefs to collab on a hot brunch menu of Pachamama favourites alongside one-off brunch specials from each guest chef. This week sees Matthew Scott – formerly of Hill and Szrok – working on a range of dishes that'll riff on Southern American flavours with French, Mexican and English influences. What does that mean for you? Nashville fried quail with waffle, my friend. 'nuff said.
14. Get free croissants from PAUL during Bastille Day
14 July; various locations
Is there anything more French than a croissant? Non. So, what better way to celebrate the national day of France could there be than doing it with a free freshly-baked croissant from family-run artisan bakery PAUL? In order to bag yourself this perfect Parisian pastry, all you've got to do is keep your peepers on PAUL's Instagram account for a secret password then head to one of the 37 stores located across London.
15. Celebrate Bastille Day at Orrery
14 July; 55 Marylebone High Street, W1U 5RB
Orrery are commemorating Bastille Day on 14 July with some très French lunch and dinner menus. By which we, of course, mean it's hosting a champagne reception followed by a one-off, four-course menu of French classics. Salmon gravlax, boeuf en croute, a selection of farmhouse cheeses? Mais oui.
16. Have a cocktail-heavy Bastille Day at Cahoots
14 July; 13 Kingly Court, W1B 5PW
Head to popular cocktail bar, Cahoots, for a Bastille Day you won't forget (or at least one you might forget, but won't regret) as they host an Underground Soirée to celebrate the 230th Bastille Day. With the help of their friends at Grey Goose, St-Germain and Wright Brothers, Cahoots have plotted a lethal combination of French-inspired cocktails, cuisine and live entertainment. Cocktails like 'Before The Bees' (Grey Goose L'original vodka, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, honey, rose preserve, sparkling wine, topped with Fentiman's tangy yuzu tonic) and 'Rene's Bit On The Side' (Grey Goose L'original vodka, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, basil and lemon sherbet, Numquam herbal amaro and lime juice) will ensure you're well quenched. Oh, and there's complimentary oysters.
17. Fill your boots with Bastille beef at Brasserie Blanc
14 July; various locations
From a rich boeuf burger'gnon (see what they did there?) to tri-colour marshmallows, Raymond Blanc's Brasserie Blanc had pulled out all the stops this year to celebrate Bastille Day. The boeuf burger'gnon consists of a tender beef burger, onion rings, crispy bacon, tomato and a rich red wine bourguignon sauce. Well, do you really need to know anything else? It's pure French decadence in a bun for goodness sake. Plus, anyone who eats at Brasserie Blanc on actual Bastille Day wearing red, white and bleu will get half off their burger and fries. Très bien!