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.
14 things to do in London this weekend
1. Get your first drink free at Fugitive Motel
7 June; 199 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 0EL
Fugitive Motel – a kitsch 50s-60s West Coast style bar and kitchen – is officially opening its doors to Bethnal Green’s punters on 7 June. To celebrate its debut, the throwback joint is offering everyone who visits from 5-9pm that day their first drink on the house. Open from early until late, with coffee from local roaster partners Climpson & Sons at their all-day café and co-working space, the Fugitive Motel is somewhere you'll feel comfortable hanging out at any time of the day. Come evening the space rolls into a great night spot with drinks at the bar, including a stellar line up of craft beers on draft, kombucha on tap, and sourdough pizzas in the pizza lounge. Is it named after an Elbow song? Quite possibly. Does it sound like great fun anyway? Most absolutely.
2. Watch a rice dumpling speed eating competition
7 June; 399 Edgware Road, NW9 0FH
Rice dumpling lovers will be put to the ultimate test with this rice dumpling speed eating competition happening on Friday 7 June at Bang Bang Oriental. Starting at 7pm, the competition will mark the beginning of this year's Dragon Boat Festival in China, where many indulge in the consumption of tasty rice dumplings – or Zongzi as they are known in China. Participants will be competing for three top prizes on the day. First place will be awarded with a £88 Voucher for Cruise Holiday Package bookings from Cruise Vista and what we can only assume will be a trip to the toilet for the annals. If you haven't already signed up to take part in the competition, but still want to enjoy some tasty rice dumplings, you can head over to Royal China One 68 Dim Sum where you can enjoy Hong Kong-style sticky rice dumplings for only £8.80 until 10 June.
3. Celebrate National Fish and Chip Day with free 'Vin & Tonic' cocktails
7 June; Various locations
You've all had a gin and tonic before, so how about trying out a vin and tonic? Sarson's Vinegar have partnered with fried fish purveyors Poppies ahead of National Fish and Chip Day to create a 'Vin & Tonic' cocktail – a quirky twist on the G&T that is supposed to pair perfectly with a portion of fish and chips. To celebrate the great day of spud and skate, Poppies are giving away the first 100 of these cocktails for free. The cocktail is available from either of Poppies' Soho and Spitalfields London locations throughout the day, so be quick to make sure you don't miss out.
4. Drink free Negronis at Al Dente
7 June; 51 Goodge Street, W1T 1TG
To celebrate Negroni's 100th birthday this June, pasta barons Al Dente are launching a brand new aperitivo hour on 7 June and offering 50 free negronis to their first 50 guests. Don't be too miffed if you miss out on the free drink, however. The aperitivo hour is pretty decent value for money, offering two negronis or Aperol Spritzes for £10 which you can then pair with aperitivi classics such as bruschetta, different Italian hams and focaccia with Sicilian olive oil. Happy birthday indeed.
5. Sample local produce at Hampshire Food Fare
7-8 June; 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL
The rich food heritage of Hampshire is being given the spotlight at Borough Market's Market Hall for a weekend dedicated to showcasing some of the country's finest food producers. That includes sparkling wine from Black Chalk and Raimes Sparkling; cheese from Beau Farm and Lyburn Cheese; biltong from Stag and Bull, and many more quality Hampshire-ites in the building. The ace Winchester Distillery will also be there with bottles of Twisted Nose gin, flavoured with Hampshire watercress— and a perfect way to mark World Gin Day on the Saturday.
6. Dance your socks off at Field Day
7-9 June; The Drumsheds, Meridian Water, N18 3BW
Field Day is embarking on a new chapter in 2019, moving to a new home in the form of Enfield's Meridian Water. The new location features ten acres of outdoor space plus four gigantic, interlinking warehouses. Enfield might feel like the other side of the planet, but here's why it's worth the journey: this year's line-up spans every musical genre you'd ever want from a festival. Along with its tasty music, Field Day brings together the cream of London's street-food scene to cater for all appetites. With more than 60 unique food stalls from some of London's most renowned markets, you could easily bill the festival Food Day. We're really glad they haven't. We're just saying that it would have been easy. Tons of tasty vendors will be keeping you full of dancing fuel and rumour has it that it's also going to be something of a craft beer extravaganza. Bulldog Dry Gin and Camden Town Brewery have hopped aboard the Field Day express to whet your appetite with IPAs and G&Ts that are well above your typical zoo-grade festival beers.
7. Chow down on half-price food at Ooty Station
7-16 June; Ooty Station, 66 Baker Street, W1U 7DJ
The latest venture from the talented team behind south Indian restaurant Ooty, Ooty Station is opening on 7 June to offer a range of Indian-inspired bar snacks, lunch items (think: malli chicken wings, mutton methi samosas and light-as-air dosas) alongside a cracking selection of cocktails and beers. With an off-street outdoor terrace and counter bar dining inside, it's set to be an ideal place to laze away a couple of languid hours on a hot summer's day. To celebrate the opening you can nab yourself 50% off food from 7-16 June. And, as if that wasn't tempting enough, Ooty Station is also going to be showing the Cricket World Cup on its wide-screen TV. Howzat?
8. Dine with a conscience at Beyond Food Supper Club
8 June; 139 Tooley Street, SE1 2HZ
Beyond Food Supper Club, a gourmet supper club with a social purpose, has invited chef and food writer Ping Coombes to guest at its latest event on Saturday 8 June at Brigade Bar + Kitchen from 7-10pm. Coombes will be offering diners a modern twist on the food of her childhood while still incorporating some of the Brigade team's signature smoke and grill cooking techniques. For £45, guests will be treated to a four-course meal and a complimentary cocktail upon arrival. The menu includes dishes like chilli bean roasted aubergines, labneh and crispy tofu skin; torched mackerel, rojack and iberico pork; wood roasted rare rump, fermented chilli bean, lime and lemongrass dressing with rice noodles; and sweetbread spring rolls.
9. Tuck into tagliatelle at the Dalston Pasta Festival
8 June, Dalston Square, E8 3BQ
The third edition of the Dalston Pasta Festival is back again for a carbo-loaded weekend of goodness. Organised by the Macaroni Liberation Front in conjunction with Italian ethical pasta producer Pasta Armando and Hackney Council, this event provides the perfect opportunity for the local community to share an al fresco lunch in Dalston Square. Heaps of delicious pasta will be cooked inside the venue and served on tables and benches in the square at the cost of only £5 per person. Vegan and vegetarian options will be available, too. Children activities and live music will run from 11am until 5pm while an Aperol Spritz stall and a sustainable workshop will be around to entertain the adults.
10. Discover what Lloyd Park Market is all about
8 June; Lloyd Park, Forest Road, E17 4PP
On Saturday 8 June a new weekly food market inside Lloyd Park will be gracing London for the very first time. Situated in a beautiful location just outside the William Morris Gallery, Lloyd Park Market is set to showcase the highest quality food London has to offer. Quality farmers and local producers like Breadwinners and Local Honey Man? Check. London's best street food stalls and drinks producers including Gyoza Guys, Mother Flipper and Little Leaf Pizza? Check. The option to wash that all down with an ice-cold locally brewed beer? Uh, check. Lloyd Park Market looks to be ideal fun for the whole family, complete with a Doggie Deli to make sure that any of your four legged friends don't miss out on the good times.
11. Celebrate World Gin Day with a perfume and gin cocktail making masterclass
8 June; 2 Lincoln Plaza, E14 9BD
What does a Scottish gin powered by the spirit of the Picts taste like? It's probably pretty powerful stuff, right? The kind of brutal, wince-inducing gin that will put hair on your chest? Well, not exactly. Created with guidance from olfactory expert and perfume designer, Barnabé Fillion, Theodore is an aromatic gin featuring 16 botanicals – it's light, floral and just about the opposite of brutal. Find out for yourself what that gin is about this Saturday by joining Theodore team at the Lincoln Plaza from 4-5:30pm for a perfume and cocktail making masterclass. You'll be able to sample a selection of perfume-inspired cocktails, get your hooter on Theodore's 16 botanicals in perfume form and discover the links between perfumery and spirits.
12. Eat great street food at the Eid Festival
8-9 June, Ariel Way, W12 7GF
Following the overwhelming success of last year's event, London's biggest Eid celebration is back again this June at Westfield London. Get yourself down to the West London shopping hotspot for an event that promises to be far more culturally fulfilling than a cruise around H&M. Expect unmissable Halal street food stalls, live cookery theatre, shopping stalls, live entertainment and more. The best part of it all is that it's completely free. How great is that?!
13. Gin yourself silly at Junipalooza
8-9 June; Tobacco Dock, Wapping Lane Entrance, E1W 3HZ
What are you planning on doing this World Gin Day? Drinking gin? Good. Here's where you should be doing it. Taking place at Tobacco Dock to celebrate World Gin Day 2019 from the 8-9 June, this festival of gin will give you a chance to sample a range of gin and meet the talented people making it. There'll be over 60 gin distillers in attendance, with well over 200 gins on offer between them. Once through the door, you'll be handed a tasting glass, a show guide, some water and sent on your way on a four hour Gin odyssey. Not only will the makers behind each gin be there to talk you through their products in person, but every single gin is free to sample (responsibly) and comes with the option to try neat or with tonic included in the ticket price.
14. Celebrate soccer and saisons at The Women's World Cup Beer Festival
9 June; Champion Hill Stadium, Edgar Kail Way, SE22
We love football. We love beer. It is therefore unsurprising that we love the sound of an event that wonderfully combines the two. The Clubhouse at Dulwich Hamlet will be pouring locally-produced beers for the entire month of the Women's World Cup – supplying footy fans with delicious craft ale and top level sporting prowess. Beers available include pours from The Kernel, Brew By Numbers, Brick, Canopy, Mothership, Gipsy Hill, Brockley, Villages, London Beer Factory, Southey, Orbit, Spartan, Affinity and more. Yes, more. The official Launch Party on Sunday will also feature tasty eats and coverage of the England v Scotland game from Nice at 5pm. Entry is free.