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 beer festivals to free pastel de natas, here are the events that you should be pencilling into your calendar and putting on your radar this weekend.
19 things to do in London this weekend
1. Eat Kevin O'Connor’s food at Carousel
16-27 July; 71 Blandford Street, W1U 8AB
Raised in California, Kevin O'Connor spent his childhood doing the regular childhood sort of things. Which is, y'know, obviously hunting, gathering and foraging in the wilderness of the Sierra Foothills. Thankfully for us Londonites who've never had to forage outside of the kebab shop on a Saturday night, O'Connor's going to be bringing his talents to Carousel London for a star-studded residency. Despite having worked his way through some of California's finest kitchens for the last ten years (two-star Saison and Coi to name but a few), Kevin remains the sort of cook that still prefers open fire to a stove. Dishes that O'Connor will be whipping up include scallop aguachile with tomatillo salsa verde, radishes and coriander and beef cheeks glazed in a charred grape jus with plum and grilled onion. Smash.
2. London Mezcal Week
15-21 July; 17B Kingsland Road, E2 8AA
Mezcal is the magical Mexican spirit made with agave that currently has bartenders in a spin. Why? Possibly because drinking it (sometimes) leads to minimal hangover; definitely because it's absolutely delicious. But don't just take our word for it – make sure you reserve 15-21 July in your diary for London Mezcal Week, a six-day celebration of all things agave with supper clubs, seminars and more. The Cellar Bar at Kingsland Road's TT Liquor is being taken over by some of the world's best mezcal bars for the duration of the week, with a cocktail menu designed to showcase the spirit's range and versatility. The icing on the cake is the agave tasting festival at TT Liquor on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 July, where you'll be able to sip your way around more than 40 brands of artisanally produced mezcal, tequila, raicilla and sotol (all spirits made with agave plants). There'll be guided tastings with mezcaleros who have made the journey over from Mexico... and rumour has it that there's an Afterparty Agave bar takeover on the Friday, too.
3. Get a free spritz with every bowl of pasta at Al Dente
18 July; 51 Goodge Street, W1T 1TG
What's better than a bowl of pasta? A bowl of pasta and a free Aperol Spritz, that's what. To celebrate its first birthday, Al Dente will be offering a free Spritz with every bowl of pasta purchased on 18 July from 4:30pm? Is there a better combination than freshly handmade (and perfectly al dente) pasta and a super summery gobley of Aperol Spritz? I don't think so.
4. Indulge at the Portman Marylebone Summer Street Party
18 July; New Quebec Street, W1H 7SD
This Thursday, the Portman Marylebone Summer Street Party is making its grand return to Seymour Place and New Quebec Street. What that means for you is that you can expect some exceptional street food, too. And lots of it. Here are just a few of the eateries that are getting involved in the action: Everbean Deli, GAIL's Bakery, Bernardi's, Basque grill, The Gate, Sandy's, Vinoteca, Boxcar, La Petite Poissonnerie, Philglas & Swiggot, The Grazing Goat, Zetter Townhouse and more. For the first time, the street party will also welcome restaurants from nearby Chiltern Street, including 'female wine-tales' with tastings of wines produced solely by female producers at Clarette and a spate of light bites from Ravinder Bhogal's Jikoni. Complimentary food and drink, and places for the workshops will be offered on a first-come-first-served basis.
5. Enjoy a 'Wonky Picnic' with Dash Water
18 July; Soho Square, W1D 3QN
This summer, Dash Water are doing al fresco dining a little different with the UK's largest free 'Wonky Picnic' – a spread of tasty treats made from food that would otherwise have been destined to be thrown away. Taking place at Soho Square between 12-4pm on 18 July, you can tuck into curved cucumber sandwiches and a citrusy lemon meringue pavlova topped with wonky raspberries will be handed out, creating a wonky take on a quintessentially British summer picnic.
6. Drink with a conscience at Craft Beer Cares
19-21 July; 369-370 Helmsley Place, E8 3SB
Beer festivals are great. Charity beer festivals are even greater. Taking over London Fields Brewery for three days of excellent drinking, the festival will feature beer from over 30 breweries including Beavertown, Cloudwater, Lost and Grounded, Denmark's Dry and Bitter, Mikkeller and many, many more. Proceeds from the event will be donated to local homeless charity - Hackney Winter Night Shelter.
7. Nab free pastel de natas at Casa Do Frango
19 July; 32 Southwark Street, SE1 1TU
To mark having spent one year in the capital purveying some of the best piri-piri chicken known to man, Portuguese restaurant and bar Casa Do Frango will be giving away 365 of its much-loved pastel de natas from 8am-10am on 19 July. That's right, a tasty treat for every day the restaurant has been open as a thank you to everyone that's supported the restaurant over the past year. An homage to Portugal's most famous tart, Casa Do Frango will be serving its own unique raspberry and cinnamon flavoured versions, made freshly in-house. The birthday giveaway will begin from 8am onwards and it's first come, first serve, so be sure you don't miss out.
8. Toast to the Foodism Beer Club X Anspach & Hobday collab beer launch
19 July; 118 Druid Street, SE1 2HH
We've teamed up with our friends at Anspach & Hobday to brew an extra special one-off take on the brewery's classic Patersbier. Come and join us at the A&H tap room in Bermondsey for a free first taste. Inspired by beers brewed and drunk by Trappist monks in Belgium (hence 'Paters', or fathers) the collab brew is a 3.9% blonde ale fermented with Belgian ale yeast and a one-off hop schedule put together by the teams at A&H and the Foodism Beer Club – making for a crisp, fruity and refreshingly sessionable beer for summer. RSVP for free and you'll get a complimentary one-third pour of the beer on arrival. Can't make it on the night? The limited-run collaboration beer will be launching in bottles exclusively in Real Ale stores on Friday 19 July, too.
9. Get apple-y at Hawkes Ciderama
19-20 July; 49 Tanner Street, SE1 3PL
Do The Wurzels proud next month and get yourself down to Bermondsey where the Hawkes Ciderama is going to supply some lovely apple-y vibes from the 19-20 July. The craft cider festival sees London fave Hawkes Cidery joined by world-class cider-makers, amazing street food, and great music for one incredible weekend celebrating the best in cider. Hawkes has brought together the innovators, the fresh-faced up and comers, the time-honoured stalwarts and even some fairly new age pioneers that'll be showing the people of the UK (and hopefully you) the astounding depth that cider has to offer. Cideries such as Oliver's, Pilton, Big Nose and Beard, Blakstoc, Anxo, Original Sin, Descendant, Rev Nat's and many more will be in attendance. Basically, great cider, banging tunes, all in one mad party. And you're invited.
10. Be weird at the Lagunitas Beer Circus
20 July; 53a, Southwark Street, SE1 1RU
On 20 July, The Lagunitas Beer Circus is returning to London with its adult-themed day of beer, music, games and a whirling frenzy of entertainment. Expect everything from brain flossing (yes, brain flossing) to razor blade eating (yes, razor blade eating) and skin stapling acts (yes, skin stapling acts). It's not as all… well... bizarre, however, as Lagunitas will be showcasing its stable of IPAs and beers, alongside several guest brewers from around the UK. Besides, Lagunitas will also be donating all of the proceeds to StreetVe – a charity delivering free care to the homeless and their dogs on the streets in cities throughout the UK. And regardless of what you think about eating razor blades, there's no denying that's a great cause.
11. Shake a tail feather at Ronnie Scott's Street Party
20 July; Frith Street, W1D 4RN
Get on down to Frith Street this Saturday to celebrate Ronnie Scott's big 60th birthday bash in some fairly jazzy fashion. Entry is completely free(!) and you and all your fun-loving pals can enjoy a selection of refreshing drinks from outdoor bars (including champagne cocktails) and street food from the likes of Hoppers and Little Italy. With Kinetika Bloco, Nubya Garcia and a host of other jazz talents performing live on stage, you'll struggle to find a more bebop way to spend your weekend.
12. Have a drink (or six) at the Fourpure Taproom Launch Party
20 July; 22 Rotherhithe New Road, SE16 3LL
Fourpure Brewing Co is getting ready for the biggest brewery party of the year as it launches its brand-new Basecamp taproom. Spanning over two levels of hoppy goodness, the new venue boasts 43 taps of old favourites and fresh seasonal beers in a travel and adventure themed beer wonderland. Grab your ticket from £5 and head to Bermondsey on Saturday for plenty of beer (duh), live music and a pretty nifty food menu to mark the occasion. Excited? You should be. Tickets are available from just £5 (including a free ⅔ pint, a Fourpure Oyster card holder and your very own glass to take home). If you miss out on that debauchery, Fourpure are also running a Recovery Brunch on Sunday 21 July at the same location as a bit of a post-sesh pick-me-up. Visitors only have to show their Saturday night ticket to get 30% off brunch tickets if they want to carry on the party.
13. Check out a new bottomless brunch at Juno Rooms
20 July; 67-69 Watling Street, EC4M 9DD
After a long hard week at work, there's nothing quite like a bottomless brunch to lift one's spirits and get all that stress out the system. It's for that very reason that the Juno Rooms has launched a fun and fabulous Bottomless Brunch in collaboration with Bulldog Gin. Featuring classic dishes with a unique twist, served to a backdrop of live house and pop music. Available every Saturday and priced at £10 each, dishes include interesting takes on breakfast big hitters like: smoked duck benedict with spinach and sriracha hollandaise; breakfast burger with a beef patty, crushed avocado, Cornish Yarg, and fried egg; and a flat iron steak with confit tomato, portobello mushroom. Meat-free options such as avocado, feta, smoked aubergine, fresh lime and chilli and sourdough and sweetcorn, tofu and sweet potato galettes are also an option. Add bottomless Red Snappers (gin-based take on a Bloody Mary) or Bulldog G&Ts for two hours for £35 (including one dish) or upgrade to encompass a full selection of Bulldog gin cocktails for £55.
14. Explore the National Geographic Traveller Food Festival
20-21 July; 52 Upper Street, N1 0QH.
The inaugural National Geographic Traveller Food Festival is coming to London’s Business Design Centre on 20-21 July to ply intrepid eaters with a real taste of the globe. Expect an exhibition floor aimed at introducing punters to the world’s most exciting cuisine and a range of cooking demos and interviews with top tier chefs and food personalities such as Raymond Blanc, Andi Oliver, and Adam Handling. It’s the perfect chance to expand your palate and set your tastebuds off on a well-earned voyage to international flavour town. Which is as good a reason as any, if you ask us.
15. Attend a Novikov summer masterclass
20-21 July; 50A Berkeley Street, W1J 8HA
Escape the city to the charming surroundings of Brent Eleigh Hall to experience the latest installment of Novikov Restaurant & Bar's unique kitchen garden project. You've got the chance to be treated to a guided tour of the allotment, picking fresh seasonal ingredients to be used in an Asian or Italian masterclass. Followed, of course, by the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of your labour at an intimate lunch where each course created can be paired with wine chosen by Novikov's sommelier. Tonnarelli in the parmesan wheel with courgettes? Mizuna and bulls blood salad leafs from the garden with fresh truffle and truffle dressing? Expect all that, and more. This culinary experience is priced at £120 per person, or £160 for both days.. For those who don't fancy the drive, a coach will depart Novikov Restaurant & Bar at 9am on the Saturday and Sunday, following a traditional Italian breakfast at 8am, returning later that day.
16. Check out a new Brunch Street Food Market at Flat Iron Square
21 July; 64 Southwark Street, SE1 1RU
Like brunch? Like street food? Boy, have we got good news for you. Flat Iron Square is launching London's first weekly Brunch Street Food Market in collaboration with Feast It! and Eatwith, launching 21 July. The Brunch Collective is a street food market concept that'll give you the chance to enjoy a cornucopia of classic brunch dishes that will keep you fed and happy every Sunday. Running from 11am-5pm, the lineup features brunch faves like Where the Pancakes Are, pastry champs Little Bread Pedlar and health gurus Zip and Zing Juices. A number of 'brunch exclusive' dishes will also be available including Caribbean brunch bowls from Lime Hut, a tidy crayfish mac n cheese from Jackalope All American, and vegan waffles from Waffle On. Alongside the culinary feast, independent record label Communion will curate a selection of vinyl DJs to soundtrack your munching.
17. Get a golden cone at Gelatorino
21 July; various locations
Head on down to Gelatorino in Richmond or Covent Garden this National Ice Cream Day to be in with a chance of winning free gelato for an entire year. No, really. One lucky ducky ordering an icy one from Gleatorino on 21 July will be served their gelato in a gold cup or cone, signalling that they are the winner and can enjoy free gelato (with a friend!) once a month for the next 12 months. Sounds pretty decent to us. But don't forget you've got to be in it to win it.
18. Spend your National Ice Cream Day at Swingers
21 July; 15 John Prince's Street, W1G 0AB
Cone or cup? Waffle or sandwich? Flake or no flake? The choices you make when it comes to ice cream say a lot about the sort of person you are. So get on down to Swingers this National Ice Cream Day. Nothing, after all, compliments a crazy golf like an ice-cold cone in hand, and Swingers have teamed up with Hackney Gelato to whip up a special menu of handpicked flavours for the discerning ice cream connoisseur. As well as traditional handmade gelato in vanilla, hazelnut, peanut butter and chocolate, and salted caramel, Hackney Gelato will be bringing exquisite sorbets in dark chocolate and coconut and lime, too. For one day only, there will also be some decadent milkshakes, which – between you and us – can be made boozy with a shot of whiskey or rum for an extra £5. All of Hackney Gelato's specialist ice creams are on offer at £3 a scoop, £4 for two or £5 for three. Sounds like a hole-in-one to us.
19. Drink two for one cocktails at Bar Elba
21 July; 109-117 Waterloo Road, SE1 8UL
Bar Elba is – without a shadow of a doubt – our favourite Napoleon Bonaparte-themed rooftop bar in SE1. So, you should head on down there this Sunday from 4-6pm to make the most of the sun and the pastel-coloured bar's lip-smacking two-for-one cocktail offer. Because everyone knows that two mojitos are better than one. Grab a burger from gravy generals Dip & Flip to make sure you don't get too binned the evening before work and you'll be absolutely golden, friendo.