Published on November 24, 2013 | by Chloe Watson


London’s winter pop-ups

London is filled to the brim with pop-up events during the summer time, from a bar on the roof of a car park in the middle of Peckham, to a sandy man-made beach in the middle of Camden, fun and alternative cocktail bars are all the rage during the sunny months.

But don’t be fooled, pop-up events are still, well, popping up all over London in the run up to Christmas. Think marshmallows roasting on a log fire and a mulled cider to keep you warm. ALN has been exploring the city to visit some of the new winter pop-ups open from November.

Night Tales

Night Tales [Mark Sethi]

(Thursday-Saturday from November 7 until Christmas)

We popped along to Night Tales’ opening night, on November 7. Tucked away off Dalston’s high street, the outdoor area is filled with beautiful white candles, open log fires and rows of picnic benches all covered with a twenty-five-metre wide canopy, perfect for when the British weather kicks in. The combination of great food, bustling bars and music from 6pm until 11pm, makes this the perfect place for a winter mid-week visit.

If you’re into seriously good food, Night Tales is the best pop up to visit this winter. Burger maestros, Patty and Bun, who have managed to establish a reputation as one the best burger joints, make an appearance, along side ‘Smokey Tales’ who offer a perfect US barbecue menu, with their pulled pork proving most popular.

New winners of the Young British Foodies’ award, BAO, serve up the tastiest of Taiwanese pork buns, and a Japanese gyoza bar, Rainbo, also takes residency. More top food venders are to be announced over the coming months. Night Tales is open from now until Christmas and is definitely worth a visit.

All good food has to be accompanied by a good drink, and Background Bars, who seem to be found at all London’s best pop-ups, have out done themselves once again. Naughty Absinthe hot chocolate, mulled cider and wine are on the menu for those who want to keep warm.

A wide range of chilled beverages are also available, with some of the best ‘mezcal’ – a Mexican spirit – in the world up for tasting as well as a ‘Negroni Station’.

Not to forget the music that ties the whole night together, Smokey Tales owners Seth Troxler and Ryan Crosson will be stepping up to the decks, as well as an eclectic mix of east London’s music scene spanning over the months of November and December.

The Vortex Jazz Club plays host to ‘Night Tales Jazz Saturdays’ and local DJs such as NTS and many more are planned to make an appearance through the weeks to come.

Night Tales has an undeniably festive feel; this pop-up is obviously popular, so if you don’t like standing, get there early to secure you and your mates a bench. And make sure you take a big appetite with you, trust me; you’ll want to try everything.



Wig Wam Bam [©Ben Cole]

(Monday-Saturday and Sunday during event times from October to March)

A more low key pop-up this time, but with a similarly wintery festive feel. Have you been wandering around the streets of Shoreditch and seen a giant wigwam on a roof?

Well that is WigWamBam.

Making a home on the roof of east London’s Queen of Hoxton, a giant wigwam and outdoor decking space surrounded by fairy lights and log fires make for a very interesting location for a drink with friends.

Apparently, inside the Nordic-inspired bar and the wigwam you will experience an extremely cosy atmosphere. With a giant grill taking centre point in the indoor space surrounded by lanterns, fairy lights and tree trunk stools. The food on offer is also inspired by the polar regions, wild boar sausages, fruit chutney as well as smoked salmon burgers being just some of the tasty treats on offer.

As this interesting pop-up bar is organised by Queen of Hoxton it wouldn’t be complete without an interesting drinks menu. Our favourite was the hot gin punch, but pumpkin spiced cider and mulled cider are some of the other hot drinks on offer, all served with a cinnamon stick as an alternative to the traditional cocktail stirrer.

Marshmallows can be purchased at five for a pound, and you can venture outside to roast them away on the terrace filled with wood fires. As it’s pretty windy up on the roof top, smoke can burn your eyes little, so maybe move your wood stool a little further away from the fire.

WigWamBam isn’t just a bar, they have adopted a ‘drink and do’ mantra this season with activities such as pinhole camera workshops, pumpkin carving, and origami classes being just a few of the things you can get involved in.

There are more winter pop-ups – not just bars, but other exciting events for winter and Christmas – you can find them all at A pop-up event guarantees an alternative to the standard ‘going out for a drink’ and while ALN only scratched the surface, there are many more to discover.


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