Phew. That dreadful year we don’t want to mention is finally over, and it’s time to move on to bigger and better things. There's no better way to grab a new year by the horns than by making an adventurous list of things to do, and for the students of the world that means new drinking hangouts and fun activities aplenty. Worried about your December-battered bank balance? We hear you, but don’t panic; we caught up with DesignMyNight for some tips on London's top 10 affordable places you have to visit this year, that won’t cost you a small fortune to enjoy. Whatever your tastes - from mad mixology to boozy ping pong sessions - we’ve got something for you.
1. Visit Magic Roundabout
The clue is in the name with this one. Located in the middle of Old Street roundabout and accessible only via a secret staircase in the tube station, this gem serves up its magic through award-winning street food, craft beers and cocktails in an alfresco space like no other. Potter through this colourful hangout, and find a spot to sit in amongst the toadstools for some food; with sides starting from £3 and mains £7, you don’t have to break the bank to do so.
2. Go to Craft Beer Rising festival
We’re not sure if you’ve heard, but craft beer is kind of a big deal. Rightly so, it now has its own annual festival in Brick Lane, and this year’s shenanigans are expected to be even bigger and better than 2016’s, with another room added for even more beer. This event is going to be like stepping into beer heaven, and with a whopping 170 breweries set to attend, being stuck for choice won’t be a problem. You can also have a boogie courtesy of music from last year’s favourites, Showhawk Duo. With tickets starting at £15, this isn't one to miss.
3. Play Ping Pong at Bounce
The ping pong craze that has gripped London shows no signs of stopping (thank goodness); so, where better to play a game than at Bounce Farringdon. This ain’t no one trick pony kinda place either, Bounce’s extraordinary venue boasts a restaurant, a bar and a DJ booth. So, whether you are a ping pong expert, foodie, new experience seeker or just up for a dance - Bounce is the one. Grab a group of your mates and challenge them to some healthy competition; tables start from £11.
4. Old Skool Sundays at Far Rockaway
These guys are killing the “Sunday Funday” vibe by dedicating every Sunday to a mass chill out event that celebrates all things nostalgic. Think back-to-back 90’s cinema, giant Jenga, 90’s console games, popcorn, beer pong and board games, all to a soundtrack of 90’s bangers. Serving up burgers, pizzas and wings, get your waistline ready for comfort food galore. Tickets are only £5 and you’ll get a ‘buy two cocktails get one free’ deal all night. Mum was meant to visit? No problem, book the ‘2-4-1 bring your mum for free’ deal with DesignMyNight. (Amazing).
5. Kid around at BallieBallerson
If you do one thing this year, make sure you jump, play and rave in this chest-high space-themed underground ball pit bar in Dalston. Embrace your inner child, leave your adult coat at the door, then mess around with inflatables and colourful foam toys to your heart’s content. Done kidding around? Let yourself sink into the ball pit of dreams while the DJ spins sessions of funk, bass and techno. You can book a two hour slot from £15 and quench your thirst with retro sweet cocktails; we’re talking Wham Bars, Dip Dabs, fried eggs and pink shrimp foam.
6. Do karaoke and get a tattoo at Hip Hop Brunch LDN
Hip Hop Brunch is a rowdy Saturday brunch party where you’ll enjoy a three-course ‘Dirty South’ menu and bottomless cocktails to a hip hop soundtrack that mixes legendary classics with your favourite tracks of today. For the brave, there’s a karaoke system and a roaming tattoo artist at every event (don’t worry, the ink they use can be scrubbed off afterwards), with the odd magician and lip sync battle thrown in for good measure too. It’s a genuinely unique event that we think is your duty not to miss. Best of all? Tickets start at just £15.
7. Find The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town
We all love an unconventional place to drink, and bars don’t come much quirkier than a hidden cocktail hangout only accessible through a seemingly-innocent, locked fridge door, do they? Yep, you heard correctly, just request to see ‘the Mayor’ at the Breakfast Club on Artillery Lane, and if accepted you’ll enter the hideaway via a smeg fridge, into a basement full of fun, food and amazing drinks. Decked out with vintage furniture, this joint has an undeniable Canadian-whisky-lodge-meets-speakeasy bar vibe. You won't find Becks or Fosters here, only unique world wide beer, craft and cider. With cocktails from £7.50, it really is a no brainer.
8. Drink teapot cocktails at Little Nan’s
Little Nan has become somewhat of a renowned traveller. After raging success in her Tropical Den in Peckham, and her 90’s pop-up in Shoreditch, she has now set her sights on the big screen, and is moving all her decor and trimmings to Dalston, where she will take over the basement of the Rio Cinema from May. The cinema is an art deco Grade II listed building, and in a bid to relive the old days where she sold ice-cream and sweets at the cinema, she invites you along to enjoy 90’s anthems and cocktails amid retro memorabilia. If you want to go bottomless, a two hour slot is £39.
9. Party at Tropicana Beach Club
Can’t afford a hot getaway this year? Fear not, Tropicana Beach Club has all your island dreams sorted, and you don't even have to leave London. Check in, engage full-time party mode and make your way to the ‘lagoon style’ dance floor (it’s perched underneath green palm trees and tropical bird decorations), where you will enjoy cabaret performances and live music to the sound of steel drums. Test a magnitude of rums at their impressive cocktail bar and revel in this Caribbean paradise for the ultimate night out. Entry is £10, and if you head down here on your birthday you will get a free bottle of prosecco. Need we say any more?
10. Toast marshmallows at Brunel Museum Rooftop Garden
Intimate, cute and charming; you need to ditch London’s busy streets this year for the Brunel Museum Rooftop Garden; a cosy garden perfect for taking in the night lights of the city. Ideal for catching the summer sun just right, this is a wonderful space for afternoon and evening chilling at its finest. Brimming with botanical cocktails and boasting an open fire pit for marshmallow toasting, this is one of the most romantic spots in London.
For more information of London’s best bars and cocktails, visit DesignMyNight and follow them on Twitter and Instagram; @DesignMyNight.
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