The five best summer pop-up bars

ByThe Cocktail Lovers

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Sunny days: the Gin Bar at the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen
Sunny days: the Gin Bar at the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen

Whether indoor or out, fancy or shabby chic, pop-up bars get our pulses beating just that bit faster. Here’s our pick of the ones brightening up London this summer.

1.Frank’s Café and Campari Bar

Even staunch north Londoners have been known to set their internal SatNavs to south for this pop-up come the summer. Part of the Bold Tendencies Sculpture Project, it’s a vast space housed on the tenth floor of a multi-storey car park in Peckham – might not sound glamorous but it’s just the ticket for those looking for urban cool. Campari-based cocktails are on the menu – hence the name – fab artworks are on the side. Crowd round the long wooden tables and soak up the spectacular 360 views of the city – with any luck, the sun will be blazing down too.

Frank’s Café and Campari Bar, 10th floor Peckham multistorey car park, 95a Rye Lane, SE15 4ST, frankscafe.org.uk. Open June 30 – September 30

2.Gin Bar at The Serpentine Bar & Kitchen

This minute the sun comes out head to the Serpentine in Hyde Park – but forget the indoor eaterie and make your way to the lawn instead. Here you’ll find the Gin Bar, a lovingly restored 1950s Citroen H van which only makes an appearance on sunny days. Take your pick from Pimm’s, ten varieties of the juniper spirit and tonic and barbecued food on offer, then make the most of those rays by relaxing on one of the deckchairs or beanbags strewn on the grass. Bliss.

Open on sunny days only. Serpentine Bar & Kitchen, Serpentine Road, W2 2UH,serpentinebarandkitchen.com.

3. National Theatre Propstore Café Bar

Play spot the prop at the National Theatre’s latest production, the riverside Propstore Café Bar. Get up close to an eclectic collection of bits and bobs from the theatre’s plays including puppets from War Horse, the crocodile from Peter Pan, vintage light fittings (and a few limbs) from Frankenstein all playing a supporting role to the menu. Food-wise you can munch away on a variety of street food such as pulled pork sarnies with BBQ sauce and coleslaw, while the bar, fashioned from a snooker table top covered in rehearsal notes serves Meantime draught beer, English wines and cocktails made with Sipsmith spirits.

National Theatre, South Bank, SE1 9PX, nationaltheatre.org.uk. Open until September.

4. The Floating Cocktail Lounge

Is it an oxymoron to be billed as a long term pop-up? Maybe, but as it’s only going to be open for three years, we think The Floating Cocktail Lounge is definitely worth flagging up. Part of the 20-acre London Pleasure Gardens over at Olympics central, this much anticipated venue, the first of its kind in the capital, is billed as ‘a pinnacle of luxury and decadence’ and boasts a 24-hour license. With Soul Shakers devising the cocktail list, we’re expecting great things.

Floating Cocktail Lounge, London Pleasure Gardens,E16 2BS,londonpleasuregardens.com. Opens June 30

5. Asia de Cube ceviche bar

Pop-ups go posh with the opening of the ceviche bar at the St. Martin’s Lane Hotel. As you might expect from a sleek-as-you-like Philippe Starck designed hotel, this limited-run affair promises to be stylish with a capital ‘S’. The menu is light, fresh and summery with an array of ceviche dishes (raw fish, citrus and herbs) including clever combos such as  Scottish salmon and salted avocado helado; curry kingfish and passionfruit, and snapper and confit watermelon. And to drink?  It’s rum all the way – think Mojitos and speciality tipples to complement the freshness of the seafood.

St. Martin’s Lane Hotel, 45 Saint Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4HX. 020 7300 5500.www.stmartinslane.com. Open July 4-25, 11.30am-7.30pm.

This article by The Cocktail Lovers originally appeared in The London Evening Standard 25 June 2012

The Cocktail Lovers

The Cocktail Lovers

The Cocktail Lovers are Mr G and Ms S, a man and a woman who share a passion for cocktails. (We also happen to be married, so we’re cocktail lovers in more ways than one…)

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