24hrs in London: Part 1

Here for a good time, not a long time

After a quick work trip to Denham Grove, about 45mins outside of London (Sort of like the Durbanville of London to be more accurate) last week for work I decided to take advantage and stay and extra day in the capital for a day and chill with some mates. I’ve done the whole tourist thing so just wanted to spend the time hanging out in cool places rather than standing in a line to get on The London eye.

18:00 – I arrived in Chiswick from our hotel where the conference was taking place. I wasn’t kidding about the whole Durbanville vibe. We had a full on farm situation going on next door to our hotel complete with sheep and horses.  I did make the big mistake of calling an Uber at 16h15 so the combination of rush hour and being out in the sticks meant I had to wait over 30mins just for a car to become available.

My friend Thandeka was hosting me for the night at her spot in Chiswick. Her block literally has the smallest lift in the history of lifts. Not for the claustrophobic

19h10 –  After a quick catch up with Thandeka over a young glass of wine, I took the tube into town to meet up wth my other mate Faheem. I must admit I still get extremely excited about riding the tube when I’m in a big city. It really is the epitome of 1st world public transport. I envy that.

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We really had no plan for the night whatsoever and decided to freestyle the whole thing and see where we ended up. The first place he took me was a restaurant/ bar called SKETCH in Mayfair on the West end. The place was amazing. Most definitely the best spot I’ve been to in London in all my visits there. Except maybe The Church. Now that was an experience. Then again I was 18yrs old at the time and half naked women downing beers on stage was really as good as it can get for an 18yr old.

Sketch is a luxury complex of food and drink with a number of rooms which each have their own distinct vibe and offering. We didn’t eat in the dining area but the room is spectacular with its retro pink deco. The first room we went to is a secluded bar which probably caters for no more than 30 people. It has its own DJ booth and gives you an exclusive bar type of vibe.

You know the joint is unique when the bathrooms are one of the signature areas. People were literally taking selfies in the bog. It’s like Saturday night live meets Aliens meets Star Wars. I didn’t test out the pods but I’m sure they are out of this world 😉

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I asked the barman to how me up a Bulleit old fashioned which I thoroughly enjoyed but then again when you paying £14 for a cocktail you savour the hell out of that thing.

23:05 – After a while and two of Faheem’s other friends, Tumi and Wosie (also from SA) later we decided to mission on and find another spot where we could get some food and more of a music vibe.

We wondered around Soho and stumbled upon a small spot called GEM. The music was strictly hip hop with the likes of Ja Rule and Nelly’s Country Grammar on the dj’s playlist which was great. Unfortunately the place was just too packed so we bounced. Not much luck at BYRON, the next place we went into which was about to close. Thats when we ended up at JEWEL BAR, a little walk further in Piccadilly circus. The music was great. The venue was stunning. The kitchen was still open. They had a place for us to sit. We pitched out tents

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I also found out that it was Wosie’s birthday at midnight so naturally we had to help ourselves to a few rounds of tequila to celebrate. They also had a giant size Pornstar Martini cocktail on the menu which served as the perfect birthday drink.

01:15 – After the celebration there was still time for one more night cap so we took a bus down to Edgeway Road to one of Faheem’s favourite joints called Palm Palace for a hookah pipe and a cappuccino. It was already quite late so not much of a vibe at that time but it is rated quite highly amongst the Middle Eastern restaurants of London. The place where we ended up sitting was down in the “basement” at the back of the restaurant. It felt like the type of space Henry Hill would hang out in Goodfellas. The staff were really cool though, even when I accidentally knocked the whole pipe off the table and the coals went flying towards the one patron. Awks.

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02h30 – Finally called it a night and an overall great time walking the streets of Soho, Mayfair and Piccadilly Circus even though it was raining. I forgot to mention the rain part. This is London though, why are we even surprised. A £30 Uber ride later and I was back in Chiswick.