Now is a great time to fall off the wagon

 
Tim Badham
If you aren’t firmly situated on the wagon, January can be a fantastic time to discover London’s new venues. After 11pm, Hakkasan Hanway Place’s dark and provocative dining room transforms into a late lounge named Ling Ling, which kicks off from Thursday to Saturday.

It’s already played host to guest DJ Daisy Lowe, as well as Parisian pop-up club Le Baron, with a list of big names queueing up to hit the decks. The Hakkasan Group have also launched HKK in the City, a Michelin-baiting, high-spec opening that draws inspiration from the Cantonese banqueting tradition. The HKK Bar is crafted from a natural quartz material named Silestone, which looks phenomenal when illuminated by recondite LED fittings, and a sommelier station with a by-the-glass enomatic wine display behind it in case you’re thirsty for a glass of an interesting vintage.

The ME Hotel in Aldwych is housed in the historic site that was the BBC’s first office at The Marconi House. It now plays host to an array of successful contemporary concepts imported from the US. The first of these is STK, a female-friendly steakhouse complete with DJ and lounge bar with a lively vibe that will get you prepped for sociable late night revelry. There are plenty of top-shelf cocktails to facilitate this process, not to mention a sultry design scheme replete with smokey mirrors and glossy black surfaces. The adjoining venue, Cucina Asselina, features a more family-oriented atmosphere, a prepossessing wine display, an open kitchen and a bar running the length of the dining room. The Marconi Lounge Bar next door doubles as the hotel lounge during the day but cranks up the music at dusk to create a sophisticated yet relaxed space to enjoy the bespoke cocktail list. If you get the opportunity, take the time to investigate the breathtaking nine storey Atrium, which ascends from the ground floor to the building’s summit. There is more to come with Radio officially opening on the top floor next month.

The Blue Boar Bar recently opened in the St James Intercontinental and is an interesting fusion of London and the Deep South, juxtaposing Chesterfields with exposed brick, dark leather banquettes with exposed filament lights. The cocktails do the same, mashing modern British flavours into Prohibition-style cocktails to great effect.

Tim Badham is the founder of Innerplace, London’s most personal concierge service. www.innerplace.co.uk