Olympian rate of openings

Tim Badham
IN SPITE of the somewhat quiet state of London’s streets during the Games, there have been a variety of recent openings to keep things lively, the first of which is the return of The Hippodrome to Leicester Square. This sprawling casino complex comprises of gaming floors, a restaurant, lounge bars, balconies, private rooms and a live entertainment space. It’s open 24 hours but requires no membership and the bars in particular bring a stylish, welcome oasis to the area, with the exclusive feel unhindered by an egalitarian door policy. Seek out the smoking terrace floor for a NYC feel with exposed brickwork and iron pillars supporting the partially covered roof which, if you ascend the spiral staircase, doubles as a terrace. They have already hired a cigar sommelier as well as molecular mixologist of the moment Tony Conigliaro (recent winner of The Spirited Award for World’s Best New Cocktail Bar for his ZTH Bar at Zetter Town House), who is developing an exclusive cocktail menu for the venue.

For a more vertiginous terrace, head to the recently opened Sushisamba in the City, where, 200 meters up, you’ll find a funky design coupled with peerless views of The Gherkin, Tower Bridge and the Olympic Park. Assuage any acrophobia with a stiff Pisco-lashed, Cachaca-kissed South American style cocktail. Nearby in Shoreditch another new roof terrace rests atop The Golden Bee, a triple-tiered hive of activity featuring a ground-level honeycombed bar, a covered graffiti-adorned smoking area and a sofa-equipped rooftop bar.

For a new opening with some real balls, head to Ping in Earl’s Court, a table-tennis enhanced bar and pizzeria from the team behind Love Brunch and Bungalow 8. Alongside a hipster-driven design from I LOVE DUST, the firm responsible for MEATliquor’s dining room, Ping will be serving delicious drinks such as the Rhubarb Aperol Spritz.

Over in Fitzrovia, Peruvian eatery Lima has opened to rave reviews, and the restaurant features a downstairs dining room with a dusky, seductive feel and a bar doling out punchy and potent Pisco-based classic cocktails. On Audley Street in Mayfair, the co-founders of Zuma and Roka have opened Banca in the former premises of a NatWest Bank, alongside details like safety deposit boxes and the original vault door, the dining room features a long bar serving classic Italian aperitifs. Buck the trend of tranquillity and head out to celebrate. Tim Badham is the founder of Innerplace, London’s leading entertainment concierge service. www.innerplace.co.uk.