or many, January is the most miserable month of the year. It’s cold, it’s dark and you haven’t even got Christmas to look forward to – which, to our mind, is all the more reason to fill your diary with things to look forward to.
Taking part in Dry January, Veganuary or vowed to make 2022 the year you finally get that six pack? The good news, for better or worse, is that so ingrained have these January traditions become, that the capital is bursting with events, launches and pop-ups that even the most abstemious can take part in without breaking their New Year’s resolutions. Here’s our guide to the best things to do in London in January 2022.
The bars: Upstairs at Langan’s and Common Counter
When the infamous Langan’s restaurant relaunched late in 2021, it wasn't the Hockney-filled dining room that caught revellers' eyes – it was the glitzy (and seriously private) upstairs space that was the place to be. This month, the bar space officially launches to the public – but there’s a catch: you’re going to need an invite to get in. How you get your hands on one isn’t exactly clear (our best guess: be well connected) but, should you find yourself on the right side of the velvet rope, you’ll be greeted with cocktails inspired by Langan’s celebrity clientele and lavish small plates including truffle croque monsieur, fillet mignon and oysters.
Over in Shoreditch, the vibe at Common Counter is more inclusive than exclusive. Housed within Brick Lane’s Glass House creative space, this stylish bar has been envisioned as a venue to bring together the area’s vibrant local community. In practice, this means a menu of locally-brewed beers and spirits, a cocktail list designed by Oliver Thomlinson to celebrate queer history and a regularly changing events schedule featuring LGBTQ+ fundraisers, dance classes, poetry nights and book clubs.
The restaurants: Ottolenghi, Rai and Fair Shot Café
If the excesses of the festive period have you hankering after something a little lighter this month, two new openings in the capital promise just that. First up, a new outpost of the famed Ottolenghi group will open its doors on Pavilion Road in Chelsea, bringing the eponymous chef’s signature relaxed Middle Eastern all-day dining to one of West London’s finest entertainment districts. Featuring interior design by Alex Meitlis, emphasis is on communal tables and tactile natural materials that reflect the lightness and vibrancy of the deli’s daily-changing salads, pastries and inventive dishes.
In Fitzrovia, the team behind Islington’s critically-acclaimed Hot Stone will be welcoming guests to their new venture: Rai. Chef Padam Raj Rai will once again be behind the stoves, serving up a fresh take on classic Japanese flavours that sees some unusual British ingredients thrown into the mix. Expect the likes of Kobe and wagyu beef, Sanpuku nori and Koshihikari rice served alongside cave-aged cheddar, Wiltshire truffle and even Marmite. We’re intrigued.
Finally, if you’re looking to swap your daily Pret or Starbucks for something a little more wholesome, make Mayfair’s new Fair Shot Café your go-to. A collaboration between the Fair Shot charity, West London College and Action on Disability, the Fair Shot Café will offer an annual training programme giving 12 young people with learning disabilities the chance to gain accredited hospitality skills during a year of paid employment. Great coffee and delicious food are a given.
The collaborations: Zetter Townhouse and Wild by Tart
The market for non-alcoholic spirits has exploded over the past few years but, as anyone who’s ever been tempted by ‘nosecco’ will know, when it comes to alcohol-free wines, few live up to the hype. Oddbird is the exception to the rule and this month will be bringing its craft wines to Zetter Townhouse’s locations in Marylebone and Clerkenwell. There will be a full, non-alcoholic wine and cocktail menu available throughout January, as well as the option to have Zetter’s classic afternoon tea paired with Oddbird’s sparkling wines.
If you hope to extend your New Year’s resolutions beyond the end of January, Wild by Tart has teamed up with MindFull founder Lily Silverton to create a one-off supper club that aims to set you on the path to success in 2022. Guests will be treated to a welcome cocktail (or mocktail) before sitting down to a goal-setting workshop with Silverton in which to plan your priorities for the year ahead, all of which will be followed by a three-course dinner featuring some of Wild by Tart’s signature dishes.
The culture: Gone Rogue at The Curtain Club
On a mission to brighten up a drab January, the Gone Rogue art collective has teamed up with Shoreditch's Curtain Club, housed within the Mondrian hotel, to host a contemporary art pop-up for hotel guests and the public alike. Named for the art collective, the exhibition will bring together a diverse array of artists working across a huge variety of mediums, including East London-based Lauren Baker, up-and-coming contemporary painter Marcus Aitken and Ben Allen, whose work blurs the lines between street art, graphic design, comics and abstraction. Whether you're looking to add something fresh to your collection or are simply in need of a cultural diversion, you're guaranteed to leave feeling inspired.
The masterclass: Petersham Nurseries workshops
Vowed to learn a new skill this year? Petersham Nurseries will be offering a series of workshops and masterclasses at its Covent Garden location until spring, drawing on the expertise of its in-house team. First up, Petersham Nurseries will be enlisting chefs from La Goccia to teach guests the art of making perfect fresh pasta (prosecco and focaccia included for the full Italian experience). If flowers are more your thing, Petersham’s on-site florists will also be offering masterclasses in creating gorgeous hand-tied bouquets and vase arrangements, with monthly sessions available until April to help you really master the art.