Each summer London takes on an exciting new persona. Yes, you’ll find trad – Pimms and marquees. But you’ll also find the crazily alternative, where you have to pinch yourself to believe you’re still in the capital.
Here’s a guide to Zafferano’s favourite escapist summer venues.
Quayside at Tobacco Dock A hip former warehouse with cobbled quayside and sweeping views over the water towards Canary Wharf and the ever-changing skyline of the City. Two 18th-century replica schooners are berthed at the quay’s edge, while theatrical lighting creates an exciting mood as the sun slowly sets. And if the English summer weather should fail, covered walkways and the courtyard offer excellent back-up. Think food stalls, barbecues, outdoor seating, rum-themed cocktails… live bands and all night dancing.
GOOD FOR: East End food stalls for 500
The Rooftop Gardens at the Roundhouse Beach Dubbed the ‘Camden Honeymoon’, this witty beach at the iconic Roundhouse is going to be even bigger and better in 2015. It’s one of those crazy summer venues where you really can feel the sand between your toes and imagine yourself (almost) in Ibiza. 900 square metres holds 150 tonnes of the finest sand, end-of-the-pier amusements, beach huts, ping pong and girls in bikinis. For private parties the ‘Rooftop Gardens’ is the place, overlooking the beach. Astroturf, sun-loungers, armchairs, a great soundsystem… and a hot tub. Zafferano’s own Julian Saipe was memorably snapped leaping into the water last year. He just couldn’t help it.
GOOD FOR: A South American beach bbq and cocktails for 100
The Madejski Garden at the V&A One of London’s most gorgeous summer venues. A lush, Italianate courtyard with an elliptical pond, jet fountains and boxed lemon trees, beautifully proportioned and hushed from the outside world. With the right cocktails and musical vibe, you might mistake it for Seville or Buenos Aires. As the sun sets, the garden is dramatically transformed by clever lighting – installed by Rolling Stones’ lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe, no less. Exciting, elegant, sophisticated: we love what you can do with this space.
GOOD FOR: Anti-Pasti and Bellinis for 600
The Weather Deck at Cutty Sark This is without doubt one of London’s most extraordinary party venues. Under one hull, you have: the elegant, wood-paneled intimacy of the Master’s Saloon; the long, low-ceilinged Tween Deck once used for storing cargoes; the cavernous dry berth beneath the ship’s gleaming copper hull – and, on summer nights, canapés and cocktails outside on the weather deck, up amongst the masts, ropes and rigging of this beautifully restored Victorian tea clipper. You can almost smell the open sea. It’s atmospheric, evocative and really very special.
GOOD FOR: Pre-dinner Champagne for 100
Royal Hospital Chelsea Pimms, summer dresses, Chelsea Flower Show, the smell of cut grass… Nowhere does summer quite like leafy SW3. The Royal Hospital is uber-prestigious for weddings and private parties, with Sir Christopher Wren’s design creating unforgettable backdrops both inside and out. For corporate cricket, sports days and barbecues it doesn’t get much classier than the Figure Court, Burton Court or Ranelagh Gardens, a hidden gem tucked away in the hospital’s arcadian grounds. Put up a marquee, bring in a band, shake up those summer cocktails. A fashionable green oasis at the heart of the capital.
GOOD FOR: The perfect summer wedding!