Neighbourhood Guide: South Bank (AKA how to avoid ending up in Giraffe)

Bloody Hell, you’re on the South Bank. WHAT DO YOU DO? Notorious for being a tourist trap, Londoners tend to shun this place and keep on trucking across Waterloo bridge. Big mistake. There’s unparalleled riverbank to rooftop bliss and debauch as well as ass-shaking laughter and mega cocktail bars- you just gotta know where to find ‘em. Stick with BarChick and we’ll make the Thames look like the Nile. Dope. Wanna emanate local vibes and impress your mates with all that nook and cranny knowledge? Obviously. I mean, there aren’t any converted bar/cafe/yoga studio warehouses, but there’s a mega view, brilliant interactive art and wait for it…ALCOHOL. Let’s brave this sh*tshow in style: from Lower Marsh to Bank Side, here’s how to do it like a heavyweight and not end up in Giraffe:

Morning fix

Not crack. Coffee. Coffee doesn't question your morals, EVER. Not even during a walk of shame. Go AWOL and get to Scooter Cafe. You dig cats, scooters & retro Faema espresso machines? F*ck yes. Go shake paws with resident Bob the Tabby, take stupid early bird Instagram photos of scooters (don’t knock it, it’s fun) and drink flat whites on the terrace. Basically, jump off here to prepare yourself for the madness that is South Bank. But if you put a higher premium on coffee over cats and coziness, go to Four Corners. This is for the connoisseur: they’ve got soft brews, affogatos and cold drip in glass bottles that you can swill all morning in their uber clean space of marquee letters, maps and bad ass baristas in stripy shirts. If you’re up and at em before 10, do an almond croissant. If you’re a cheapskate and are after more of a lowbrow affair, do Marie. Not literally. Marie’s is your traditional English caf with a Thai food twist. Basically, the breakfast for the most hanging champions in Londontown. Scooter Cafe, 132 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7AE // Four Corners, 12 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7RJ // Marie, 90 Lower Marsh, London SE1 Four.Corners.Coffee

Get strollin’

Scooters aren’t available to rent at Scooter Cafe, so you’re sh*t outta luck, Grab another coffee to take away (trust, you need it) and amble over to the South Bank Skatepark; you’ll get prime river sightings, obligatory busking and a gratis spectacle of skateboarding. Lean on the railing for a bit, have a fag and don’t do anything stupid. Like trying to skateboard whilst drunk. Leave it to the professionals. If goggling at fit skateboarders isn’t your thing, go chill at Jubilee Gardens and watch the frenzy unfold. There’s a carousel, a playground and lots of grass to where you can get your sunbathe on. After all that Vit D you’ll need to nosh and we’ve got just the place for you: Royal Festival Hall food market. Artisanal triumphs once again. There are 40 traders who rear, grow and produce everything themselves, so you’ll be sorted no matter what. If you fancy something a little less collapsible and a little more sit-down, head to Hayward Gallery’s Concrete. Perched a few stories high, the tourists won’t smell it and you’ll get epic Thames panoramas. You’re safe to sip your white wine spritzer and eat your seasonal salad in peace before sh*t gets naughty. Because it will. Come back here from 5-7 for their ‘laughing hour’ and you’ll get hammered for half the price. Cant find it in the dark? Keep your eyes peeled for the neon concrete mixer. Just don’t try straddling it—it’s art… And there are fit DJs for just that. Jubilee Gardens, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8RT // Concrete, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX Jubilee.Gardens

Culture fix

After you’ve brunched & boozed you’re ready for a bit of a culture crawl. The swaying’ll just make it that much more fun. After imbibing booze it’s only natural to imbibe art, because booze is basically liquid art in a pint glass and galleries are awesome whilst buzzed. f you fancy interactive art like slides on the sides of buildings and roaming beds, go to Hayward Gallery. But if you a fancy a real massive London institution, don’t deprive yourself and go to Tate Modern. Now, drunk, sober, whatever, just keep your paws off the art: Dali, Rothko & Hirst…they’re not f*cking around. If you wanna peruse books go to South Bank Book Market under Waterloo bridge. Scavenge real hard & you may even find some erotica. You’re more likely to find sheet music or quirky culinary books, but s’all good ‘cos it’s all one big thumping boozy adventure. Go on, haggle. Read a book. Put the Tinder away… Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX // Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG Tate.Modern

Sundowner

If you find yourself in front of the Riverside Terrace Cafe, ABORT. Nothing good will ever come of this. Look up, follow the multicolored bunting & let it lead you to Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden Bar & Cafe. Get some Pimm’s or G & Ts - very British, always banging. And with those epic views of the Thames, Westminster & The London Eye, how could you complain? You can’t. You’re blissed out, you’re smashed & if the sun’s gonna be out anywhere, it’s gonna be here. Having said that The Green Room at the National Theatre is mixing sunshine with a Fever-Tree G&T summer pop up. Go make your own G&T and hang at the roaring BBQ like you own it. But if it’s chilly & you’re sick of al fresco, no problem. Head back to Concrete for that ‘laughing hour’ cos it’s cheap & good.

Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden Bar & Cafe, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX // Concrete, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX

QEH.Roof.Garden

Nightcap

Meander down toward Blackfriars Bridge and go hard (decadent like) at the best new cocktail bar in the world, Dandelyan. It’s like a futuristic art deco bachelor pad with booze-lined glass shelves, sexed up purple leather and floor to ceiling glass looking straight out at that murky motherf*cker. The cocktails will blow ya mind with tree sap, bee pollen and concrete all legit ingredients. Want a different vista, but can’t be bothered to move? We got you. Head to Rumpus Room on the roof & go wild; inspired by Bright Young Things (a group of hedonists who romped around London in the 20s) Rumpus Room is looking for a 21st century version & all eyes are on you. Drink bubbly from the bottle. Be bold with the bartenders. Do everything Mum tells you not to in a magical glass box in the sky. Don't worry: what happens up there, stays up there. Dandelyan and Rumpus Room, Mondrian Hotel, 20 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PD RIVER.dandelyan