24 Hours in London
Let's skip the manic traffic on the M1 and the standard train journey into the capital and immerse ourselves deep into S&B's packed 24 hour affair with London.
The hotel wasn't a 5*, from the outside it resembled a local Chinese takeaway, with rickety stairs leading to a "cosy" twin and "en suite".
Bags dropped at Seven Dials and equipped with Google maps we set out in search of a little cafe in Shoreditch. We could have taken the tube but it seemed a waste not to take in all that scenery on offer, with every street corner came a different smell of freshly cooked food. 40mins of walking, teamed with nothing but biscuits for breakfast on the train and we could of sampled a snack at each and every food stall we passed.
Finally we saw the sign for the 'little cafe' we had been in search of, hidden away under the arches in the way that they manage to do so well in London. Creating mystique and desire before you even cross the threshold into the Bike Shed.
As we turned the corner we instantly fell in love with the place and all we could see was a few outside tables with people eating and drinking. How misconstrued our perceptions were. This place is 10 times bigger, cooler and more professional than we ever imagined.
We sat at a table for two shielded by the arches but still maximising the last of this summers midday sun with a hint of petrol and leather in the air, the friendly waitress took our order of 2 all day breakfasts. I am gonna put it out there, the best breakfast I have ever eaten. Podged and smiling, the thunderous sound of a big old bike turning over peaked our interest, out of nowhere it roared slowly by us, there is a bike park down the way and they come right by. Now our senses were heightened and the steady flow continued with more deafening exhausts but it was totally awesome.
We took off for a look around The Bike Shed set under 4 arches, the first is a cool restaurant/cafe/bar with a big open kitchen and bar. Arch 2 is a merch shop with the second part a chill area filled with rugs and Chesterfield Sofa's and Thy Barber tucked away at the end in his own traditional space. Arch 2 has the most fantastic custom bikes on show with arch 4 kept free for bike parking. Hats off to all involved with The Bike Shed, it's a thing of beauty which you should experience.
With our minds blown we headed back to Covent Garden for a coffee and to reflect. The purpose of our trip was for a Small Business Event being held in London, we wasn't sure of the details, was this an awards or a networking event? Either way we had to grab a change of outfit, a quick splash and dash at Fawlty Towers and onto Soho.
Welcomed at the door by Cookie the Drag Artist, we were sent underground to The Phoenix Arts Club, entry drinks, music playing and a dark smokey decor, right up our street. Turns out it wasn't an awards night nor a networking event particularly, yeah there were some folk in full network mode, they were given a wide birth. It's a smallish venue but packed with history and stories. The live entertainment was provided by the staff that waited on us with canapes moments earlier, they were accompanied by one hell of a pianist and boy could these guys sing. The free bar kept us lubricated and after speaking to the Manager it seemed the place to be in London but without any pretense or judgement. We had a truly fantastic night finished off with a pint of Guiness in the local to our hotel. If you are visiting London I would highly recommend heading to The Phoenix Arts Club to experience something slightly different to the norm.
Love and kisses from Cookie