The Southbank is my favourite place to hang out in London. And yeah, I know other London dwellers will think I’m crazy because of the tourists/crowds/buskers etc – but if I fancy going for a wander – I’ll get off at Waterloo and walk right up the Southbank, and will usually pick up a cake in Borough market (there’s a thing called German cake which they sell there which is THE BEST thing I’ve ever eaten).
For me, it has everything I love about London, the history, the tourist tat, Big Ben, London Bridge, Festival Hall, Tate Modern, and the best view of London if you stand on one of the bridges. It’s also a great place to shop, with lots of little independent boutiques dotted around.
So went to hang out there on Saturday night with my friend Bronni (we used to work together!), and had a couple of cheeky cocktails and some nibbles. The thing about the Southbank is that there aren’t really any places to drink – however – if you wander a few streets back, and towards Southwark tube station (which is five minutes away from Waterloo station) you’ll find loads of hidden bars, pubs and shops.
We went to this place called Thai Silk which is half restaurant/half bar and tucked away under the arches of the train tracks. Now there are two reasons why I think this place is worth a visit if you’re in the area:
1) Cocktails are two for £9 Mon-Sat till 7pm – which in London, and in the very central area especially – is bloody cheap for a cocktail. And they were really good.
2) It’s owned by the same people at The Royal China. If you’ve read my past review about it, you’ll know I think its the best dim sum in London – and it’s the same great stuff here (nibbles are about £4-£5). Honestly, I know it’s not the major draw for a bar – but it’s some of the best bar snacks you’re going to find.
We ordered a couple of fruity cocktails as well as prawn and pork dim sum, chicken wings, chips and spring rolls. Seriously, the food is really good in this place. Because it’s half restaurant, the food comes from the kitchen, rather than a grotty fryer in a bar.
The bar itself is cool, spacious, has good music and isn’t pretentious. I really take issue with a lot of fancy London bars, if there are too many dress rules or if the bouncers are standoffish – I literally won’t go in. But felt really comfortable here, and was there till about 8:45 and it was pleasantly full, with a good atmosphere.
I reckon it will be particularly nice in the summer actually, as it has a load of outside seating – surrounded by thai statues and greenery. I bloody love a good beer garden.
So after we drank and ate, we decided to walk back down the Southbank to get a drink elsewhere and continue
bitching chatting. Now this is a strange thing to have, but my favourite public building in the UK is The Royal Festival Hall.
I have some wonderful memories there from when I was a child, because I would compete in orchestra competitions (nearly fell on my arse once on the stage, but that’s another story).
Not only is it a place you can go and see a concert/play, but you can do whatever you want in there really. People hold birthday parties, work, hold meetings etc. There are loads of chairs and tables/bars/coffee shops an awesome shop and it always is holding events. It’s a great space (plus its the best place to go to the loo if you’re in the area- and tourists don’t know about it).
The Southbank is the perfect place in for an evening in London, especially if you don’t want to spend a lot of money – there’s loads of life there, always something going on and wandering around is free!
So that’s a little look into my weekend. Where do you love to spend your time in London? Let me know in the comments.