With the recent performance of the Australian cricket team in the Ashes down under, the Aussies don’t really need another excuse to party. Need and want, however, are two very different things, and with Australia Day (Saturday, January 26th) fast approaching, we are taking a look at some of the top Aussie inspired places to celebrate in London.
Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes
Ten-pin bowling – like all things that were big in the 1980s and 90s – is back in fashion and the Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes is London’s prime bowling hotspot. Far more than a simple retro night out, Bloomsbury Bowling also has karaoke rooms, a quality old skool America style diner (with great pizza) and lots of great club nights – their recent New Year’s Eve line up included Joey Negro, DJ Format and Harry Love.
As the Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes are run by Australians, and after the success of other recent Aussie-focused nights, they will be hosting an Australia Day special and will soon be announcing further details. All of this makes it the perfect venue to kick off a good ole Aussie knees-up.
Lantana Cafe is one of the classiest Australian venues in London and shows that Aussies are not only about barbeques and lager. Located in central London’s charming Fitzrovia, the focus of this quaint and social cafe is coffee and quality grub.
Most renowned for their splendid breakfast and weekend brunch menus, Lantana is a quality place to get some sustenance inside you before the evening gets into full swing. The coffee may also help the morning after!
Dine Me Kangaroo
Granger and Co is a light and airy restaurant in Notting Hill, offering modern dishes with an Aussie twist. Owned by Australian restaurateur and food writer, Bill Granger, Granger and Co is the eighth of his mini Aussie food empire, Other restaurants include two in Sydney and four in Japan.
Bill is especially famed for his brunches, and was once given the rather impressive title of ‘egg master’ by the New York Times. The restaurant does, however, include breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.
Sydney’s in North London offers ‘good old tucker’ at reasonable prices and with consideration predominantly given to instant satisfaction. Currently offering up fast food with an Aussie flavour from 3pm-11pm, they are also soon to be offering breakfast and lunch menus.
On top of the food, Sydney’s also offers up some great Aussie beers, perfect for anyone to reminisce on life on the big island. The selection of beers includes Coopers, Toohey’s New and Pure Blonde. There are also some delicious deserts and some down under cocktails to get stuck into.
Walkabout – Temple Pier Riverside
As the evening really begins to kick off, there is little more you need than some good old bar tucker and a few pints of snakebite. There are few places that do this better than the infamous Walkabout. Famed for its party atmosphere and ‘loose’ vibe, the Walkabout is notoriously the best place to have a good old Aussie shindig in the UK.
The Walkabout has clubs across the UK, with the London venue found just a ‘stone’s throw’ from Temple Station in Central West London. They have planned an Australia Day packed full of fun, with beer and live music on top of the menu. The one thing that is always true of the Walkabout is that you will have a night to remember… if only you could.
Infernos – Clapham (TNT Party)
Infernos is another infamous club located in the heart of what may well later come to be known as ‘New Australia’ – Clapham. Another great place for late night fun and frolics, Infernos is a super club, big enough to house the entire population of Australia – almost.
For Australia Day, they are linking up with TNT to put on a huge party. With music coming courtesy of the Bondi Beach Bums and a general Aussie dress code in place, Infernos will be converted into an Aussie beach party-goer’s dream. The party will kick off early doors at 9am and continue through until 11pm on Sunday 26th January.
Gigalum – Clapham Common
Again located in ‘New Australia’, or Clapham, Gigalum has a great reputation for hosting exquisite DJ nights. It is Aussie-owned, and its beer garden and Ibiza-style terrace shows a certain tendency towards ‘al fresco’ vibes.
There is nothing yet especially planned for Australia Day, although major DJS, like Judge Jules, Nicky Romero, Sister Bliss and Norman Jay, are regulars at the weekend. It is thus likely to be a top venue for Australia Day celebrations.
Jetlag Bar – located just off Tottenham Court road, nr Fitzroy Square – is a great place to watch sport, eat good pub grub and have a few cheeky ‘tinnys’ or cocktails. For Australia Day, the bar – which is spread across two floors – will be having a special ‘Celebrate Everything Aussie’ day.
This will include films, food, drink and live music, stretching out across the entire weekend. The day will kick off on Saturday with an Oz movie marathon, with Australian rock cover band, Punching Preachers, performing later on to spice things up.
There will be a special Australian menu, with kangaroo steak, crab and lobster sliders, steak pie and pavlova, and lots of good Aussie beer. For those who want to catch up with Triple J’s Top 100, this will be available all day in the downstairs area.
The Church is renowned for its daytime drinking and they have teamed up with the Clapham Grand to provide the best Australia Day party and after-party possible.
The Bondi Beach Bums will again be dusting off their swimmers to make an appearance and, with special free entrance to the Clapham Grand to all those attending the Church earlier in the day, this all-day bonanza need not break the bank.
The cheap tickets – all 300 of them – have already sold out and standard tickets will cost £12. It is expected that 2000 revellers will attend in total. The Church event kicks off at 11am and runs on until 4pm – at this point, those with the stamina will head to New Australia (Clapham) for the after party.
Down Under Weekender
There is enough above to keep you entertained all weekend, but there are some more drawn out events to keep you going for the full two days also.
Australia House are hosting a weekend of sophisticated fun in order to celebrate Australia Day. The Gala Dinner on Saturday will see guest celebrating 100 years of Australian Antarctic exploration, with renowned Australian chef, Christian Honor, serving up a fantastic four course meal. The meal will be accompanied by the best Australian wine from the Treasury Wine Estates. Live music will be provided by Human Nature – Australia’s most successful male vocal group, who are being flown over especially by Qantas Airlines.
His Excellency the Hon Mike Rann, Australian High Commissioner, will present the Australia Day UK Awards for Australian of the Year, Honorary Australian of the Year and Young Australian Achiever of the Year.
Human Nature will perform once more on the Sunday, along with the world famous comedian Dame Edna Everage, in a showcase of Australian talent. Space is limited and you should book tickets now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the most popular hang outs for London’s Australian community, the Clapham Grand is also hosting an entire weekend of special events to celebrate Australia Day.
Saturday (25th January) is all about comedy, with some of Australia’s top comedy talent taking the stage. This includes Aussie comedian of the year, Colin Cole, as well as Benny Boot (Dave’s One Night stand), Felicity Ward (Time Out Comedy Award Winner) and the entertaining Pete Jonas. The evening will kick off at 8pm (doors open at 7pm) and finish at 10pm. Tickets are £15 in advance.
On the Sunday, movies and Triple Js top 100 will kick things off from 2pm. The evening will then get into full swing at 7pm, when once more the Bondi Beach Bums come to fill the revellers full of the Aussie spirit. As mentioned earlier, those attending The Church earlier in the day will get in for free. There are also competitions, hot food and quality drink offers running throughout the evening.