What's My Weekend: Ben Hart

Where would a magician hang out in London?




 If I'm not performing on a Friday night, I like to seek out new bars. Bar Story, above (213 Blenheim Grove, London SE15 4QL, 020 7635 6643,),  under the arches by Peckham Rye station, is one of my favourites, with its young, artistic crowd and good (and cheap) cocktails.

I love the Soho Theatre (21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE, 020 7478 0100). Shows are often only an hour, so after seeing a comedian or a play, there is still plenty of time for a drink in the bar.  


Nearby is Bocca di Lupo, above  (12 Archer Street, London W1D 7BB, 020 7287 5555), which is brilliant for small plates of amazing regional Italian food  perfect for sharing,  Brasserie Zedel (20 Sherwood Street, Soho, London W1F 7ED, 020 7734 4888), is great if you want to drink and eat in one spot. It's like going back in time, and the Bar Americain is a dark time-capsule with delicious cocktails. It's easy to spend hours here, although it is vaguely reminiscent of the hotel bar in The Shining…. 


Photo of Oliver Spencer

As soon as I wake up, I'll usually head to a gallery or museum. I love to take friends to the less well-known places, such as the Hunterian Museum (35-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PE, 020 7869 6560),  at The Royal College of Surgeons. It's a museum of pickled body parts and animals, but once you're over the initial shock, it's completely fascinating. It's especially fun taking friends who are easily freaked out!


Directly opposite the Hunterian Museum is the John Soane museum (13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3BP, 020 7405 2107 ). It has a strange collection of old and valuable objects collected by neo-classical architect Sir John Soane. It's a step back in time when you walk through the door - you're even asked to leave your technology at the door with security. It's completely magical inside.

I'm obsessed with vintage clothes and old things, so I'll often visit a market. Camden Market , above (Camden High Street, London NW1 8NH, 020 3763 9999 ) is a good bet for people-watching and all kinds of exotic street food.

Soho has really good shops for menswear. I walk up Berwick St, always stopping in Oliver Spencer (81 Berwick Street, London, Soho W1F 8TW, 020 7287 1310) , where I seem to like everything.

Just a few doors up is another menswear shop that I love called Percival (43 Berwick Street, London, W1F 8SB, 020 7734 4533), which is good for timeless, quality, stylish pieces, all made in London.  I can't resist a bit of tweed or wool. 

Then I have to pop into the hidden-away tea room, Soho Secret Tea Room (Coach & Horses, 29 Greek Street, London, W1D 5DH, 020 7437 5920),  above the Coach and Horses pub. They serve delicious and unusual tea and cakes – including dairy free and vegan.

If I can face the crowds, I like to window shop around Bond St, stopping in at Burberry (21-23 New Bond St, London, W1S 2RE, 020 7980 8425), for the latest tailoring and accessories.

If you can find a space, Gordon's Wine Bar  (47 Villiers Street, London WC2N 6NE, 020 7930 1408) - London's oldest - is great for a glass of wine (which is all they sell) in atmospheric surroundings. It's  like being in an old wine cellar. You can clear your head afterwards with a walk along the river


I like to get  bit of fresh air on a Sunday, and I love Greenwich as there is  plenty of open space. Greenwich Market, above  (5b Greenwich Market, London SE10 9HZ, ) is always worth a look, and the Royal Observatory (Blackheath Avenue, London SE10 8XJ, 020 7222 1234) and Greenwich park are lovely when the sun's out.

The Junk Shop (9 Greenwich S St, London SE10 8NW, 020 8305 1666),  is a fun place to check out: one man's junk is another man's treasure, and there's always something interesting here, and don't miss the café out the back which is open during warmer months.

Oliver's Jazz Bar (Spread Eagle Yard, 9 Nevada Street, London SE10 9JL, 0208 858 3693),  is my Sunday night go-to for ajazz blue nd a chilled drink - the perfect way to round off the weekend.  


Ben Hart is a magician and magic-designer. He lives in London where he performs, writes and invents magic, creating special-effects and impossible illusions for theatre, film and television.

As a performer, his work has taken him to some of the world's top nightspots, theatres and private parties  and he has performed for the likes of Tracey Emin and Grayson Perry.  He was nominated for the Time Out and Soho theatre TO&ST cabaret award 2013.

His 2014 show, The Vanishing Boy, was a sell-out success at the Edinburgh Fringe and he starred in the BBC Three series, Killer Magic, on BBC Three earlier this year.

He will next be starring in West-End show 'Impossible' running at the Noel Coward Theatre from 24th July to 29th August.

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