Concoctions at a masquerade ball at London’s Foundation Bar
London, England. The name conjures up a montage of old buildings and new neighborhoods, dry scones and wet weather. And let’s not forget the nightlife. Local pubs are a quintessential fixture of London after hours, as are uber-classy VIP venues. (In)famous multi-level techno powerhouses have been around for a while, leading Western Europe’s counter-culture-cum-hipster-punk scene. “Secret” underground parties from Great Gatsby-esque speakeasies to cozy parlors have also been analyzed, scrutinized and examined until they are no longer secret.
But for a global city that is constantly reinventing its vibe, there will always be new secrets to unveil. We’re letting readers in on another London secret—its student scene. University students are refashioning how Londoners party. For starters, about two-thirds of the student body at the London School of Economics (LSE) hail from outside the UK. (more…)
This is a round-up of our favorite links this week curated by the Untapped Cities’ staff includes the largest LED structure in the world, mimes in Paris nightlife and 22 historic photos of Domino when it was still a sugar factory.
The “Underbelly Project” Hidden Art Way Below the Street [The New York Times]
The Party Is Over at Gowanus Batcave, But a Reinvention Will Come Soon [The Gothamist]
22 Historic Photos of Domino When It Was Still a Sugar Factory [Curbed New York]
Weird News of the Week: Mimes and Paris Nightlife [Paris (Im)perfect]
The Largest LED Light Sculpture in the World on The Creators Project [The Creators Project]
Can floating architecture save this Nigerian slum? [Atlantic Cities]
Serbia’s One-Room Hut Has Sat on a Rock for Years [Curbed National]
There is nothing crazy about living in this former insane asylum [Curbed National]
The above image is probably not what the average traveler to Malaysia anticipates. While it is known as a moderate Muslim nation, Malaysia is still a place where the less conservative among us should err on the side of caution. Sex scenes in movies are heavily censored, risque performers like Lady Gaga are banned from our stages and yes, homosexuality can earn you a hefty fine or imprisonment. This is why we assured a gay friend who was visiting that there were “no gay bars in KL”. We still cringe at the memory.
Fortunately, Lorenzo had done his research. He insisted on taking us to Changkat, Kuala Lumpur’s bustling neon-lit nightlife hub.
Essential to survival in New York City is finding places where you can carve out your own space to momentarily escape the ever bustling city. The bars below not only represent well executed speakeasy experiences, clandestine entrances, and purveyors of well—crafted cocktails, but places that provide great evening refuges. When you’re done with these, discover more in our 2015 guide to NYC’s top hidden bars and check out our list of the Top 10 Hidden Restaurants in NYC, many which appear in the Untapped Cities authored book New York: Hidden Bars & Restaurants.
Boston is best known for sports colonial history, and a laidback vibe – but spend some time here, and it become clear that this is also a city that loves fine art, green spaces, and neighborliness. But even though Boston is known as a beautiful city, it is sadly a place where you can forget you’re on the water. If you don’t happen to be seeking out Boston Harbor, you’d be lucky to even glimpse the waterfront from most parts of downtown. But Mayor Mumbles, our reigning boy wonder (19 years as mayor and counting-and actually named Tom Menino), has taken it upon himself to change this, and it’s working. The waterfront is attached to the rest of Boston with a few short, pedestrian-friendly bridges, and yet you’d be forgiven for thinking it was miles out of the way.
Previously, the strip down by the World Trade Center or the Convention Center was, well”¦ dead. But with the birth of the Silver Line in 2002, extending public transit across the bridges (and confusing the hell out of everyone in the process-is it a bus? A train? It has its own lanes and runs underground! But it’s so clearly a bus!), this area has had a chance to grow into its own.
The Institute of Contemporary Art moved to Fan Pier on the waterfront at the end of 2006, and it was one of the biggest indicators that this neighborhood was on the rise. The ICA has brought in a rich program of both visual artists and performers. It has hosted everything from outdoor concerts on their dock to a diving competition in their watery front yard, and is currently hosting Os Gemeos, a Brazilian street art duo, in their first U.S. showing. More proof that the ICA is bringing a fun art culture to Boston? Os Gemeos has been putting murals up all over town, from painting an alleged Occupier on the Kennedy Greenway to a self-portrait on the side of the new Revere Hotel.
The waterfront is also a long-time artists’ neighborhood for other reasons. The old warehouses that populate this neighborhood-mainly holdovers from the days of the ship-based wool trade-have been largely turned into artists’ lofts and studios. A lively culture has surrounded the art walks and open studio events hosted in the neighborhood, and for artists and art-lovers the waterfront (and its neighboring micro-community of Fort Point) is the place to be seen.
Like the rest of America, Boston has seen food culture boom in the last fifteen or so years. While a visitor looking for classic New England fare will be spoiled for choice anywhere in the city, there are new restaurants popping up all the time, and the waterfront district has been the locus for larger spaces and vintage architecture, lending the scene down here a character of its own.
In 2011, Legal Seafoods-a Boston institution for fresh seafood-opened Legal’s Harborside, a multistory behemoth of a restaurant, right on the water near the World Trade Center. Near it is Del Frisco’s, home of the 32-ounce Wagyu steak (and Patriots players hungry enough for it), and a host of lounge spaces and eateries. There are also the old standby joints, like the mom-and-pop J. Pace and Sons, and plenty of booze at the Whiskey Priest, with a gorgeous patio hovering on stilts above the water.
Walk back a few blocks into Fort Point, and you’ll see the handiwork of Barbara Lynch, who has no fewer than three eateries on one block of Congress Street, all of them exuding style and providing amazing food-from the small plates and craft cocktails at Drink (where there’s no menu, just REALLY knowledgeable bartenders), to the glossy sheen of Sportello and the fine dining of Menton, Lynch has put her seal of approval on the district.
And after all that, if you still want chowda, head to the Barking Crab, the little run-down clam shack on Northern Avenue that is staunchly refusing to become anything classier than fried food and loud music.
Okay, it has a silly acronym-but the Boston Redevelopment Authority has been pouring its efforts into this neighborhood for years now, and though I am usually skeptical of large-scale development efforts (a post for another time”¦), I have to give credit to everyone at the BRA.
As early as 1999, they had targeted this area for some lovin’. Noting that it lacked public transit connections to the rest of the city, and was one of the last remaining spots with undeveloped waterfront real estate, the BRA set about turning all of this underused space into a usable public space. At this moment, there are still too many parking lots and too few green spaces, but there are at least five more years of intense development efforts ahead.
Businesses new and old are coming to the area, with the opening of a new multistory Asian fusion lounge called Empire, and the re-siting of Louis Boston, a luxury retailer, from over in the shopping mecca of Newbury Street in Back Bay. And there have been plenty of government-driven incentives for entrepreneurs to look here, in the form of tax relief and infrastructure financing.
And a central tenet of the redevelopment project has been to bring jobs into this area, which is especially important as it is closely connected with some of Boston’s less-affluent areas (yes, Ben Affleck, SOUTHIE!). The next step is to encourage people to move here, which is no easy task as the area still lacks basic amenities like pharmacies, supermarkets, or banks. But don’t worry, Mumbles is on the case, making sure that the area is rezoned for mixed commercial and residential use, in keeping with New England’s very neighborhood-friendly culture.
The proof is in the now-lively community spirit in this end of the city. In August, Fan Pier hosted Boston’s first ever Dîner en Blanc, which yours truly attended with Untapped arts editor. There have been wine tastings at the Seaport Hotel, diving competitions off the front of the ICA, and a revived concert schedule at the Bank of America Pavilion. Keeping green space, walkability, and independent business owners at the forefront of the waterfront development has all of us Bostonians hopeful that this district can reconnect us with the water and spur a new neighborhood of fun, artistic hangouts.