The September 2022 Guide to the Best Places in London

·5 min read

The mood of London has dampened in light of Queen Elizabeth II’s death and the cost-of-living crisis, but despite these events, the capital city is still moving forward by doing what it does best: new openings with meaningful stories. September sees the city take on an international lens with the likes of Italian operas, Japanese restaurants, South African art and many more.

What to see…

The Art of Movement, Van Cleef & Arpels

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A Van Cleef & Arpels ballerina clip from 1952
A Van Cleef & Arpels ballerina clip from 1952.

The 116-year-old French jewelry company Van Cleef & Arpels is hosting a free display at the Design Museum beginning Sept. 23 of more than 100 creations from its patrimonial collection and numerous archive documents. The exhibition is divided into four parts: Nature Alive, Dance, Elegance and Abstract Movements. Featured items on display include the Zip necklace, with a “zipper” that can turn it into a bracelet; a 1941 clip of a dancer decorated with diamonds, rubies and emeralds, and the 1929 Leaf secret watch, where the dial sits behind three sapphire-set leaves.

William Kentridge

William Kentridge,
“Colleoni” by William Kentridge, 2021.

South African artist William Kentridge is bringing his early work of the apartheid regime of the ’80s to the Royal Academy of Arts beginning Sept. 24, as well as his large-scale productions and animations. This is Kentridge’s biggest display in the U.K. with never-before-seen pieces and new commissioned art for the exhibition.

Hallyu! The Korean Wave

The Peony dress, by Miss Sohee, 2020 graduation collection, 'The Girl in Full Bloom'. Photograph by Daniel Sachon
The Peony dress by Miss Sohee.

It’s all about South Korea’s popular culture at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The exhibition opening Sept. 24 traces the impact K-pop and K-drama have had on the larger culture, from fashion, music to beauty. Hallyu translates to Korean Wave, a movement partly driven and funded by the South Korean government in the ’90s. The exhibition will feature the “Gangnam Style” singer Psy; the peony dress from Miss Sohee, and artwork from the likes of “Parasite” and “Squid Game.”

Where to eat…

Scott’s

Ian Fleming’s favorite restaurant, Scott’s is opening a second branch in Richmond by the bank of the River Thames. The venue, scheduled to open Sept. 26, will be across two floors with a crustacean bar serving oysters, wine, Champagne and cocktails and the upstairs will be introducing a host of DJs every Thursday to Saturday.

Koyn

koan
Just off Grosvenor Square, Koyn will take square feet around the former U.S. Embassy.

The glamorous entrepreneur Samyukta Nair is adding Koyn, a new Japanese restaurant, to her suave portfolio that includes Mayfair’s Jamavar, MiMi Mei Fair and Bombay Bustle. Just off Grosvenor Square, Koyn, scheduled to open this month, will occupy a space near the former U.S. Embassy. She’s called on the help of executive chef Rhys Cattermoul, previously at The Greenhouse and Nobu. The restaurant will have two themes, alpine green for the ground floor and volcanic for the lower basement.

The Cross

London’s famed The Cross nightclub that opened in 1993 and closed on New Year’s Day 2008 is getting a revival. It promises a 360-degree view of London from the rooftop terrace with the slogan for the new opening being “drink, dine, dance.”

Bantof

Bantof, a new restaurant and cocktail opening in Soho
Bantof, a new restaurant and cocktail opening in Soho.

From Greek koulouri with yogurt and egg to black truffle pizza — Bantof, a new restaurant and cocktail opening in Soho, is all about embracing the local area. Cocktails on the menu are named after prominent Soho landmarks or personalities. Heading up the kitchen will be chef Asimakis Chaniotis, who is also the leading man at the Michelin-starred Pied a Terre restaurant in London’s Fitzrovia.

What to watch…

The P Word

The P Word at the Bush Theatre.
The P Word at the Bush Theatre.

“The P Word” at the Bush Theatre is a tale of two gay Pakistani men who lead parallel lives. The first, Zafar, has just fled his home country due to homophobic persecution, while Bilal (who prefers to be known as Billy) has been grated by gay dating apps. Both face the challenges of being Pakistani gay men in the U.K.’s political climate.

Madama Butterfly 

Italian composer Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Madama Butterfly”
Italian composer Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Madama Butterfly” at the Royal Opera House.

Italian composer Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Madama Butterfly,” which opened in 1904 at La Scala in Milan, has now been adopted by the Royal Opera House. It’s a tragic love story of a young geisha, Cio-Cio-San, who is the bride of American naval officer Lieutenant Pinkerton, who runs away shortly after their marriage and returns three years later with an American wife, Kate. Pinkerton learns that he has a son and the broken couple fight to keep him. “Madama Butterfly” is the sixth most performed opera in the world.

Blues for an Alabama Sky

Blues for an Alabama Sky
Samira Wiley in “Blues for an Alabama Sky”

Samira Wiley, the star of “Handmaid’s Tale” and “Orange Is the New Black,” is taking the stage at the National Theatre in the revival of Pearl Cleage’s play “Blues for an Alabama Sky.” It’s set in ’30s Harlem where the great renaissance is on the brink of failing as the Great Depression looms. The play takes inspiration from the work of Tennessee Williams, but with a fresh perspective on Black America.

Who Killed My Father?

who killed my father
French literary sensation Édouard Louis’ 2020 book “Who Killed My Father?” is making its West End debut.

French literary sensation Édouard Louis’ 2020 book “Who Killed My Father?” is making its West End debut, adapted and directed by the award-winning Ivo van Hove, who has taken Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge” and “The Crucible” to the stage. This play, at the Young Vic through Sept. 24, acts out the tumultuous relationship between Louis and his father. He returns to the rural village in the north of France where he grew up to find his father dying.

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