You can always spot someone who’s just gotten a new haircut. They walk like they’re in an advert for Frosties. They stop in front of every single reflective surface. They smell of some amazing product made of honey and mermaid tears. Or, they’re the person running down Shoreditch High Street weeping with a bag over their head. But that’s for a different guide. This guide is about capitalising on that moment after a great new haircut when you’ve never looked, or felt, better. Here’s where to take your new look for dinner and drinks, because it would be rude to hide this level of good-looking from the general public.
A human being washed your hair for you and now you’ve got a taste for the good life. Really, the best way, the only way, to escalate your new diva-dom is a ‘press for champagne’ button. This entirely over the top restaurant in Soho is an excellent place to get classy drunk and people watch. Sorry, our mistake, have people watch you and your new ’do. Their French meets Russian food is good, and although there’s a lot of caviar on the menu, the beef wellington is the dish you really want to get involved in.
Our childhood hairdresser was called Gloria. We mostly associate her with our mum talking about a potential trip to Tenerife for two hours and praying we wouldn’t leave looking like the lovechild of Matilda and Tinky Winky. Again. But now, thanks to this stupidly fun Shoreditch trattoria, we associate the name Gloria with eating carbonara out of a parmesan wheel, thick lemon pie, and the kind of sexy Italian brunch we never knew we needed. Come here to perform the ultimate ‘yes, this is my real hair’ strut across their huge, 70s-feel dining room, followed many, many negronis.
Haircuts are an expensive undertaking, and that’s before you even factor in being tricked into shelling out an extra twenty quid on a conditioner that will ‘save you money in the long run’. How? We don’t know, something to do with split-ends and protein. But we do know that when you’ve just dropped a large percentage of your salary, it’s time to go to Brasserie Zedel. This all day French brasserie in Soho is very 1920s Paris with a big, grand dining hall, and, importantly, some very affordable food. The three course prix fixe menu means you can have some great steak without spending the rest of your rent.
This is the 21st century. If you’ve gotten a haircut and your camera roll isn’t full of pictures of your own gleaming face looking slightly cross-eyed with glee, then you’re doing it wrong. Now you just need the right background, the right brooding dusty pink lighting, and the right restaurant where no one will judge you for posing with your friends only to immediately crop them out. Kym’s is a lively, modern Chinese restaurant in the City with a huge fake cherry blossom tree towering above the bar. Yes, you guessed correct, this place understands being a bit of a show-off. But it doesn’t just have swish new profile picture potential, they also serve some pretty decent food, like the three treasures, the crispy duck, and a pineapple bun dessert you definitely want on your table.
Congratulations, you’ve finally recovered from being on the receiving end of an industrial amount of hairspray. Now you’re ready to drink some cocktails and eat some bao. This slick Taiwanese restaurant and cocktail bar in Marylebone has a sexy feel, and the kind of low red lighting that makes it feel like a bit of a scene. Expect some banging hoisin duck bao, and a datong negroni you shouldn’t miss.
Today someone massaged your skull for you and you felt like a beloved pet cat. How could today possibly get any better? Kerridge’s Bar and Grill, that’s how. This restaurant inside the Corinthia Hotel serves pricey, upmarket British classics like halibut and chips, rib of beef with gherkin ketchup, and a lobster thermidor omelette starter that’s ridiculously rich, tasty, and a casual £35. This place gets bonus points for having the kind of blindingly shiny cutlery that you can subtly check your hair out in every ten seconds or so. Perfect.
You did it. You only went and got a buzzcut. And now you feel like some sexy, futuristic extra in V for Vendetta. Or a protagonist in a progressive Eastenders Mitchell brothers special where Phil finally admits he has feelings. The point is, you feel great, and Rovi is a pretty perfect place for feeling great, and for feeling a little futuristic. This Fitzrovia spot serves middle-eastern inspired sharing plates inside a space that’s like a perfectly retro but still modern spaceship. The menu is all about fun, fresh takes on vegetable dishes, and whether you come here for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a few cocktails at the lovely bar, you’re pretty much guaranteed a good time. Plus, we once saw Louis Theroux here, and he’s arguably one of the great, unsung hair heroes of our time.
At 6.46pm today, your makeover entered the world. And since then, you’ve practiced your Oscars speech in the mirror four times, lip synced to every song containing the words ‘hair’, ‘gorgeous’, and basically the entire soundtrack to Hair The Musical. Frenchie is a restaurant as beautiful as you are. It’s a modern brasserie in Covent Garden that serves some seriously excellent food like a bacon and maple syrup scone, goat’s cheese manicotti, and a banoffee dessert that’s an absolute must order.
A new haircut, is a state of mind. Insecurity? Gone. Sadness? What sadness? Pure unadulterated joy and wonder? Absolutely. Much like your new haircut, Noble Rot is also a state of mind. This wine bar and restaurant in Bloomsbury just makes you feel good. Whether you swing by the bar for a bottle and some of London’s very best bread, or head for the dining room for a proper sit down meal, you’re always going to have a great night here.
The bar at The Palomar is one of the most fun places in the whole of London. Yes, we’re including Hyde Park, your local ’spoons, and your cool stoner mate’s kitchen in that statement. This Israeli sharing plates restaurant is buzzy, cool, and basically a party where the guest of honour is octopus hummus. And your hair, obviously.
Okay, so maybe you and the hairdresser weren’t entirely on the same page, unless that page was ‘make me look like a yeti that got trapped in a car wash’. Nevermind. As all of your friends keep repeatedly saying to you, ‘you just need to get used to it’. The unexpected barbecue-curry mash-up menu at Temper Soho might not sound exactly like your cup of tea when you first get here, but as soon as you try the cheeseburger tacos (yes, really), smoked meats, and cookie dough dessert you’ll be a convert. This place is loud, proud, and the location makes it perfect as a place to start a night out.
Is it normal to find yourself this good looking? Seriously, like, every time you catch yourself in the mirror you feel a bit turned on? Don’t stress, that crippling sense of self doubt that normally follows you around will be back in no time. Until then, head for upmarket Mayfair spot Park Chinois. This place is borderline ridiculous. It looks like the design brief was just the lyrics to ‘Money’ by Abba, but, crucially, it has many reflective surfaces and a mirror ceiling in the bar. That’s right, you can get a bit tipsy on botanical martinis whilst checking your hair out from every possible angle. It’s a miracle. The food here is very expensive (duh) and decent enough, but really you’re here to listen to the live brass band, and pretend you’ve just purchased your fourth private jet.
You need somewhere that is big enough and trendy enough to hold all your BHE (Big Haircut Energy). Greyhound Cafe is that place. Everything about this Fitzrovia spot is capital F Fashion. The menu looks a bit like a food focused issue of ID, the service is as aloof as a model that’s just been booked by McQueen, and the crowd is generally very good looking. Basically, this is the perfect place to debut your new look. Think of it as your own personal catwalk with some really great Thai food thrown in for good measure. Get the tataki tuna laab.
Sushi Atelier sounds kind of like a hairdressers for fish, but that’s not why we put it in this guide (picture a tuna with a quiff though, we dare ya). No, Sushi Atelier gets a place in the guide because eating great sushi when you’ve got brand new hair is just one of those combinations in life that works. This place on Great Portland Street serves an excellent 12 piece omakase, as well as a razor clam ceviche that arrives in its own smoke filmed dome. The best part is it’s all pretty affordable.
The clock is ticking. You’ve got approximately 18 hours remaining until either showering or sleeping ruins the peak glory of your new hair. You need to enjoy every possible second of attention before time runs out. Luckily, Martello Hall, a cool and casual spot in Hackney, is open until three at the weekend, giving you plenty of additional hours to bleed every last compliment out of this hair gel. This place is part bar, part pizza joint, serves some great margherita, and is always full of London Fields locals looking pretty cool. Just like you.
Some places are just cool. And when it comes to an evening out in London, there’s nowhere quite as casual and cool as P Franco. This wine bar in Clapton serves excellent seasonal food, and has the kind of atmosphere that can make you feel better, cooler, younger, bolder. Basically, you come here for all the same reasons you get a great new haircut.
You’ve just gotten a fringe, again, and you know that eventually you’re going to have to grow it out and it’ll be your own personal Waterloo. But you can’t waste your new hair thinking about your future, or whether in that future you’ll look like the love child of Liam Gallagher and that dog from the Dulux adverts. No, just head for a drink (or many) at Happiness Forgets in Shoreditch. It’s a great, casual bar that serves excellent cocktails, and has the kind of atmosphere that turns one drink into several. It’s a small spot and always pretty crowded, so it’s a good idea to book ahead if you want a table.
Haircuts are fun. Sitting in front of your own reflection under interrogation-style lighting whilst wearing a gown for an hour, is not. Now is the time for some amnesia-inducing cocktails. Now is time for some far less aggressive lighting. Now is the time for Nightjar. This Shoreditch speakeasy has a short menu of bar snacks like truffle mash croquette and tartare tostada, but really you come here for the excellent drinks and the nightly jazz band later in the evening. Hot tip: this place is busy so book a table at the same time as booking your hair appointment.
It turns out that you’re not getting sick, you do still love your partner, and you definitely don’t need to quit your job. You were just in dire need of that haircut you kept forgetting to book for the last three months. What a relief. Celebrate at upscale Indian spot Bombay Bustle in Mayfair. This place has some really excellent lamb chops, malabar chicken wings, and a dum nalli biryani that you definitely want on your table. The space is designed to look like a shiny Mumbai train carriage with a whole lot of plush fabric, and is quite the setting for a hair flick or two.