9 Counterintuitive Pop-Ups London Is Sure To Get If This Demented Trend Continues

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9 Counterintuitive Pop-Ups London Is Sure To Get If This Demented Trend Continues

We've had the meat-free butcher, the vegan cheesemonger and an alcohol-free pub called the Clean Vic. What other contrarian pop-ups and experiences can Londoners expect next?

Baps Out: the bun-free burger van

You know what's wrong with burgers? The bread. Nobody wants the bread, least of all those on a gluten-free diet. Our delicious, wheat-dodging patties are instead sandwiched between two thinner patties, deeply griddled for maximum grip.

We need to say patty three more times because, even though nobody ever uses the word patty in real life, it is obligatory to keep saying patty in any burger-related press release.

Service without a smile: The General Zod Tearooms

London has too many twee cafes. Time to serve elevenses with an iron fist. Head chef General Zod brings an authoritarian hand to this Shoreditch eatery that is at once both refreshing and menacing.

Customers must kneel before the counter and beg for their food. Want a coffee? Lex Luthor, Ruler of Australia, will activate the machine. Remember: General Zod does not take orders. He gives them. Kneel. KNEEL before Zod.

The swimming pool without any water

Central London's car parks have suffered a dwindling customer base in recent years, but one enterprising Shoreditch lot has found a new revenue stream, or at least a trickle. A third of the car park has been excavated to form a 25-metre long pool — perfect for those long, hot summers.

But here's the catch. The location does not have its own mains water supply. Customers must bring their own — by flask, bottle or barrel — to contribute to the growing tank. Early-season bathers can expect little more than a paddling pool, while those arriving in late August might be a little more buoyant. Prey for heavy rain.

The Square Mile wine bar without any braying wankers

Business failed due to lack of custom.

The petrol-free garage

Opening in Shoreditch soon, this classic garage pumps out fuel alright, but not of the petrochemical persuasion. Cyclists are invited to pull into the forecourt and fill their bottles with energy drinks from one of the three branded pumps. Choose between Lemon Lucozip, Isotonic Bullwaz or Negative-sugar Zipzade.

Suspenders: The hotel with no beds

Suspenders revives the spirit of a mid-19th century East End doss house. Guests do not lie down but must instead dangle by their armpits from a repurposed washing line. Each rope can accommodate up to 20 sleepers at a fixed price. A surcharge must be paid by fat people because they cause the rope to sag unduly, to the detriment of everyone else's comfort. This one's in Shoreditch.

The Hackney Inconvenience Store

To reach this not-so-handy corner shop, the aspiring customer must scale a crumbling wall onto the old Shoreditch Viaduct, scramble through brambles and Himalayan balsam, avoid a hive of tracker jacker wasps, climb another wall, and then negotiate with a truculent doorman. The Hackney Inconvenience Store might be fun if it weren't such an obvious rip-off from an old Simpson's gag.

The Shoreditch Meta-Tour

It's impossible to walk around E1 without bumping into either a street art tour or a Jack the Ripper tour. So join us on the Shoreditch Meta-Tour.

Your professionally unqualified guide will point out all the key tour groups working their way around the area. Stop to observe a party of Italian exchange students as they are introduced to the shutter art of Ben Eine; watch from a corner as two rival Ripper tours jostle for precedence at an old murder site. We'll even show you how to spot an adventurous Shakespeare tour, on its way to inspect the Curtain Road theatre locations.

In peak season, why not try our Shoreditch Meta-Meta-Tour, on which your guide will also point out the various Shoreditch Meta-Tour groups on the hunt for other tours.

The ticket office that does not dispense tickets

Handily found at most London Underground stations.

Last Updated 18 February 2020