Archive for December, 2010

It’s pronounced “Lester”, you know like Worcester is pronounced “Wooster.” No matter how much disdain you have for the spelling it wont take away from its AWESOMENESS! Leicester Square is basically party central! It has more clubs and bars than you know what to do with. Now if you’re by yourself, or with one other person, I highly recommend a pub crawl! Here is why a pub crawl is a good choice: A. It’s really easy to meet people, because once you’ve left the first bar, you know who you’ll be surrounded by the rest of the night. B. You get VIP access to every bar or club they decide to take you to. C. Most importantly you get free or discounted drinks. This is key! Because you can either spend $15 for the pub crawl, and most likely another $15 for drinks. Or you’ll end up paying cover charges, waiting in lines, and spending full price on each drink. So it could be as much as $100 vs. $30.  (And yes I converted it out of pounds for you).

So here’s where we went:

The first bar hardly counts. It was more of a meeting place. Get your wristband, hang out. If you get there early, you’ll have time to mill about if you need to get some quick cash or a snack. But don’t stray too far, you want to be there for all the good stuff.

Stop two: Verve. This was nice, because we had all just become acquainted, and Verve has very little to distract you from being social. It’s a well to do crowd that loves red lighting. The bar is hip and modern, playing popular music, with reasonable staff.

Stop Three: Ruby Blue. This bar was strangely shaped. We stayed near the entrance, because there was a lot of space. However, we realized the bartenders constantly had to run by us. The bar was also very short. It was more of a lounge place. Which made it inconvenient to grab drinks or talk to the bar tenders. They did have nice cider though. And it was quiet enough that you could almost hear each other.

Stop Four: Oxygen. This place was more rustic, with some really interesting shots. People were trying all kind of crazy things. I tried taquilla with tabasco sauce. It was kind of wild. But I would probably never have one again. At this point in the night, people started trying to use the restrooms, which was a mistake. Since there was only one stall, and a lot of patrons, people started peeing in the sink. So plan on not being able to wash your hands….

Stop Five: Zoo Bar. This was a great place to end the night. Their shots are very sweet tasting, like lemon drops and kamikazes and such. More importantly there was a big dance floor downstairs. It had a very techno vibe to it, with lots of light effects. This is the best kind of club dancing, because no one can really see you being ridiculous. Unfortunately there was no where to put your belongings.

A couple of tips. There are lots of people promoting their clubs. So if you get separated, just keep track of where your party was heading. Then keep your ears open until you run across the club promoter for where you need to be. They aren’t always a fan of being your chauffeur, but it makes navigating a cinch.  And keep a good eye on your belongings. If you happen to lose a wallet *cough*… odds are no one really wants your cards, just the cash. So check back later to see if its been returned. And if you want to budget for a taxi to take you home, that’s not a bad idea either. The tube closes this late at night, and walking will certainly be tiring.

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Standing room is for kids!

Posted: 13 December 2010 in Europe, Sweden

I love hockey. I really do. I used to root against the Rangers, but since MSG is the only hockey-playing-channel I have, they eventually grew on me. So clearly when I head to Sweden and run into hockey fans, it becomes apparent that I need to make my way to a game. It just so happened there was a game to see in Stockholm our second weekend there. I’m used to sporting events costing a pretty penny, but these tickets were only $30! And they were prime location. Granted the arena is a lil smaller than Madison Square Garden, but that’s ok.

So here’s where it gets interesting. When I went to buy the tickets there was a section called “Active Seating.” It is designed for young, really excited fans, who want to stand, cheer, and sing, for three straight hours! Not kidding. We decided sitting down was ok for us. The little people (children) could stand in our spirit. They also warned non-fans, or people who supported the other team, should avoid this section. Now… knowing what happens at Raider’s games, I was convinced if we were found out as newbies to this game, we would probably get stabbed. Then I remembered, it’s Sweden so I’d probably be ok or at least end up with a small hospital tab.

Getting to the event was a task. Only because up to this point we had not taken the subway. The subway takes a minute to figure out. But we left with plenty of time, and we only circled the station for about ten minutes. Once we got on the train, it took all of ten minutes and we had arrived. Needless to say, getting home was cake. Once at the game, before they opened the arena doors, you could get souvenirs and hang at the bar. You know, the usual stuff. And the bar was actually pretty nice. It even came with bouncers. We weren’t entirely sure why they had bouncers… my mind wandered back to stabbings.

Now when they say that you’ll end up standing in the active seating for the entire game. They aren’t kidding. No, no, they stand. They sing too. There seems to be a fight song for every kind of play. There is also a cover of all major pop songs to be used as creative fight songs as well. All in all, it was kind of awesome. It’s certainly an experience. So when you go Stockholm, you should definitely keep a hockey game high on the list. Did I mention kids are free?

http://www.difhockey.se

A museum just for dance? No way!

Posted: 10 December 2010 in Europe, Sweden

The Dans Museet in Stockholm is one of the coolest museums I have ever been to, not just because I’m a dancer, but also because it was free! I know that sounds wretched, to be excited about freebies, but honestly, free stuff is awesome! Aside from that aspect. . . dance is also awesome! When you go to the museum–as opposed to ‘if’–there are three things for you to do.

First: Take a stroll. The museum houses traditional costumes from around the world. When I say around the world, I mean everywhere! They have elaborate costumes from every single country that has a folk dance worthy of note. There are costumes for kathak and bharata natyam, Thai dance, Chinese, Japanese No, African tribes from every part of the continenent, and yes of course there were tutus! It is just mind blowing. Any collegiate dancer has certainly seen their share of videos and photographs, but it is quite another thing to see the detail up close. There wasn’t a style of dance or a country I could think of that was not represented there. I would say “well I bet they don’t have [fill in the blank]” and there it would be. Truly a collection to be in awe of.

Second: Have a seat. There is a video projection playing all kinds of different dance segments. It plays archives from famous ballet companies, original performances of Balanchine and Ballet Ruses. It then segues into contemporary companies. Not only companies on the stage, but also dance made exclusively for film. It also features the extraordinary amount of dance present in Sweden. I had no idea there were so many prolific companies. There was the Royal Opera Ballet, K. Kvostrom & Co., and the Colbert Ballet–which isn’t actually ballet… more modern, but that’s beside the point. They also showed a dance piece filmed in the airport! Because yes, Arlanda airport has hardwood floors and lots of space.

Third: Take a new seat. Every hour or so you can enter the private viewing room. This time around they were showing the life and times of Mikhail Baryshnikov. If you’ve never seen him dance before, this is the perfect time to get a taste. There were certainly a lot of non-dance tourists there, who were more than amused when I decided to strike a pose under the entrance sign… point being, anyone could really enjoy this museum. It is also small enough that your less than agreeable friends wont have to suffer for long.

I could have stayed there for hours! In fact, I think I did stay there for hours. And as I mentioned before… it’s free, free, free! Not every museum in Sweden was free, but some of the most interesting happened to be. This museum also happens to be located in the center of town. You’re welcome tourists. I recall a very long bus ride to the Matisse museum in Nice, only to discover that I did not care for Matisse. This we came upon by accident, because it was on our usual route from our hotel to breakfast.

So what are you waiting for? Go to Stockholm!  Ok… well maybe it’s really cold at the moment. But, Go for spring break! Cancun is overrated.

“Get On Tapas” Stockholm!

Posted: 8 December 2010 in Europe, Sweden

Although famed for its meatballs, Sweden, like most modern countries, boasts far more options of cuisine in its capitol city of Stockholm. And to our great surprise we happened upon one of its best: Tabac!

Tabac is a Spanish Tapas bar in the heart of Gamla Stan (Old Town). Situated at the south end of the restaurant laden main street, it easy to find and easy to get to. Stockholm is notorious for its high-priced drinks and food, but this restaurant has premium dishes without breaking the bank. The key is in the tapas! Each one is delectable, and two can suffice as entire meal! I would even venture to say that three could pass for two people. For my veggie friends, I hope you like cheese. The grilled chêvre with pine nuts and honey is to die for! So are the fried artichoke with zesty aioli dip. Also try the steamed asparagus, or the fried mozarella!  If you have a hankering for meat, the jambon y machenga is sensational! Or at least so my sister has said. But nothing truly compares to the delectable Sangria! I don’t know how they do it, but it is amazing! They start with Spanish wine, which is clearly a good start, and add a typical amount of rum and other alcohols, throw in a lot of fruit, and season it with grenadine! Yes, grenadine. Their signature mixture is rich and thick, almost like a bloody mary. Its not icy and watery, which occurs so often in this part of the world.

We must have visited this place every night! So, if you are in the mood for some fantastic food, check out Tabac of Stockholm. You wont regret it.

Café Tabac

Stora Nygatan 46 – 11127 STOCKHOLM

Number (Whilst in Sweden): 08-101534