J. Kelly Hoey

Travel trend or simply the hot work reality for a growing generation of freelancers, entrepreneurs, (and yes, employees with side-hacks), frequent travelers are mixing R&R with how they are earning a living. It’s a trend that is increasing a lifestyle choice, not completely a business necessity (according to travel insights site Skift). So whether you are a remote worker or freelancer or digital nomad looking for a change of scenery or simply someone looking for collaborative space and great WiFi (plus opportunity to network like the locals) here are the how to and where insights on networking in London.

Name: Monica Parker, Founder, HATCH Analytics Location: A resident of London, England for the past 7 years, Monica says “I love the expression that when you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life. That’s how I feel about living here. I also love that I don’t need a car here. A walkable city allow for you to always be absorbing and learning about your home.”

Monica’s stomping ground is Soho and here are her recommendations:

· Best power breakfast: The Modern Pantry

· For the business lunch: Monica is a member at Home House. Other spots around Soho she recommends are the Berners Tavern or Randall & Aubain.

· The “only locals know this place” to start the day: J&A Cafe (the scrummiest baked goodies according to Monica).

· Mid-day meeting place: A walking meeting along Southbank.

· Socializing early-birds: Super early birds can go to Smithfields Market for a meaty breakfast (or a pint) with the butchers as they end their night shift.

· Work options for night-owls: The Hoxton Hotel is a groovy spot to work undisturbed, as is the Andaz (bonus, according to Monica is both have great cocktails). Another option is Dean Street Townhouse (during the week though, as on weekends it can be busy).

· Best end-of-work day retreat: A London pub of course! London pub culture is unlike anywhere else. In the summer, it’s hanging on the pavement. In the winter, tucked away in a snug. Monica’s favorite local is the Queens Head & Artichoke.

· Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Cafe Istanbul in the Great Portland Street tube station.

· Local coffee shop: Tap Coffee on Wardour Street.

· Favorite local bar: Monica’s favorite is Vagabond on Charlotte Street (wine bar), and exclaims that the best cocktail bar EVER is unexpectedly in the Melia White House hotel off Great Portland Street. Dry Martini by Javier de las Muelas in the Melia has a bible of martini options and the bartenders all wear smart coats giving the impression they are mad scientists. Monica says to ask for Martin to make you a Celery Martini.

And Monica’s fit-in-like-a-local suggestions:

· To seek inspiration: All the free museums in London. Check out Switch House at The Tate (“one of the most beautiful public spaces, complete with a balcony viewing platform”) or photography exhibitions at the Royal Geographic Institution. Also enjoy the buskers in the Tube stations (“a great happiness top-up in the middle of a hectic day”).

· Wardrobe and business essentials: A good collapsible umbrella, stylish trench, and a smart pair of flat boots (“it’s easy to get your 10,000 steps in London if you have the right shoes!”).

· Events for combining work and play: How to Academy or events put on by the Oxford Martin School.

· Co-working space: The British Museum. Also, work.life and the Timberyard.

· Free wifi: All Pret-a-Mangers have free wifi.

· Place to unplug and recharge: The Royal Parks. Monica’s personal favorite is Regents Park (“at the top of the park you can get the best view of London from Primrose Hill”).

· Don’t miss: The V&A (“from the jaw-dropping Chihuly in the entrance hall to the William Morris Tea Rooms”).


Monica’s last local word:

Every neighborhood has a different energy and networking scene. City and Canary Wharf are more formal, Shoreditch is the techie “Silicon Roundabout” and Soho attracts the creatives. Lately, there has been a move away from the typical “drink and tiny food” networking model to more interactive networking like walking or drawing.

In London, always look up! When rushing around looking for the address of the next meeting most of us miss the tops of the buildings (“the detail of Victorian buildings gives a great sense of place”).

Citymapper app is a must. Always spot on with travel routes and times, as the tube map can be a misleading for newbies.

And, mind the gap!

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