On The Agenda: Open House weekend; Curzon Cinemas' season of classics; Monkey Shoulder's Tree House Bar; Johnny Hawkes' Sphelix; Mills & Boon Guilty Pleasures Book Club

Why we fully intend to stroll around the Foreign Office fiddling with our Sphelix
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The Independent Culture


Ever wanted to stroll through the Italianate-style chambers of the Foreign Office, or see behind the scenes at the Dorchester hotel? Later this month London's biggest architecture festival, Open House, flings open the doors to hundreds of buildings across the capital. The variety on offer is phenomenal, from historical houses to private residences (check out Hackney's Sunken House, a wooden cube-shaped abode with a single slot window at the front). 19-20 September; some buildings can be booked in advance. www.londonopen house.org

Adam Jacques


It's not been a banner year for blockbusters. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, anyone? But that's no reason to avoid the big screen, especially now the defiantly indie Curzon Cinemas group is screening a month-long season of classics to celebrate its 75th anniversary, including Derek Jarman's frenetic Jubilee, Oscar-winning guilty pleasure Gigi and, today, a digitally enhanced version of Powell and Pressburger's The Red Shoes. www.curzoncinemas.com

Robert Epstein

Food & Drink

London is awash with pop-up bars at the moment (including the wonderful Bombay Sapphire Dusk Bar at Somerset House), yet we can't help but feel intrigued by whisky distiller Monkey Shoulder's Tree House Bar. Made from reclaimed whisky barrels, a central, raised bar area is connected to a series of surrounding seating pods via a wooden walkway. Vertigo suffers needn't fret: the entire structure stands just a metre off the ground. Open from Thursday until next Sunday at Brick Lane's Truman Brewery. www.trumanbrewery.com



Few of the curiosities that land on the Agenda desk have caused as much tactile pleasure as the Sphelix made by the British sculptor Johnny Hawkes (catch him at 100% Design London from 24-27 September). At first glance a perfect, two-toned rubber sphere the size of a cricket ball, one firm twist sees the object slide pleasingly apart into two spiral shapes – making it the thinking person's stress ball. £9.95, www.sphelix.com



Is it escapism that's fuelling the rise and rise of the fragrant publishing house Mills & Boon? It sold more than 200 million novels worldwide in 2008, and one year on from listing its catalogue online, downloads are on the rise too. One venue cashing in is the new Soho branch of London tea-shop chain Yumchaa. Tuesday evening sees the launch of its monthly Mills & Boon Guilty Pleasures Book Club, where you can debate the literary merits of your favourite bodice-ripping scene along with a Mills & Boon author guest speaker – and a nice cup of tea. www.yumchaa.co.uk, www.millsandboon.co.uk



Young Brit designer Oliver Spencer makes clothes for discerning gents, while soigné current-affairs mag Monocle sets their agenda, so a collaboration between the two is a meeting of minds of metrosexuality. On sale in his own boutiques and Monocle stores in London and New York, Spencer's limited-edition shirts are available in blue or white, and there are just 60 in each colour. With Spencer's signature slim cuff, a pen and passport breast pocket, and a side-seam pocket for cash, it has all the hallmarks of modern gallantry – so man up and wrestle one out of the shop. £95, www.oliverspencer.co.uk, www.monocle.com

Harriet Walker