Many gathering promenaders would rather have a picnic at the foot of the boarded-up Albert Memorial than grow hot and footsore in the crowded and airless bars of the otherwise lovely Royal Albert Hall.

Not that they have many options, as Captain Fowke's magnificent arena was shortsightedly constructed in a part of London that is boozer's wasteland.

If your friend has got your ticket and you don't fancy loitering outside talking sopranos, your nearest lemon vodka can be found at the raffishly bohemian bar of the Polish Hearth Club.

Those with chronic salt deprivation and a taste for the authentic will naturally make a beeline for the tempting Herring in oil (pounds 2.50).

Normal people will settle for a glass of wine (pounds 2) and a plate of Polish sausage (pounds 3.80). 12.30-11pm daily.

Ognisko Polskie 55 Prince's Gate, Exhibition Road, SW7 (071 589 4635)

(Photograph omitted)