London’s Fabulous Venues

16th April 2018

London is blessed with lots of fabulous event venues.  Quirky, historic, modern, industrial conversions, studios, lofts, docks, boats, churches, basements, parks and palaces.  Oh, and the odd hotel.  We love them all, from Loft Studios in Kensal Green, West London to Kachette in Shoreditch .  No one venue is ‘best’ because there are so many variables: type and size of event, AV needed, dry or wet hire, exact location, load in and out times, cost, guest expectations, ‘we used that last year’ and the rest.  We’ve also got fantastic caterers, great mixologists and generally a wealth of event expertise.  If you need to run an event, of all the cities in all the world, London is right up there at the top for style and innovation.  Lucky old us.

 

Close-up of Water Splashing in Drinking Glass

Listen Up, It’s Linen Time

13th April 2018

Oh my goodness, if there is one area that drives our customers crazy,  it’s working out what size of linen they need.  We’re not talking napkins here, we’re talking cloths.  We think the cloth-size industry has got its standard sizes (rectangular only, round and square are fine) wrong but it would be the event equivalent of changing the qwerty keyboard to make a change.  So we’re all stuck with what we’ve got.  So what have we got?

First, while most of us went metric a goodly while ago, much of cloth and table measurements still operate in feet and inches.  Like we buy petrol in litres and measure road distances in miles.  So first, here’s a conversion chart from imperial to metric for the standard cloth sizes.

Dimensions in Imperial and Metric
  Rectangle
inches 108 x 70 144 x 70 144 x 90  
cms 270 x 178 365 x 178 365 x 230  
  Round
inches 90” 108” 120” 132”
cms 230 270 300 330
  Square
inches 54 x 54 70 x 70 90 x 90  
cms 138 x 138 180 x 180 230 x 230  

Working in inches, then the round and square cloth-for-table is straightforward.  But for a standard table 6ft long x 2ft 6″ wide and 2ft 6″ high, there isn’t a perfect size which falls to the floor all the way round but doesn’t need a degree in fabric management to box it in.  Here’s the fit/fall guide:

Rectangle Tables (Imperial Measurements)
  Standard 6 ft Trestle (30” wide, 30” high)
Cloth 108 x 70 144 x 70 144 x 90  
Gap 12” all round Floor at short side

12” on long side

Box in all round  
  Hi Top 6ft Trestle (30” wide, 36” high inc extenders)
Cloth 144 x 90      
Gap Floor all round      
  4ft Trestle (30” wide, 30” high)
Cloth 108 x 70 90” square    
Gap Floor at short side

12” on long side

9” at short side

Floor on long side

   
  2ft 6” Square Table (All dimensions 30”)
Cloth 70” square 90” square    
Gap 10” all round Floor all round    

What we really need is a cloth 132″ x 90″.  You might think that is a great little gap in the market but lots of people must have thought that about the qwerty keyboard. Probably easier to change gravity than cloth sizing.

Why Is It So Hard To Find Alternatives For Plastic Straws?

1st November 2017

We would really like to stop stocking plastic straws, but we do need to offer customers an alternative.  We just need long straws in clear (or white) and black, and black sip straws.  Paper alternatives all seem to be striped and we have added a few of those but they don’t suit every event.  The black and white stripe ones we’ve added are a great look but we can only find them in one size.  Bio-degradable straws come in green.  We have tracked down a black paper alternative but they are 10 times – yes, 10 times – the price of plastic.  We were prepared for a price hike and hoped to persuade customers the environmental benefits are worth it, but at 10x the price, we’re not confident we’d win that argument.  The price differential in paper vs. plastic plates is 2-3 times, so what is it with straws?

So, come on someone.  Manufacture some recyclable / compostable straws that won’t choke turtles at a price that won’t choke consumers.  

Canapes May Not Be The New Black, But They Remain Stylish and Delicious

21st April 2017

The thing about canapes is that they are a soft target for the unconvinced.  Some of us could happily eat 10 canapes and not bother with a main.  Maybe a light starter and a dessert if really peckish but the canapes are the best bit.  Cones, blinis, morsels on a spoon, a shot of soup or something lovely on a skewer – who needs meat and 2 veg.  Unbelievers see canapes as fiddly, a distraction from the main event, a bit of food tomfoolery for the finnicky and faddy.  And they do take time to make, certainly a lot longer in terms of hours per square centimetre than a piece of fish and a few chips.  But to those chefs who create and produce these gorgeous bites, we salute your endeavours.  Canapé Cone Tray Perspex White 72

How to Be Chilled About Cooling

6th April 2017

You can cool drinks in a fridge, a behind-the-scenes receptacle, a display bucket or on the tabletop.  Our favourite is probably the beautiful glass single bottle chiller .  It is perfect for fizz: champagne, cava, prosecco or an English rose.  No so suitable for getting large quantities down to the right temperature.  For that, you’ll need an ice tub for back-of-house or perhaps a galvanised steel ice bucket or or classic champagne bucket for display to guests.

Tall fridges take 20-30 bottles of wine depending on how good you are at packing them in and whether they need to be on display of just get cold.  Under-the-counter size isbest for beer.  Try and get the hire delivered the day before your event so the fridge can get properly chilled before you fill it up.  Not always possible, that’s the nature of event hire.

Champagne Bucket Glass SingleGalvanised Steel Cooling BucketIce Tub 69 litres

 

We Take American Express

15th March 2017

A lot of our customers like to pay by card and we like to try and do anything that makes customers’ lives easier.  So we take all major cards, including Amex.  That’s all for this post.  Just wanted to highlight the Amex thing.

Why are Chafing Dishes so Under-appreciated?

15th March 2017

electric chafing dishIn the long list of global, domestic and local crises, the social status of chafing dishes isn’t going to make it on to anyone’s worry list.  Still, we’re flying a flag for them.  People almost hire them reluctantly, like you shouldn’t need a chafing dish if you are a proper cook or chef, having a proper event.  Often, there’s a slight tinge of embarrassment when they appear on an order.  But they are so useful!  Appearance-wise, they’re not going to give crystal glassware a run for its money but then your average crystal glass doesn’t keep a meal for 40 people hot, does it?

Traditional chafing dishes – actually, maybe it’s the name that puts people off, who likes a word like ‘chafing’ – are heated by gel pods, and electric ones just plug in to a standard socket.  The heat warms a bath of water and the food is kept at serving temperature.  Perfect for waiter or self service.  So if you’re running a buffet, give these kitchenware Cinderellas a chance to join the party.

Outside at Smaller Events

2nd March 2017

It’s the smokers, generally, that get hosts thinking about ‘oh, what if it’s cold?’.  The rest of us will stay indoors in the warm but smokers get turfed in to the night air, rain or not, generally – so they would have us believe – setting the world alight not only with their puff of choice but their repartee, dark, wry humour and sharp intelligent repartee.  The rest of us, whose addictions may be many or deadly but don’t include nicotine, get left fuddy-duddying in dry living rooms talking about school runs or the Bake Off.  Not for us the red glow tipped excitement of how to make proportional representation sexy or new moves in burlesque routines.

So the least you hosts can do is keep the smoking hotties warm.  Enter our infra red electric patio heaters.  

 

Champagne Towers – You Can DIY, But Should You?

14th February 2017

What you don’t want is a champagne tower that resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa in any way at all.  You could use plastic, it might even be prudent, but in that case, you probably need to read a blog on a plastics website.  We hire glass, beautiful glass and we don’t really do plastic much.  Or at all for glasses.

Champagne towers are generally square, not round.  Numbers are easy:  for 200 people you need 14 crates of our Coupes, pictured above.  That is 210 glasses but you may need a few spares and anyway they come in crates of 15 and 195 won’t be enough.  Then you need 8 layers, each layer 1 glass per edge shorter than the one before.  (8×8)+(7×7)+(6×6)+(5×5)+(4×4)+(3×3)+(2×2)+1 for a total of 204 glasses in your tower.  The coupes have a neat little edge to help with stacking and have done this malarky a few times before so they know what they are about.

Hire cost including cleaning for these would be £52.50 plus VAT and delivery, which depends on location – typically £45 return.

Building the champagne tower is the easier bit BUT – if you need it towards the end of an event, will you either be able to build it yourself close to lift off, or have you somewhere safe it can stand while the party gets underway?  Pouring the champagne is the tricky part and needs nerve, a steady hand and a sharp focus.  So you can DIY but maybe get a professional bar person.  And please don’t just take our advice to try this one at home!

Private Hiring. It’s time has come.

26th January 2017

Glass Cocktail Jug - No HandlesYou’d think, wouldn’t you, that it would be easy enough to keep a few glasses in a cupboard, dust them off and then wash up.  You’re not having all that many people over for your 40th / silver wedding / fundraising tea party / summer do.  Why would you hire?  Isn’t that a bit, you know, poncy?

No, it’s not.  It’s very sensible.  Take glasses.  You get the right glass – flute or coupe for champagne, martini for…martini, beautiful Burgundy if you need it, hi balls, tumblers – delivered clear and sparkling in sturdy crates for easy service.  At the end of your party, just empty the glasses and put them back in the crates.  Same with plates – scrape and return.  No storage problems, no washing up, more enjoyment.

Hiring serving equipment makes excellent sense as well.  Doing a large-ish buffet?  Chafing dishes are your saviour (and yes, we wash those up too).  The lovely glass jug above is perfect for mixing mocktails or cocktails, looks elegant and stylish – but you won’t need one very often so hiring is the answer.  If you’re doing bowl food or a large afternoon tea, most of us don’t have the right size bowls or multiple cake stands tucked away in our kitchen, so hiring what you need is a practical solution.

Hiring for private events has come of age.