Nocturnal London

I'm no night owl, but my time in London is as close as I've come in recent years to spending more time outside, out and about, at night than during the day. This is because over the course of the past week, I've spent my hours between my grad school's campus in London and the hotel.

The Old Pack Horse in Chiswick

I promised myself I wouldn't become a business school blogger, and I'm holding myself to that, but I'm remiss to not sprinkle some of the travel and experiences the program opens up for me across SV. This week my cohort traveled to London for the first of our two international stints. Since I was going to be holed up in either my hotel, a study room or a bar (um, reading?), I dragged my mom along so she could enjoy the city. Thinking we'd be clear mid-Saturday to cab into the city from Heathrow, we forwent the Express - big mistake. Road closures and Wimbledon had folks in taxis for longer than 3 hours! We had our cabbie drop us in Chiswick so we could address our beverage and bathroom situation.

Inside The Old Pack Horse

We stopped for some sustenance and beers at The Old Pack Horse - part traditional British pub, part Thai restaurant. The plan was to take the tube into town once we felt a bit more human.

Outside The Old Pack Horse

Nothing like London Pride and Thai food to feel normal again. The Pack Horse's exterior was part classic British pub, part law firm-esque facade to represent Fuller's.

Pack Horse Beverage Map

If we didn't have to get to the city by sundown, I would have more adequately explored the generous beverage menu.

The Paternoster at St. Paul's

I combated my deep desire to go to sleep with dinner with my classmates at Paternoster, a pub and restaurant right near St. Paul's Cathedral.

Jean-Jacques in London's Soho

I expected our time to do anything but attend lecture, complete classwork and keep up with work would be limited, but I was sure to not miss a night hosted by our Russian contingent. They rented out pre-opening Jean-Jacques, which is a Moscow original modeled after the French bistro. The Russians were our heroes, having personally transported Beluga vodka and caviar from Moscow. (Jean-Jacques is now open to the public. The food was amazing. Go!)

London Streets

I justified not being able to fully capitalize on the city's beauty by enjoying a lovely walk to school each day. Even the basic office building charms.

Skies over St. Paul's

While we were generally lucky with good weather, we got our share of ominous gloom. Made sitting in class more welcomed :p

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Stay. This time around, we stayed at Club Quarter's at St. Paul's. I was not familiar with Club Quarters until recently. The concept is simple: streamlined, comfortable, membership-based accommodations geared toward business travelers. CC maintains partnerships with organizations (companies and academic institutions) that yield discounted stay rates. While basic, it gets the job done.

Shop. My insight from this time around was limited. Go to Top Shop, obvies. Also, if you'll entertain a splurge, Chanel @ Heathrow offers dangerously appealing tax benefits to non-citizens.

Savor. Paternoster for a modern take on the British pub. Jean-Jacques for the French bistro experience. Sushi Samba for chic dining and late-night drinks towering over London.