No point embracing “local” and then never meeting the locals. We’ve been organising very regular West Hampstead meet-ups since 2009. We’ve held restaurant evenings, big parties, barbecues, cinema trips, and simple trips to the pub. All with the aim of getting locals from across the area to meet their neighbours.
At the moment, we’re focusing on just two types of events: Whampdinner and Whampsocials
These are our most popular events. Roughly once a month we arrange evenings in local restaurants for 24 people spread over tables of 6 or 8 people. We meet beforehand for a drink, someone hosts each table, and the bill is split equally unless there’s been a large discrepancy in consumption!
Since 2009, we’ve been to pretty much every restaurant in the area – many of which have now closed, though hopefully not because of us. Most recently, we’ve been to Guglee and Pham House.
The evenings are always a good mix of newcomers and regulars, young and old, gourmets and, er… whatever the opposite of that is. Pre-dinner drinks are from 7pm in whatever the nearest pub is, and the restaurant booking is for 8pm. After the restaurant, there’s always the option for another drink (or few!).
Sounds great! How do I get involved?
First, you need to subscribe to the West Hampstead Life newsletter, because two or three weeks before a Whampdinner, we’ll send out an email announcing the exact date and of course the restaurant. They’re usually on a Thursday; close enough to the end of the week but not infringing on your weekend plans (if you have that kind of diary). If you’re interested in going, you’ll be asked to send an email with your name(s) and mobile number, so you can be entered into the legendary WhampDinner Hat. We are always oversubscribed, so we draw names out of the hat. By all means apply with partners/friends/flatmates, but at some point break free and chat to someone you don’t know!
You’ll be contacted by text within a few days to let you know whether you’ve been successful. Apologies that we can’t take everyone every time. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you must RSVP to confirm your place and you’ll be sent all the final details by text nearer the time. Then you just turn up, meet some nice people, drink, eat and be merry!
These are events we used to run that are currently on hold – we were doing something pretty much every week and it became too much to manage, but these could be resurrected at any time
Film Club ran for three years from January 2013, with monthly meets usually at the Tricycle cinema in Kilburn and the occasional blockbuster opening night at the IMAX in Swiss Cottage.
These were the doozies – and the event that got the ball rolling back in October 2009 (when then local Stephen Fry couldn’t make it).
@JudeStone So sorry – only just seen the hashtag. Love to you all. Hope it was a triumph. #whampgather
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) October 12, 2009
There were 16 of us that night, but by the time of the final whampgather we had 200 people coming and tickets were snapped up in a matter of hours. The idea was always that it should be “Not geeky, not cliquey” and I think we managed that pretty well. Friends, flatmates and partners have all met at #whampgather over the last four years – we even had a whampgather wedding in 2015
Whampgather also raised money for The Winch – a local youth charity, helping fund a drama programme and bought IT equipment for the charity, among other things.