LONDON LIFE • August 2019
You’ve heard of the big hitters – Westminister, Soho, Notting Hill et al – but what about the local-loved spots that embody London’s trendy spirit? The Club team heads into the capital to bring you the neighbourhoods that deserve your downtime
Says who: Charlotte Swift, The Club editor
The vibe: Grand Georgian mansions, clap-board cottages, ancient almshouses, brilliant bookshops and neighbourhood pubs – Dulwich Village is like a quaint bit of countryside beyond the Zone 1 madness.
Food and drink: A pint of craft beer in the revamped Crown and Greyhound (known locally as the Dog) is a must. The Grade II-listed public house has a wonderful old interior and lovely beer garden. Although, to watch village life, sit out front.
Culture spot: Marvel at an impressive collection of Old Masters at Dulwich Picture Gallery (pictured). Founded in 1811, it was the world’s first purpose-built public art gallery. Summer sees plenty of regular and free installations.
In the know: While the park is wonderful for a stroll, venture down College Road and up a winding lane into Dulwich Woods for a country ramble. It was once part of the Great North Wood, an ancient swathe of forest.
Says who: Rebecca Naylor, The Club picture editor
The vibe: A living, breathing art exhibition alive with neon graffiti, highbrow coffee bars, impromptu festivals and canalside studios.
Food and drink: Divinely tasty and worth every penny, Cornerstone - the debut from Nathan Outlaw prodigy, chef Tom Brown - is no joke. Seafood is cooked with pin-point precision and bagfuls of flavour; you won't eat finer scallops (served soft and succulent in a shell of coral butter) while the desserts (pictured above) make for a delicate finale. Speaking of pennies, for those trying to save them, go for the tasting menu (£45 a head), which works out better on the wallet.
Culture spot: Check out the area’s studio-style shops at on-trend menswear brand Percival, furniture emporium Béton Brut, and Cheeky Tiki, which specialises in Polynesian-inspired homeware.
In the know: Ethically conscious and popular with the Hackney-ites, Grow is the place to party. Sip organic wines and homemade rums, and enjoy a seasonal tasting menu full of vegan delights on its open deck – all to the tune of live music.
Says who: Hannah Ralph, The Club content editor
The vibe: On-the-go mums wiedling yoga mats, fashionistas musing over jumpsuits in shop windows, locals picking up pints in rustic pubs, and families heading for a day in Clissold Park.
Food and drink: Arrive at Church Street hungry – you could spend a whole day feasting on Stokey’s chicest street. Pick up cake and cacti at The Green Room, an artisan espresso at Sapid Coffee and freshly baked sourdough at Spence Bakery. Slab and Tipple will satisfy your sweet tooth, while The Good Egg (pictured) boasts one of the best shakshuka’s in London.
Culture spot: Mark the Stoke Newington Literary Festival on your calendar – it’s jam-packed with talks from leading literary figures every June.
In the know: Split from the action at Church Street by turning down Bouverie Road, where, in a unassuming courtyard, you’ll find BOLT, a haven for motorbike lovers who peruse the shop’s vintage offerings and bikes out on display.
Says who: Rob Ball, Club account manager
The vibe: On the one hand, well-heeled sophistication and five-star hotels. On the other? A close-knit community bound by russet-red townhouses, park strolls and weekly farmers’ markets.
Food and drink: Sure, Chiltern Firehouse is iconic, Pachamama hip and delicious and L’angolo Bianco the locals’ favourite, but for a simple slice of perfection, put your trust in Simon Rogan at his Marylebone outpost, Roganic. You won’t forget the tasting menu any time soon.
Culture spot: Marylebone is a bibliophile’s dream. Edwardian bookshop Daunt Books (pictured) in particular is something of an institution, with oak balconies and a revered travel section. Or, discover literary history in the Sherlock Holmes Museum at, you guessed it, 221B Baker Street.
In the know: There’s a rather lovely market every Sunday that perfectly sums up the area’s blend of traditional meets trendy. Scout out The London Bee Company, Miriam’s Munchies and The Garlic Farm for some top-notch foodie souvenirs.
Says who: Ross Clarke, food writer and Club contributing editor
The vibe: A former industrial hub between London and Tower bridges that’s been making gains in the cultural and gastronomic stakes. Think warehouse-turned-galleries, independent stores and dining spots aplenty.
Food and drink: Thanks to Borough Market and the increasingly gourmet Bermondsey Street, there’s no shortage of places to grab a bite. Try Tom Simmons (pictured) near Tower Bridge – the young Welsh chef cooks up the best of British in a French style – before catching a show at one of London’s youngest theatres, the Bridge.
Culture spot: One word: markets. The area is awash with ‘barrow boys’ selling everything from antiques at Bermondsey Square Market (Fridays), to fine food at Maltby Street Market (weekends) – birthplace of many of London’s street-food success stories.
In the know: Founded by renowned British designer Zandra Rhodes, the Fashion and Textile Museum has a carousel of exhibitions showcasing the industry’s finest and fledgling designers.