London places I like (and so might you)

This is very badly out of date (peak accuracy around 2012) poorly organised, geographically suspect.

Baker Street

Bloomsbury (and surroundings)

  • Cafe Deco. Store Street. Panini, pasta, jacket potato.
  • ICCo. Pizza – café/takeaway vibe. Cheap, quick – good if you’re late for something or someone.
  • The Lamb. Very civilized pub; tends to be frequented by local academics.
  • Hoga – amazing Korean place.
  • Italia Uno. Lovely sandwich bar. Unpretentious, good food.
  • Jeremy Bentham. Google maps says it’s a student pub – it’s not that bad.
  • Lord John Russell. At least one local seminar tends to make its way there.
  • Marquis Cornwallis. Another academic-filled place. Also does a good brunch.
  • Navarro’s. Best Tapas in London (I’m told).
  • Norfolk Arms. Tapas.
  • Skoob. Wonderful, huge, second-hand bookshop. Loads of academic books, fiction, plays, poetry, everything…

Brick Lane / Dalston / Shoreditch / Hackney / Hoxton / Whitechapel, i.e., East

  • Beigel Bake. Salt-beef bagel.
  • The Bridge. Very cosy cafe/bar – opens till around midnight.
  • The Dove. Cosy. Great Sunday roast.
  • Freedom Bookshop also home of Freedom Press. Independent bookshop with plenty of Kropotkin, Goldman, and friends.
  • The Book Club. Hipster sightings. Good bar/café. Table tennis table.
  • Jaguar Shoes. Saw a few nice experimental bands here. Colourful happy bar upstairs (could be a modern art gallery gift shop – supposed to be a compliment); gig venue downstairs.
  • The Macbeth. (Saw Stereo Total here.)
  • Mien Tay. On the “Pho Mile“; fully licenced Vietnamese restaurant.
  • Power Lunches (defunct?). Experimental music punk place with a squat feel to it. “Watch out for the f***ing spaghetti underfoot, cos you’re gonna slip,” says Anon.
  • Sebright Arms. Live music in the basement; nice pub on ground floor.



  • Andy’s Taverna. Greek restaurant.
  • Bento Ramen, Parkway.
  • Black Gull Books, Camden Market. Secondhand, great selection of philosophy and psychology (and other things).
  • Camden Lock market. All the things.
  • Dublin Castle. I saw Luxembourg play here in 2007 (try this song). I decided that night to try to find a way to move to London. It’s a great venue.
  • Egg. Not quite Camden but 15 mins walk from Camden Road overground; north of Kings X. House, techno, massive place. Open 11pm on Saturday eve to 10am(!) Sunday.
  • Hawley Arms. Pub. Great indie music vibe. Friendly crowd.
  • KOKO (Mornington Crescent). Huge live music venue and club.
  • Made in Brazil
  • The Old Eagle – lovely Thai food and pub
  • The Black Heart. Gothy rock bar.
  • Sushi Waka. Great Sushi! Upstairs they have low tables and sitting on the floor, downstairs table and chairs.
  • Walden books. Great 2nd hand bookshop.


  • Any Amount of Books, near Leicester Square. Secondhand books.
  • ICA and the bar there. Arty types. Minimalist. Quiet. Good friendly relaxed vibe. Excellent bookshop attached.
  • The Social. Lovely place – compact, good sound – have seen wonderful bands there. Unusual for such a great place to be so near Oxford St! Seems to have survived Covid.
  • Troy 22 – I’d just describe this place as LOL. It’s great. And survived pandemic (last checked Sept 2022). Cheery upstairs dive bar that should be a basement.
  • Retro Bar – “Occupying a site which has been a pub since the 17th century, Retro Bar has been a secret haven for the eccentric and the alternative LGBTQIA+ crowd since the 90s.” (Last check Oct 2022)
  • Waterstones top floor cafe, Piccadilly

Crouch End

  • Bistro AIX. “North London’s top French bistro” (haven’t been yet).
  • Les 2 Garçons. For people who have “a membership to the Royal Academy that they fear they don’t use as regularly as they should” (haven’t been yet).


  • Dalston Superstore – “East London’s premiere queer pleasure palace”
  • Red Hand – has Stiegl, my fav beer when I lived in Salzburg (including the near 0% variant)

Edgeware Rd, Church Street, Lisson Grove

  • Alfies – art, antiques, rooftop kitchen
  • Bookery Gallerie – secondhand bookshop, gallery, creative space (the kind of place that has experimental electroacoustic nights during which you are passed a microphone and encouraged to contribute)

Finsbury Park



  • Big Red. Dive bar, allegedly. Good music (rock, metal, vibe). Does veggie hot dogs. Haven’t been in ages, keeps changing hands.
  • Bluebell Bistro. Great café, very relaxed, welcoming vibes. Used to my local and it is/was the sort of place that can easily become anyone’s local.


  • Buffalo Bar – saw Spearmint here; live music in basement
  • Candid Arts Cafe – this is a great place for a quiet catchup with a close friend
  • Chilango – burritos on Upper Street; also has beer and frozen margaritas; cafe/takeaway-vibe
  • Kilis Kitchen -Turkish and Lebanese
  • Kings Head – live music and with a theatre
  • Hope and Anchor – live music in the basement
  • Le Mercury Deuxieme – “good place to take your mum for dinner”
  • Lexington – the Chap (the best band in Europe) play here now and again


  • Toulouse Lautrec. Live jazz upstairs – really surprisingly fantastically good jazz. Good food.

Kilburn/Queen’s Park/East Kilburn/Whamp

  • Barraco. Great Brazilian restaurant – cafe/bar vibe
  • Betsy Smith. Great food, funky decor, mostly mainstream dancey music kinda place.
  • Betty’s (Belsize Road). Deli; good coffee.
  • Little Bay. Very cosy place with booths and balconies – have a look at the pics to see!
  • Offside books: secondhand bookshop, opened 2015. Loads of a fiction and poetry. A few nice philosophy, science, and maths books too (and improving every week).
  • Priory Tavern. Good beer, food, often live music, board games, and occasional cat wandering around. I knew this would be a great place when, during the riots, when everyone else was tweeting about cars on fire, they tweeted that they’re still open with 2-for-1 cocktails.
  • Queen’s Park Books. Support your local bookshop so it doesn’t disappear like Zadie Smith’s childhood favourite Kilburn Bookshop.
  • Rose’s. Reliable fry-ups.
  • Tricycle. Theatre and cinema.

Kings Cross

Manor House

New Cross (around Goldsmiths)

Notting Hill

  • Tiroler Hut. Austrian restaurant with all stereotypes amplified.

Soho/China Town

  • Assa. Korean restaurant.
  • Bar Bruno. Looks a little greasy spoonish but better. Some seats outside.
  • Bistro 1, “best cheap eat restaurant in Soho”
  • Feng Shui Inn. Chinese restaurant.
  • HIX Soho – cocktails downtairs – cosy.
  • The Shaston Arms. Smallish cosy pub, generally playing good music (or least music I like, like the Cure!)
  • The Ship. Good music. Nice pub.
  • Herman Ze German. (There’s a couple of these: go for the Soho one.)


  • Bonnington Cafe. Vegetarian BYOB cafe. Book first via their web page! Warm, cosy, friendly place.
  • Tamesis. Boat bar with great views of the Thames. Music: Beyonce and thereabouts at the beginning then moving on to early 2000s speed garagey type stuff, Disclosure, etc. Dancing on the lower floor. Crowded on a Friday eve, especially around afterwork time.