Kentish Town is a particularly ancient part of the capital dating back to 1206. It has long attracted left-wing thinkers, musicians and writers and is now an often overlooked cultural hotspot, with a host of galleries, independent shops, gastropubs and even a theatre. To capture the happenings of the area, Stephen Emms started The Kentishtowner in 2010 where he provides north Londoners with daily digest of art, food, pubs, culture and history. Here are five of his secret local tips…
Colonel Fawcett, 1 Randolph Street
Following the huge success of pioneering food and real ale pubs the Bull & Last and the Southampton Arms respectively, Kentish Town’s boozers are on the up. This unassuming Kentish/Camden borders pub is the area’s finest new dining option: seasonal, inventive, and on-trend. Try the blood-red onglet with bone marrow butter and horseradish slaw (a bargainous £9.50). And if you’re bored of more well-known watering holes like The Oxford or Pineapple, try great new backstreet joint Tapping The Admiral (Castle Street) for real ales, British tapas and home-infused spirits.
Spring Studios Gallery & Cocktail Bar, 10 Spring Place
West Kentish Town is all about art spaces tucked away in between social housing and industrial estates. Spring boasts a huge contemporary art gallery open to the public, whilst on the first floor is an uber-stylish members’ bar and restaurant (free to join if you’re a ‘creative’ local). For just as impressive bespoke libations head to new Shebeen cocktail bar, just open underneath local favourite Kentish Canteen (300 Kentish Town Rd).
Arancini Brothers, 115 Kentish Town Road
On a godless stretch of the lower Kentish Town Road, these boys dish up the finest artisan coffee in the manor. Simple yet stylish interior, with veg boxes stacked in front of the open kitchen, tempting boards of cakes and open sandwiches, and great arancini balls (of course). It’s worth also saying that they get their coffee from the excellent Bean About Town, the long-standing cart outside Kentish Town tube station. A garden is set to open this Spring.
Queen’s Crescent Street Market
Queen’s Crescent is one of the oldest market streets in London. It has many claims to fame – home to the first Sainsbury’s, Patak’s curry, and Bikram yoga (to name three). It’s also now easily the most multicultural street in Kentish Town, with some brilliant Somalian, Turkish, and Indian outlets (imagine a smaller Ridley Road in Dalston) If you’re a fan of acclaimed kebab joint E.Mono on Kentish Town Road, then head to Meze Ocakbasi, where you can gobble a tender chicken shish with huge mixed salad, hummus and warm bread for £8. Even better, it’s BYO.
Zabludowicz Collection, 176 Prince Of Wales Road
Housed in an atmospheric Victorian Methodist Chapel renovated by the team behind The Tea Building in Shoreditch, Zabludowicz hosts some seriously innovative contemporary art with a careful sense of history and place. Weighted Words is the must-see current show. It’s all free and their launches are hipster-spotting fun (best to join their mailing list).