Heaven might be a stretch, but Angel is far from being hellish.
Why go there?
Because although you probably can’t afford to live there, it has stacks more character than Chelsea.
What’s the vibe?
Upper Street is all about mumsy cafés and samey chain restaurants, but that’s a bad place to start. Dig deeper and you’ll find loads of top stuff.
What’s that smell?
A mixture of beer and chips. Pub grub rules in N1, but luckily the plentiful competition means it’s generally done very well. Make tracks to the Crown on Cloudesley Road for the best Sunday roasts, or Smokehouse on Canonbury Road for mouth-watering barbecue with an Asian touch.
Now I need a drink.
The little enclave between Essex Road, New North Road and Regent’s Canal has enough great pubs for a crawl – try the Island Queen on Noel Road for real ale, the Earl of Essex on Danbury Street for crafty, small-batch pints, the organic-only Duke of Cambridge on St Peter’s Street for a mid-lash snack and the Mucky Pup on Queen’s Head Street for a rock-centric jukebox and some booze-hampered pool playing. For a classier climax, head round the corner to tiny cocktail institution 69 Colebrooke Row (if there’s room).
Ergh, my head. Take me somewhere peaceful.
The New River Walk in Canonbury is as understated as it is delightful. It’s a small, manmade park on the bank of the New River (which is more like a stream and is actually an aqueduct) channelling water from the Lea to Sadler’s Wells.
Anywhere good to shop?
Camden Passage is full of quaint boutiques (and, on Wednesdays, Fridays and at weekends, a great market) selling vintage fashion and antiques. For browsing (and excellent puns), there’s secondhand shop Past Caring and taxidermy specialists Get Stuffed, both on Essex Road.
And if I only do one thing?
Have a pint at the Slug and Lettuce. Just kidding: take a stroll along the canal from Angel to Rosemary Gardens where you can play ping-pong for free.
By David Clack, who can’t afford to live in Islington either but does anyway.