If you’re looking for a good time, it’s Archway or the highway.
Why go there?
To have a confab with the statue of Lord Mayor Dick Whittington’s cat.
What’s the vibe?
Residential, with some lovely mews houses around the unbounded commercial sweep that is the Holloway Road. Though considered a bit of a non-neighbourhood, Archway has blossomed of late into a self-contained hub. Take note, Highgate. And you too, Tufnell Park.
I’ve come all this way on the bloody Northern line, is there anything to eat?
Boy, is there. Start at the Sitara Indian Jazz Café on the Holloway Road for freshly made, wondrously spicy dishes set to smooth tunes. If you’re feeling modern, Italian restaurant 500 next door is a gastronomic treat. But if it’s in-and-out you’re after, Archway Kebab House on Junction Road won Best Kebab Business of the Year 2013 at the British Kebab Awards (!). Back on Holloway road, there’s the Loving Hut vegan restaurant, ‘inspired by the Supreme Master Ching Hai’, which has a, frankly, unfathomable buffet menu, or try The Spoke for a ‘bike-friendly’ brunchesand- babies type place.
And for some retail therapy?
You might find the odd thing at the bric-à-brac and ‘eclectic’ furniture shops on Holloway Road, or stop in at Treasure Land for some great Afghan and Moroccan textiles (and camel-skin lamps. Yes, they’re legal). The Second Chance Charity Shop on St John’s Way throws up some interesting finds. The fabulous Archway Fresh Fish and Seafood gets its supplies daily from Billingsgate Market. And every Saturday there’s a small farmers’ market outside the Budgens for organic this ’n’ that.
Now it’s time for a drink!
The Landseer (Landseer Road) is a decent boozer, while gastropubs St John’s Tavern and The Oak and Pastor (Junction Road) attract locals and non-N-postcoders alike. There’s no shortage of taprooms offering a bit of local colour: try The Mother Red Cap on Holloway Road.
Whoop! Is it party time yet?
You bet it is. The Hideaway on Junction Road is a popular dance space, or there’s London’s leading LGBT Asian-music night, Club Kali at The Dome (Dartmouth Park Hill). The Intrepid Fox (Highgate Hill) is the place for the goth or metalhead in your life.
And if I only do one thing?
Revel in the brutalist delight that is the Whittington housing estate. Then wallow in failure that is the Archway Tower. It’s a lesson in broken promises.
By Ananda Pellerin, who has never won anything at the British Kebab Awards.