Get out of the gutter and hobnob with the stars in Marylebone.
Why head here?
Because it’s the foodie capital of the world’s foodiest capital, the prince of parks (Hyde and Regent’s are equidistant) and the home of Sherlock Holmes.
What’s the vibe?
It’s posh, sure, but for every cocktail lounge, there’s a frill-free pub; and for every flat white, a builders’ caff.
What’s to see?
Art, of course! Visit the inimitable Wallace Collection on Manchester Square, home to Frans Hals’s famous ‘Laughing Cavalier’.
About that food you mentioned…
Pulled pork from The Joint (New Cavendish Street) or Viennese schnitzel from Fischer’s (Marylebone Road) are the best places to start. It’s also home to some of the finest burgers in London at Tommi’s Burger Joint (Thayer Street) and Meat Liquor (Welbeck Street). But if you’re after something posher, Galvin Bistrot de Luxe (Baker Street) and the relentlessly hip Chiltern Firehouse (Chiltern Street) are among the finest in town. Other flavours include Italian eatery Il Baretto (Blandford Street) and trad French steak heaven Le Relais de Venise (Marylebone Lane). If you’re more of a cook-at- home sort, then you’ll want high-quality meat from Ginger Pig and some creamy and pungent cheeses from La Fromagerie (both Moxon Street).
And to drink?
How about cocktails from Purl, a moody speakeasy on Blandford Street, or from the ultra-swish Langham Hotel’s Artesian (Portland Place), which Drinks International named the world’s best bar? Pubwise, there’s no beating the beers and cosy atmosphere of eighteenth-century boozer The Barley Mow on Dorset Street.
And what if I want to splash the cash?
Well, you’ll need lots of it here. Start on Marylebone Road, where even the Tesco is fancy-pants. Pick up some bookshelves, armchairs and stylish homeware at the awesome Conran Shop. Avid readers should be prepared to write off two hours in the famous Daunt Books: an oak-beamed timewarp with original Edwardian features. It’s possible that this is London’s best bookshop. Then go celebrity-spotting… I mean shopping, along Chiltern Street with its parade of stars and high-end boutiques.
And if you only do one thing?
Give your ears a treat by taking in a performance at the beautiful Wigmore Hall on Wigmore Street – the finest chamber music venue in the country, according to anyone who’s ever heard any classical music.
By Clare Finney, last seen passed out on the floor of La Fromagerie.