Finsbury Park has more to offer than just a giant Arsenal club shop.
Why go there?
Because you want to flit easily between Highgate and Dalston, like some kind of north London jetsetter.
What’s the vibe?
Affectionately known as ‘Little Algiers’, it’s home to London’s largest Algerian population, as well as plenty of students, surly youths with low-slung trousers, boozy Arsenal fans and priced-out-of-Crouch-End mumsytypes. It’s also starting to develop new cultural hubs like Furtherfield Gallery, a digital art and community space nestled in the green splendour of the park itself, and the artsy playhouse Park Theatre on Clifton Terrace. It’s not just food and booze.
Where can I spank my cash?
You aren’t spoilt for choice here: there’s a scattering of bookstores and antique shops like the eccentric Eighty-Seven (Blackstock Road). Or you can bunny-hop to the world’s only specialist Sylvanian Families shop (Mountgrove Road), for all your miniature creepy-furry figurine needs. For classic steel-framed bikes, you can’t beat Sargent & Co (Mountgrove Road).
I’m hungry. Any local delicacies?
There are some great eateries squeezed in between the 24-hour off-licences and endless chicken shops. For lunch, Fink’s Salt and Sweet (Mountgrove Road) is the deli of choice, or head to Jai Krishna (Stroud Green Road) for delicious, good-value vegetarian Indian food. Dotori (Stroud Green Road) is a local favourite, with its heady mix of Japanese and Korean cuisine. Osteria Tufo (Fonthill Road) is the perfect place for Italian fare so tasty and authentic that you’ll feel like you’ve just punted through Venice on a delicious gondola.
Now I could do with a drink…
Hidden away in the backstreets behind the park is the huge Faltering Fullback (Perth Road), famous for its homely atmosphere and vertical garden which will make you feel like an Ewok out on the razz. The World’s End (Stroud Green Road) is a lovely, laidback pub with Sunday acoustic sessions, while The Silver Bullet (Station Place) is one of your only late-closing options. But if you really want to party, get your mind into the gutter at Rowan’s Tenpin Bowl (Stroud Green Road) – cheap booze, arcade games, bowling, and you can order in pizza from next door. It’s like being 12 years old again, but with beer.
And if I only do one thing?
Clamber around in the Castle Climbing Centre (Green Lanes), an old Victorian pumphouse converted into an impressive bouldering course. Exercise never felt so grand!
By Justin McDonnell, who has to use the gutter-guards at Rowan’s Tenpin Bowl.