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Manolis of @brokeinLondon1 chooses his five secret London spots

Posted at 5:15 pm, January 5, 2013 in Secret London, Top 5
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We’re broke in London most of the time. We bet you are too. It doesn’t matter how much your bank account bulges on payday, or how many one bed flats your bonus could buy you, this city makes it so easy to live beyond your means that we’re all eating tinned soup for lunch by the end of the month. But the fact that you’re paying for things in the corner shops using sofa coppers doesn’t mean that you can’t still have some fun, and Broke in London is the blog to help you make the most of the city on a tight budget. Here are their five secret spots, as chosen by the site’s director, Manolis Zografakis. Ashleigh Arnott
Photographs by Ash Lin

Sugarhouse Studios

Sugarhouse Studios
‘We love Sugar House for a bunch of things! First of all, their fabulous 50-seat custom-made cinema, where every Thursday they project films from around the world and serve food from the film’s country. Secondly, for their tasty and cheap pizzas. And finally, because they’re just cool; the cinema is based in an old warehouse made from salvaged materials. Located south of the Olympic Park, the cinema was renovated with love by a group of local artists. The disappointing part of the story is that Sugarhouse Studios is going to be demolished this year due to a regeneration plan. What a shame… visit before it’s too late!’

Towpath cafe, London

Towpath Café
‘Here is the perfect plan for a sunny Saturday or Sunday morning: cycle along Regents Canal all the way from Limehouse to Paddington, stopping for a coffee and breakfast, or even better, lunch at the Towpath Cafe near Haggerston. The café is situated in a great spot just by the canal so it’s ideal for watching the ducks, water, and people passing by while enjoying the incredible food that they serve up. We can’t even pick a favourite plate to recommend to you because everything we have tasted there was delicious. Let your intuition guide you.’

Indo, Whitechapel

‘We still haven’t determined which characteristic makes Indo so unique. It has a broad selection of music (which sometimes transforms into a live music event) that always allows good vibes to spread. It could be the late opening times (until three in the morning on weekends, a rarity for London!). The cosiness of the place and its laid-back atmosphere are also great, as are the delicious pizzas (cooked in their old-fashioned wood fired oven). Although we can’t decide why exactly we love this small, crazy bar in Whitechapel, but we know it’s a London must.’

Café Crema
‘We love Café Crema not only because of their nice coffees and teas, but also for their unique garden. It’s not of the sort that you’d find in the heart of London; it’s rustic and brings a village garden to mind. There are chickens running around the place and benches where you can enjoy your drinks or food. Everything’s reasonably priced, vegetarian, and delicious. The café also hosts film nights, vintage sales, and music performances, as if they weren’t already cool enough, with chickens in the garden.’

Barbican conservatory

The Barbican Conservatory
‘A tropical garden is hidden on the 3rd floor of the Barbican Centre. Yes, a tropical spot in London! There are no gorillas or panthers lurking, but the ambience makes you feel like you’re in The Jungle Book. In the conservatory you can find birds, exotic fish and more than 2,000 species of tropical plants under the glass roof. Bring your laptop and connect to the free wi-fi, while drinking a cappuccino and feel like a 21st century Mowgli. The Barbican frequently rents out the space for private receptions, so check ahead’

For more from Manolis, visit BrokeinLondon.com or follow @brokeinLondon1 on Twitter

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