[Photo: S.M. Secchi]
Theatrical adventures, fine art and cheap eats – Kilburn is buzzing.
Why go there?
It might have a bit of a scuzzy rep, but Kilburn is on the up. So shake off those preconceptions and hit the High Road (and the side roads: they’re worth a gander, too). There are enough pubs, restaurants and artsy venues to keep any young urbanite happy. And no quibbling about it being hard to get to: it has four stations, no less (Kilburn, Kilburn Park, Kilburn High Road and Brondesbury).
Let’s make like a yogurt and begin with culture.
The area is home to The Tricycle Theatre (Kilburn High Road), an independent venue with a year-round calendar of new, and often pretty edgy, plays. It also boasts a 300-seater cinema. Every July, Kilburn Grange Park (Kilburn High Road) hosts a small music festival with acts playing reggae, jazz and Irish music.
Now I’m hungry…
Hotfoot it to Little Bay (Belsize Road) for modern European food where no main costs more than eight quid. The Small & Beautiful (Kilburn High Road) serves up scrummy Italian fusion food to make mama proud. A few minutes down the road, Ariana II (Kilburn High Road) has a great atmosphere and a delicious Afghan menu (it’s a regular in Time Out’s best cheap eats round-ups). Plus, it’s BYOB, so you can finally pair curry with Lambrini in public.
And if I want to get properly sloshed?
You’ve got plenty of options: Priory Tavern (Belsize Road) has a nice local vibe. Round the corner there’s The Betsy Smith (Kilburn High Road) which has fun ‘antique’ decor and serves hearty pub grub and cocktails in teapots. And The Black Lion (Kilburn High Road) boasts a tapas menu and an impressive Victorian interior.
Where can I boogie into the early hours?
The Good Ship (Kilburn High Road) is sadly Kilburn’s last live music venue. But it’s still a cracker, hosting bands, spoken-word and stand-up acts. Or if you’re up for a really late one, try a club night at Love and Liquor (Kilburn High Road) on Fridays and Saturdays. It serves topnotch cocktails and even has a photobooth, if you want to remember the night before the morning after. And you’ve forgotten that smartphones have been invented.
And if I only do one thing?
Head to the Ben Uri Gallery (Boundary Road), which specialises in work by Jewish artists. With paintings by the likes of Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff, it’s a much underappreciated north London gem.
By Hayley Spencer, who thought a ‘Kilburn’ was something to do with falling over on astroturf.
Fancy a change of scene? Here’s the best bits of Balham.