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Alternatives to London’s most crammed areas

Coolboy London. Your Brixtons your Dalstons, your Lampards your Gerrards. All a bit stale, isn't it? Time for a change...



Alternatives to London’s most crammed areas

Alas, poor Brixton, asleep as Clapham crept out of Infernos, tiptoed down Acre Lane and planted a big Jack Wills flag. The invaders are beyond the walls and they're marching on Dogstar. Have another Jägerbomb, Brixton, and accept your fate…

The Alternative: Escape eastwards along Coldharbour Lane to Camberwell, still flying under the radar despite two top-notch Chinese joints (Silk Road and Wuli Wuli), superb roasts at The Camberwell Arms, and Theo’s Pizzeria, the heir to Franco Manca's throne.

Upper Street

Alternatives to London’s most crammed areas 1

Unless you’re an Arsenal fan in search of a protest march there’s really no good reason for you to be on Upper Street, and yet it’s always, always packed. Oldroyd is a diamond in the rough, but there's a lot of chain restaurants and weirdly lairy pubs all the way. Swerve.
The Alternative: Traditionally the shabbier end of N1, Holloway Road has cleaned up its act with some flawless food and drink. There’s primo fried chicken at Bird and the ubiquitous sourdough ‘za from Zia Lucia, while Piebury Corner is packed with flaky, golden goodness. Throw in a top boozer in the form of the Horatia, and you need never return to Angel again.

Borough Market

Alternatives to London’s most crammed areas 2

Peer through the mists of time to 2004, when queuing for a chorizo roll in Borough Market felt like placing a trembling finger to the molten core of London’s zeitgeist. Fast forward to 2017, there's a Brindisa on every corner and battling a horde of tourists for a sausage sandwich will no longer sustain a 2,000-word blog post. Time marches on.
The Alternative: The Bermondsey beer mile is a stone's throw from Borough Market, with the likes of Anspach & Hobsday, Brew By Numbers and Kernel flanked by two food markets on Druid and Maltby Streets. With Canada Water's Hawker House also in striking distance, you're spoilt for choice.


Alternatives to London’s most crammed areas 3

"London's trendy Shoreditch", still the accepted shorthand for on-the-pulse coolness, despite being wall to wall stag-dos on a Saturday night. “This… this is good, isn’t it?” you say hopefully to your pal, as you stand cheek to jowl in the sweaty depths of Bar Kick. He doesn’t need to answer. You already know.
The Alternative: Continue east and seek out the riverside embrace of Hackney Wick. You'll already know about Crate Brewery, but if you haven’t tried the Tank Bar at Howling Hops, then you should. There's also multi-use nightspot Mick's Garage to explore, as well as Italian sharing plates at Gotto and more craft suds at waterside bar Grow.


Alternatives to London’s most crammed areas 4

The one that got away. If you’d been sensible and saved every penny you earned, rather than wasting it on fripperies like food and rent and running water, you’d own a house in Walthamstow by now. But you’ve missed the boat and now terrible people are calling it Awesomestow.
The Alternative: Impossibly, Tottenham is even further north than Walthamstow, but bear with us because things are happening there. Good things. There’s Tottenham Social with its rotating street food traders, fried free-range birds at Chicken Town, and club-night vibes at cocktail joint Styx. And you know… handy for Stansted, right?