Culture Articles

The least hygge places in London

If you're utterly sick of hearing the latest buzzword glorifying the Scandinavian way of life, sprint to these unaffected spots

The least hygge places in London 3
The least hygge places in London

Garlic And Shots (W1)

Why it’s NOT hygge: An aggressive pitbull of a bar. Drinks list? Non-negotiable. Décor? Bleak. Staff? Mean. True story: we only ever go to this rock hovel with our 6ft3in friend Stu, because we’re a bit afraid of the bartenders. A big bit.

Why it IS awesome: You’ll feel like that one survivor escaping The Texas Chainsaw Massacre house when you get out of there: alive, thankful, making peace with God. Nah, it’s alright really, and definitely cool, even more so after a few nerve-settling Bloodshots from the menu of 101 vodka slammers.

14 Frith Street, Soho, W1

The least hygge places in London 1

Fish, Wings And Tings (SW9)

Why it’s NOT hygge: Get your Caribbean goat curry stew with a side of Bloke On The Next Table’s Elbow here. It’s a shoebox. A seizure-inducing yellow shoebox with a nightmarish mural on the wall littered with punctuation and spelling errors that we’re totally cool with. No yeah it’s fine it’s not bothering us at all no Sandra you’re quivering with anxiety please can we leave now.

Why it IS awesome: This is the DNA of Brixton Village – good independent home-cooked food that drags customers in on word of mouth and kitchen smells, rather than expensive PR campaigns and bloody stupid, done-for-the-sake-of-it hashtags.

2 Atlantic Road, Brixton, SW9 8PS

The least hygge places in London 2

Bar Polski (WC1)

Why it’s NOT hygge: Choose beer, pay for beer, drink beer, repeat, leave. Not a whole lot more you can do in this stark Polish bar, tucked down a dingy alley off High Holborn and decked out with cold metallic chairs that, but for the grace of God, could have ended up in a prison canteen.

Why it IS awesome: We did a feature from here some time back, testing Polish beers (here if you missed it, quality Hyde). We had a blast. Got a proper 2pm buzz on. Followed by an 8pm hangover. And ruined dinner plans. Which meant another Papa John’s for one. And self-loathing. Would we do it all over again? You bet!

11 Little Turnstile, Holborn WC1V 7DX

The least hygge places in London 3

Sticky Wings (E1)

Why it’s NOT hygge: Picture a hulking Dane bounding down Copenhagen Street with hot-wing sauce clinging to his enviably dense stubble. Struggling to see it? Too right – it’s impossible! Mucky wings are not conducive to a clean Danish lifestyle, and neither is this Brick Lane winghole.

Why it IS awesome: These are the real dirty deal – crispy, gelatinous, spicy, filthy little nubs sent from Trash Food Heaven. And when you meet Darryl, the Big Man In The Kitchen, you’ll quickly understand how. He bloody lives for wings.

40 Brick Lane, E1 6R

The least hygge places in London 4

Donna Margherita (SW11)

Why it’s NOT hygge: Our mate Will swears that until recently, in the corner of this Battersea Italian there was a depiction of The Last Supper made entirely of bread and kept in a glass display cabinet. And last time we visited, the staff were rocking bizarre sequinned t-shirts.

Why it IS awesome: The pizza. Oh dear lord, the pizza. The best we’ve find south of the river? Maybe! And super enthusiastic owner Gabriele won’t let you eat it without first teaching you his life-changing "wallet fold" method. It’s an education in doughy brilliance.

183 Lavender Hill, Battersea, SW11 5TE

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