‘That’s very touristy’ is possibly one of the most heinous comments a person could make about your chosen bar, place or activity. In London, no one wants to look like a tourist. When it comes to finding out the best places to try (for both Londoners and tourists alike), it’s hard to decipher what’s good when researching online. (Unless, of course, you read SL *wink*). There is, however, a brand spanking new app launching their beta version in London – Cool Cousin – which will help you find amazing places to try, as recommended by locals – the people who know best. The app allows you to find and chat to ‘Cousins’, people who live in the city you’re planning to visit and who will give you real, tried-and-tested recommendations of cool places to try. Here are some places in our city, shared by some of the London Cousins.
1. Pop Brixton
Recommended by: Adrianna, Yoga Teacher
Adrianna says: The latest edition to the community, Pop Brixton is an open-air style market, which personifies the spirit of Brixton. Here you’ll find a combination of restaurants of all cuisines, local fashion designers, bars, and a health food café called homegrown (a personal fave) There is a greenhouse style seating area for when the days are well, like London, but the most wonderful thing is to sit in the sun, cocktail in hand as the sun is setting while listening to love music, because there is an event space called Pop Box, which hosts various events from live music, to movie, to yoga and capoeira.
49 Brixton Station Rd, London SW9 8PQ
2. Champs Barber
Recommended by: Barrie, Owner of Scotch & Limon
Barrie says: Run by an ex Colombian boxing champion, champs is pound for pound the best barbers in London. No need to book, just rock up and enjoy the trim.
31 Riding House St, London W1W 7DY
3. Reign Vintage
Recommended by: Jacob, Musician and Filmmaker
Jacob says: I’m almost reluctant to make public my secret of Reign Vintage. This place is the best vintage shop in London. Fact. The clothes are fantastic, affordable, and diverse. Whether you’re looking for a 60s dress, a 70s suit, or just a shirt, bag or hat, this is the place. The staff are delightful and you’re in the heart of Soho.
12 Berwick St, London W1F
4. The Rum Kitchen
Recommended by: Adora Mba, African Art Blogger
Adora says: My best friend owns this place so I may be a tad biased, but honestly if you like good food, good music and a great ambience it is the place to get your grub on. Book in advance! The queues are always long for walk-ins. I prefer the Soho branch for whatever reason but then I prefer to have brunch at the All Saints one. Different strokes for different folks – most importantly the food is still great at both! You simply must try the jerk chicken thighs, the spare ribs, the jerk chicken burger and the goat curry with rice. HEAVEN.
Multiple Locations: Kingly Court, Carnaby St, London W1B 5PW & 6-8 All Saints Rd, London W11 1HH
5. The Dove Beer and Kitchen
Recommended by: James, Music Producer and DJ
James says: Way before the craft beer movement became a thing, there was The Dove, serving up a really wide range of specialist bottles as well as guest ales & beers. Really cosy pub too, lots of board games for wintery afternoons or a good few tables on the pavement on Broadway Market. The beers are great but i wouldn’t personally recommend eating there though, way better other options for food in the area in my opinion…
24-28 Broadway Market, London E8 4QJ
6. The Escapologist
Recommended by: Alex, PR professional & London Community Manager for Cool Cousin
Alex says: My favourite thing about this bar is that you can enter one of the spaces through a secret door that looks like a large painting! Make sure you experience that. I prefer going there in the late afternoon rather than the evening for an intimate drink with a friend in one of the booths. The Nero Must Die cocktail is a great alternative to an Espresso Martini.
35 Earlham St, London WC2H 9LD
7. The Peace Pagoda
Recommended by: Adam Bodini, Photography and Brand strategy consultant
Adam says: The Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park is an amazing place to escape and reflect on the world. Overlooking the Thames, surrounding by lush greenery it is easy to feel completely at peace and relaxed here. I often escape to the Pagoda, lie down and forget about the stresses and strains of the world.
8. Howling Hops Tank Bar
Recommended by: Ilana, Cinematographer
Ilana says: A fairly new addition to the ever growing Hackney Wick. This micro brewery is awesome to go to if you like an ale! They have loads of tanks filled with an eclectic mix of ales in a great space that feels really communal. They don’t serve in pints of half pints. If you are a meat eater you can get a massive platter of it here.
Unit 9A Queen’s Yard, White Post Ln, London E9 5EN
9. Dalston Eastern Curve Garden
Recommended by: Max, Filmmaker and Props Scouter
Max says: Hidden off the forever busy Dalston Lane is this incredible and relaxing community garden. The garden was built on an old railway line and is surrounded by warehouses and some converted industrial buildings. They serve both hot and alcoholic drinks and the garden gets lots of sunlight. They also often do biscuits and cakes. The vibe is incredibly friendly and they often hold workshops.
13 Dalston Ln, London E8 3DF