I’m going to London in a couple of weeks, any suggestions? Is there a geek den which I should visit?
If you like experimental music, you might want to see what’s on at Cafe Oto, there’s often fun/weird shows there.
But really - you need to say more about what you like - it’s a big city!
If you’re into modular, London Modular could be a good geek den to check out. Definitely second Cafe Oto for experimental music. If you’re around Kings Cross, Spiritland is a nice spot for a coffee or food/drinks and has an absolutely insane audiophile sound system, which is on softly during the day and louder at night.
For galleries, check out Marian Goodman Gallery in Soho, the Lisson Gallery near Edgeware Rd tube, and Victoria Miro in Shoreditch/Islington, but have a look online and see what’s on. There’s also often really good stuff on at the Barbican gallery.
Hard to give more specific recommendations without knowing what you’re looking for!
My favorite things about London are Brockley Market: food truck, outdoor market thing. Small as far as outdoor markets goes but oh so good. Especially the fried buttermilk chicken with spicy asian sauce. That happens every Saturday. I suggest going in at 10am I think they close by 2pm, but double check that.
And the Tate.
Spiritland looks amazing, thanks for the recommendation!
It’s a bit expensive, but such a lovely place to sit. Their evening album listening sessions are also great, especially when they spin a record you know really well. Hearing it on their system is
just a note re: London Modular: email them to check they’re open. Sometimes they can be a little… flexible.
Good shout re: Brockley, if only because it’s my local.
The food markets in general are all worth a look, depending on when you’re staying. Borough Market is heaving but a classic (and: functions a proper market largely); if you’re out towards Hackney, a Saturday morning on Broadway Market is fun. South West-ish, Brixton Village is full of great food and drink of all shapes. On a weekday, Kerb at Kings’ Cross is really good.
My absolute favourite free museum in London is the Soane Museum which is Sir John Soane’s house, full of all the crap he collected - the basement is full of Roman, Greek, and Egyptian stuff including the sarcophagus of Seti I; there’s all of a Rake’s Progress on pull-out panels; it’s chocka and weird and costs no money.
Most of the good music shops are gone; if you’re a guitarist, Denmark Street is always a pleasant gander but thinner on the ground than it used to be owing to building works.
It’s a very good city to walk in, especially the very centre. I can recommend getting a little lost.
If we’re getting into food then I have a few to sneak in here – mostly veggie or vegan as that’s what I tend to eat these days and the “scene” in London is growing.
Roti King is the best Malaysian food you’ll find in Ldn. Highly recommend the roti canai and their laksas.
Temple of Seitan vegan fried chicken and fast food. Originally a market stall with a tiny shop in Hackney, they’ve just opened a new location in Camden/Kings Cross sort of area which is apparently much larger and has more seating. Get the mac and cheese.
Eat Chay vegan Vietnamese street food market stall which pops up all over London all through the week. Check their website to see where they are on specific days. They’re often at Kerb, as mentioned by @infovore.
Get bread/pastries/other delicious stuff at e5 near London fields. Some of the best sourdough in London. Good coffee too.
It’s on the boujee side but Gin & Beer does great cocktails and other drinks. Actually, Resolution Way (the little street it’s on underneath Deptford railway station also has a couple of other good places, ie. Buster Mantis and Villages Brewery).
I’ve found the best market food to be at Broadway Market, and it’s expanded out into surrounding areas since I was last up that way. Only open on Saturdays and gets busy around lunchtime… basically busy all day, really.
Quick places for above average coffee: Caravan (Kings Cross), M1LK (Balham), Climpson & Sons (Broadway Market), Out Of The Brew (New Cross), Kaffeine (Fitzrovia), Allpress (Shoreditch). I’m a bit out of the loop with coffee at the moment so I’m sure there are tonnes more, these are just off the top of my head.
Also, honourable mention for the Wellcome Collection at Euston because I forgot to mention it. Take a book and hang out in the reading room when the weather inevitably goes bad.
Sadly when I’m in London it’s a fast in-and-out and I rarely escape from the general vicinity of the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. But when I do, I haunt Present & Correct a few blocks from the Angels tube station, as well as the booksellers on Cecil Court just south of Leicester Square.
London is a great place to get lost, I am very fond of wandering around Soho or around the British Library. And if I can make it there I always try to go to St. John’s.
Wow! thanks for all your suggestions, I’ll try to go to the Brockley Market for sure, it looks great.
@edbkt, I love southeast asian food, your recommendations are gold!
I’m gonna second the Soane museum. It’s an astonishing place to look around. Tate britain/modern are both well worth a look.
I think we should turn this into a general London thread… What’s everyone’s favourite coffee place at the moment? I really love the Peckham Pelican, it looks very bougie from the outside - but the vibe when you’re in there is lovely and community focused in a way that seems very rare.
The earl grey G&Ts at the Pelican are amazing!
I’m a fan of The Waiting Room on Deptford High Street for a coffee. A bit squishy, but really cheap and delicious.
Oh! My favorite coffee place is Exmouth Coffee Company: 83 Whitechapel Highstreet / E1 7QX (though the coffee at Brockley market is hard to top…soooo super smooth)
And that reminds me! There’s an anarchist bookstore right next to Exmouth:
A long-standing anarchist bookshop and publisher based in Whitechapel.
Angel Alley, 84b Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX.
I’ve been there a few times. It has a bunch of books, self-printed books, and tons of zines.
Increasingly, it’s dependent on where I am or spending time. So: in Brockley, the best is probably Brown’s, but you pay for it. A client moving to Farringdon means that Prufrock is in range again, and they’re a little slow but the coffee is properly superb. Macinctyre in Angel is pretty excellent too.
If you’re near Old St/Barbican, the food market on Whitecross Street is definitely recommended. Head to the Beiju stand.
Also all the big venues/galleries well worth a look. If you’re into your leftfield music, check out a gig at Café Oto and/or Hundred Years Gallery and/or iklectik. There’s good coffee and good bookshops all over the place, too. Have a Google for whichever area(s) you’ll be in.
@azurga i’ll also be in london in a few weeks (march 9-17). it’s my first time there for any extended period, so this thread has been helping me prioritize music, art, and food picks as well. keep the suggestions coming!
Thanks everyone! I show this thread to my girlfriend Yesterday (she’s going with me) and she was amazed. Not only because of the recommendations, but for the kindness and friendliness of the people on this forum
Here are some picks that haven’t been mentioned.
Music technology > Wunjo Keys has a basement with lots of synths and the guys are happy to set any up for you to play, no eurorack but good to test out newer stuff like Digitone etc.
London Modular > great guys, but ring in advance.
Vinyl / CDs >Phonica records for dance, Sister Ray for everything else ( both Soho)
Gosh Comics / Orbital Comics > independent comic stores with comic art exhibitions and loads of other cool indie stuff. ( Soho/Leicester square)
Books > Foyles. great independent book shop on many floors… like visiting a life before Amazon.
Theatre > Soho theatre does short runs of comedians and other interesting shows. Curzon is a central Arthouse cinema, with a nice bar.
Institute of Contemporary Arts > near buckingham palace if you want to do the whole touristy thing, but great exhibitions/ great cinema/great bar restaurant.
These are all very central so you dont have to make a special visit. other places like Cafe OTO are really great but destinations outside central ( & not necessarily on a underground line)
a day in Hackney Wick/Dalston/Stoke Newington would be great for a trip out to north east
a day in Central London would be great with the shops I have mentioned.
a day south London ending on the Southbank (/ Tate Modern BFI/National Theatre/Old/young VIC would also be really nice)