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Upper Street, Photo: Peter Catchpole

Spotlight on Angel Islington

13 April 2018 Suzanne Frost

Close to all the action, but also offering a tranquil village atmosphere, Angel has its very own cultural and creative identity without being touristy. Angel offers something for everyone with a myriad of restaurants all down fashionable Upper Street, the lifeline of the neighbourhood, running all the way from Angel Station to Highbury& Islington.

Apart from being a food hotspot, Angel is also home to a wide spectrum of theatre venues starting with Sadler’s Wells, London’s number one dance house on Roseberry Avenue. The Old Red Lion on St. John’s Street is one of London’s oldest and most beloved theatre pubs playing both old and (mostly) new fringe theatre on its matchbox sized stage. Also check out the famous Hummingbird Bakery right across the street for some of the sweetest cupcakes in town.

The Everyman on the Green

The Angel Shopping Centre is home to the Vue Islington, a multiplex cinema that also screens every theatrical broadcast from the National Theatre or the Royal Opera House. The cutest cinema in Islington has to be the Everyman on the Green though, where you can make a proper event of your visit getting served delicious cocktails and finger food while you snuggle up under a blanket on one of their comfy sofas.
 
Camden Passage

Camden Passage is a tucked away little alley that looks positively Parisian and could be straight out of Amelie. Come here for the Antiques market every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday or just sit down in one of the adorable cafes for breakfast. Kipferl deserves a mention for being one of the very few originally Viennese coffeehouses in London. Enjoy some proper Kaiserschmarrn, Palatschinken or Schnitzel and wash it down with a real Viennese melange.
 
On the other side of the street, Vivo has one of the best secret roof top terraces in the city where you can sit in an oasis of calm and sunshine while you enjoy some Italian pasta and salads.
 
In summer, people are relaxing and having impromtu picnics on Islington Green, a great place to chill out on a lunch break.

Islington Green

Heading up Upper Street, the King’s Head Theatre is another theatre pub always punching above its weight programming the best of Edinburgh Fringe and big current issue theatre for its blackbox studio space. A little further up the street the internationally renowned Almeida is regularly launching the next big thing in theatre. Come here to see the next generation of writers and actors in an intimate 300-seat setting before they transfer to the West End.
 
Pine and Oak Village

In terms of shops, the area around Almeida Street boasts Hexagon, a French lifestyle concept store, scandi furniture from HAYGEN, Pine and Oak Village, close to Highbury & Islington does custom made industrial style furniture, lamps and accessories from reclaimed woods and other vintage finds. Talk to the very knowledgeable team if you need anything made to measure. Aria One Six Eight has its second showroom on Upper Street displaying their range of homeware, furnishings and fashion and just this week, Danish brand Rain opened its first London store after concept stores in Paris and Amsterdam. Niche cosmetics brands Aesop, Kiehls and Malin & Goetz all compete on the same corner and do walk down Cross Street for a sneak peek at Tallullah Lingerie, a fancy hand made lingerie store that looks like the boudoir of some Golden Hollywood starlet. The lush bits of silk and lace on delicate hangers are all completely unaffordable but being transported to a dreamland comes for free.

Tallulah Lingerie

Equally dreamy but within reach are the fancy cakes in the window of Ottolenghi. The second London restaurant from the beloved TV chef Yotam Ottolenghi serves Mediterranean-inspired food at its finest but the deserts are definitely stealing the show here. Stay in or get something to take away for a short stroll south of Upper Street and you’ll soon find yourself on the tranquil waterway paths of Regents Canal. Escape from the hustle and bustle of London to watch the colourful riverboats go by from one of the little cafes or bars.

Ottolenghi islington by no use for a name @ flickr

To ring in the night, head to Hoxley & Porter for some vintage cocktails in and art deco interior, the Dead Dolls House is a fine dining venue inside a three-storey Victorian Townhouse or look out for the London Cocktail Club Pharmacy, a secret speakeasy bar hiding behind an NHS pharmacy sign outside an off-license shop on Essex Road. Cheers!

Huxley & Porter. Photo: Andrew Beasley
 
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