Frugl Local: Camden Town

Camden punks
Even though its heydays of the 1960s and 1990s have been and gone, Camden still has much to offer, whether it’s to grizzled long time Londoners or wet behind the ears visitors.  Brush shoulders with leathery punks, gloomy goths and patchouli-oiled hippies on your way to some of these excellent Frugl favourites.  Don’t be fooled by the endless head shops and tourist traps – Camden still has much to offer the discerning visitor…
1. Yumchaa – If you need somewhere to get away from the bustle of the market, which resembles your Nan’s front room but with slightly more distressed furniture, then Yumchaa is that place.  A huge array of teas, kitten-soft sumptuous cakes and delicious baguettes are all available, whether you’re stopping off for a quick bite and cuppa or want to hole up for the day with a good book. Opening Times: Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm; Saturday and Sunday 8:30am – 7pm (Parkway) 9am – 6:30pm 35/37 Park Way, (The Old Palmer’s Pet Shop), NW1 7PN and 91/92, Camden Lock Place, Upper Walkway West Yard, NW1 8AF
2. Colonel Fawcett – Hidden away on Randolph Street, near to Camden Road station, this excellent boutique boozer offers pretty much everything you could wish for from a 21st century pub.  It’s got a wider array of gins than your three-times divorced Aunt Marjorie, an award-winning roast, affordable weekday lunches (Chicken, Leek & Ham Pie, Mustard Mash, Kale Coriander Spiced Vegetables, Cracked Wheat, Yoghurt, Toasted Almonds for just £7.50) and a thumping party rhythm of a Friday/Saturday night without ever being uncomfortably full. Opening Times: Monday – Thursday Middday – Midnight; Friday Midday – 1am; Saturday 11am – 1am; Sunday Midday – 11pm.  1 Randolph Street, Camden, NW1 0SS
Coffee jar 2
3. The Coffee Jar – Whereas once Parkway was once just a side-street distraction in Camden, it has very quietly become the main event and places like Coffee Jar are the reason.  Staffed by two hugely friendly ladies from Hungary it sells the richest and deepest flat whites in north London and straightforward chocolate goodies that can kick-start any morning or indulge any teatime.  And you’ll have change from a fiver as well. Opening Times: 7:30am – 5:30pm. 83 Parkway, Camden, NW1 7PP
green note
4. Green Note – This gorgeous little music venue is now a staple of Camden Town, bringing the finest in roots, acoustic and world music to its boutique stage, with the tastiest vegan and vegetarian (probably roots too) food alongside.  Tickets are rarely more than a tenner and you can enjoy rollicking ragtime and seductive sultry jazz or some raucous inbred bluegrass. Opening Times: Monday – Thursday/Sunday 7pm – 11pm; Friday/Saturday 7pm – Midnight. 106 Parkway, London NW1 7AN
Casa tua
5. Casa Tua – Away from the pebble-dash-faced teenage Goth hordes, there’s room for some true Mediterranean class in Camden.  This tiny coffee shop-cum-restaurant packs in all kinds of delights, whether it’s authentically excellent coffee, elegant wines or indulgent banoffee pie.  Giuseppe and Francesco are consistently warm hosts and are always delighted to introduce visitors to their latest delicious import.  All served with suave charm and an endless jazz soundtrack on their old-fashioned gramophone record. Opening Times: 9am – 11pm 176 Royal College St, London NW1 0SP
6. The Forge – Since opening in 2009 The Forge has embodied the vibrancy, charm, and eclecticism of Camden Town, bringing together the diversity of London’s eclectic music scene under one roof with a 300 capacity – making it an intimate setting and firm favourite amongst musicians and music-lovers alike. As a not-for-profit organisation, everything The Forge receives goes back into an ever-expanding programme including DJ & club nights, comedy, children’s events, art exhibitions and workshops. Opening Times: Tuesday – Thursday 10am – midnight; Friday – Saturday 10am – 1am; Sunday 10am – 10.30pm. 3-7 Delancey St, London NW1 7NL
7. Hint Hunt – So technically this is encroaching on Euston’s territory, but it’s so Camden in flavour we have to include it.  One of London’s original escape rooms, relive the 90s Crystal Maze dream by getting locked inside one of two specially designed rooms with four other mates and solve puzzles and clues to try and escape within an hour.  Expect panic, arguments, frantically turning tables, chairs and paintings over in search of inspiration and huge satisfaction when you dive out of the door with seconds to spare. Opening Times: 12pm – 9pm.  72-76 Eversholt St, London NW1 1BY
david roberts
8. David Roberts Art Foundation – Over the last seven years DRAF has realised over forty exhibitions and fifty performance and live events, challenging artists, curators and students to develop their ideas and practices.  If you want to see some of the most innovative new artists before they’re only available in boho Berlin warehouses, pop down to this fascinating gallery space. Opening Times:Thursday -Saturday Midday – 6 pm. Symes Mews, 37 Camden High St, London NW1 7JE.
white kitche
9. White Kitchen – The Mornington Crescent end on Camden High Street has long been the poorer little brother of the main strip, but with delicious little eateries such as this one, it’s starting to stand up for itself.  Offering a richly-varied menu of high quality ingredients, wholesome sauces and and house spices, its the perfect place to pop in for a lightening quick sit-down meal. Opening Times: Monday – Thursday: 4:30pm – Midnight, Friday 4pm – Midnight, Saturday/Sunday Midday – Midnight. 79 Camden High St, NW1 7JL
10. The Constitution – This canal-side Camden classic is the perfect pub, whatever the season.  In summertime you can enjoy their characterful beer garden and a dirty burger, whilst in the winter you can warm yourself down in the basement with their party nights full of soul, ska and rock’n’roll.  It’s just had a makeover as well, so expect some authentically grumpy old-school regulars amid the gorgeous new interiors. Opening Times: Monday – Saturday 11am – Midnight,; Sunday Midday – 10:30pm. 42 St Pancras Way, London NW1 0QT
11. Our Black Heart – Tucked away down Greenland Place, this rocker and punk pub is a great way point between the Camden classic World’s End and the new upstart Brewdog.  The bar is decked out in stylish tattoo-influenced art work, serves excellent rum, ales and cocktails and has a consistently loud and angry jukebox.  The upstairs room regularly hosts great nights, including Josie Long’s Lost Treasures, activist comic Chris Coltrane’s Lolitics and a range of ear-bleedingly good metal and rock bands. Opening Times: Monday/ Tuesday 3pm – 11:30pm Wednesday/Thursday 3pm – 1am; Friday/Saturday Midday- 2am; Sunday Midday – 11pm. 2-3 Greenland Place, NW1 0AP
good mixer camden
12. The Good Mixer – A ramshackle, battered Camden institution.  The beating heart of Camden during the heady days of Britpop, this place is a must for visitors wanting to enjoy a scuzzy pint amongst the potential new rock stars of tomorrow and all the other sat in the gutter, dreaming of the stars types. Opening Times: Monday – Thursday 2am – 1pm; Friday/Saturday Midday – 2am; Sunday 1pm – 12:30am 30 Inverness St, London NW1 7HJ
etc theatre
13. Etcetera Theatre – Located above the great Oxford Arms pub, this tremendous little box theatre plays host to top Fringe productions, as well as improv, stand-up and a fair few major names trying out new material.  Keep your eyes peeled as you could see a star of tomorrow take the stage or even someone like Simon Amstell running through new stuff before a new tour. 265 Camden High St, London NW1 7BU
14. Q Grill – This fairly new addition to Camden has got everything going for it.  If you’re shopping in the Stables Market then hop across the road to grab a well-stacked burger and a cocktail to keep you refreshed before you head back into the rabbit’s warren to fetch those bondage trousers and vintage trilby your wardrobe needs. Opening Times: Monday – Thursday Midday – 11:30pm; Friday Midday – Midnight; Saturday 10am – Midnight; Sunday 11am – 10:30pm.  29-33 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AJ
15. Made in Brasil – There are a bunch of excellent shops and bars on Inverness Street, near the station.  Once you’ve satiated your vinyl and comic book lusts, pop into this vibrant venue for a sugary Brazilian cocktail.  It couldn’t be further from the scuzzy Camden rock image – staff always have broad smiles, the music is permanently set to samba and you can always shake your booty with abandon of an evening. Opening Times: Monday – Thursday/ Sunday 11am – 1am; Saturday/Sunday 11am – 2am. 12 Inverness Street, Camden Town, NW1 7HJ
16. Cottons Rhum Shack – This is a Mecca for fans of rum.  This legendary Caribbean restaurant has been serving up spicy, bright dishes for 30 years, accompanied with the sort of rum collection that is the stuff of Jack Sparrow’s dreams! Opening Times: Monday – Thursday 5pm – Midnight; Friday 5pm – 2am; Saturday Midday – 2am; Sunday Midday – Midnight. 55 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AN
17. Joe’s – If you want some good, old-fashioned, no-nonsense weekend fun, then Joe’s is probably the pick of Camden.  Opposite the sentinel that is The Roundhouse, Joe’s offers good cheer, outstanding hot dogs, perfect rock’n’roll playlists and an over-21’s policy to keep out the cocksure young palookas. Opening Times: 5pm – 3am, every day. 78 – 79 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AR
Lord stanley
18. The Lord Stanley – Right on the outskirts of Camden Town is this little gem.  Whether you want a swift pint, a slap-up Sunday roast from its open kitchen or a quick game of boules in the beer garden, this place should definitely be ticked off your London drinking checklist. Opening Times: Monday – Thursday Midday – 11pm; Friday/Saturday Midday – Midnight; Sunday Midday – 10:30pm. 51 Camden Park Road, Camden Town, NW1 9BH
Camden comedy club
19. Camden Comedy Club – For as long as we can remember the Camden Head has hosted comedy in its top room, but in the past 12 months it has been transformed by promoter Lucy Danser.  It now runs 7 nights a week, with Friday and Saturday nights hosting some of the finest talent on the London and international circuit, whilst the rest of the week there are a cornucopia of comic delight and intrigue, including work-in-progress shows from massive TV names, improvised comedy and batshit-crazy comedy experiments. Opening Times: 7pm – 11pm Every day. 100 Camden High St, London NW1 0LU
20. Electric Ballroom – We couldn’t cover Camden without mentioning this legendary venue.  A stage that’s been around since the dawn of time and has hosted everyone from the Chilli Peppers to McCartney to to The Clash Reef (hey, us 90s kids love em!)  Anyone who is anyone in the world of rock’n’roll will have graced this stage at some point.  It hosts the archetypal Camden indie night, plus up and coming bands and hush-hush surprise performance from the big guys.  Stick on your skinny jeans and get ready for the mosh pit! 184 Camden High St, NW1 8QP
21. Camden’s Daughter – So technically this venue is in Kentish Town, but the branding is all Camden.  Since Camden Brewery opened in 2010 it has been pumping out the tastiest , hoppiest beers and ales.  At last they’ve finally opened up their first pub and it’s everything you could wish for: 13 different species of beer available with tasty bar snacks and luscious kebabs (ready for takeaway) made of the most responsibly-sourced lamb, as well as morning doughnuts to help soak up the excesses of the night before.  This is going to be everyone’s new local. Make sure to make it yours too. Opening Times: 11am – 11pm.  289-291 Kentish Town Road, NW5 2JS
22. Hook – In one of the most proudly British boroughs in the country, what could be better than eating the most British dish of fish and chips.  From the simple beginnings on a Dublin market stall in 2011 they’ve honed this classic dish to perfection, whilst always making sure to work with small fisheries and responsibly-sourced stocks.  Thanks to that approach the menu is always changing depending on what that catch of the day is, but it is never less than delicious!  Opening Times: Tuesday – Thursday Midday – 3pm/5pm- 10pm; Friday/Saturday Midday – 10:30pm; Sunday Midday – 9pm. 63 Parkway,Camden Town, NW1 7PP
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