It’s the last entry of the year so, wrapping up our first season here at the KT, we’re pleased to unveil our inaugural Kentishtowner Top 10 for 2010.
#1. Southampton Arms.
Why? Roaring fire, wood-panelled interior, directional lighting, brain-fryingly strong ciders, dayglo ales, pork ‘n’ apple baps, a friendly crowd (you really do start talking to everybody), vinyl-only music policy, upright piano. No credit cards. No bookings. No wankers (other than the occasional territorial real ale drinker).
#2. Kentish Canteen
It may have swanned into our lives only a couple of months ago, but already it’s the hottest diner in town: we visited again last week and rejoiced over tender squid, batter-less fish and chips, and a rich chocolate pot. Staff are lovely too. Two points, though: how about a tastier house red, and a specific bar area too?
Go for the interior alone (it’s a former Methodist Chapel), not to mention some big name as well as upcoming artists. Stay for the coffee and chic little cafe.
#4. Map Studio & Cafe, Grafton Road
The best purse-friendly, home-cooked lunch in NW5 (at around a fiver), a pile of newspapers, great coffee, a blues soundtrack, bohemian interior, and lazy people-watching terrace (although maybe not at this time of year). Jazz and spoken word in the evenings. Our unofficial HQ.
#5. Spring Studios.
We love Spring Projects, the big contemporary art gallery, but we can’t get enough of the bar upstairs right now. Armchairs to die for, and the politest barman in town to boot. Get your membership today! (It’s free if you’re local). One request: please open the restaurant in the evening.
We have a soft spot for this tiny white space which hosted one of our favourite exhibitions this year, by contemporary British landscape artist Jason Hicklin. In fact, Mrs Kentishtowner even purchased a rather fine etching.
Have a wander down cobbled Wilkin Street Mews by Kentish Town West Overground and you can gawp at this modern brewery, now supplying all our favourite boozers in the area with above-decent lager, wheat beer and pale ale. One question: why not organize tasting sessions for 2011?
#8. The Flowerpot.
Kentish Town’s most influential new music venue makes the list as it survived till the end of October, although it has since relocated to murky Camden (boo!) But can what has now been again rebranded the Bullet Bar cut the mustard?
Is it recession-proof? Will it survive another generation? Only if you stop going to the supermarket and support this NW5 institution.
You’ve probably guessed we’re not the sportiest of souls (although Mrs Kentishtowner does like to run up the stairs with a bottle of wine in her hand) but these beautiful, world-class Victorian baths cost £25 million, and six years, to restore. Go swim.
So what do you think? This kinda stuff is subjective, after all. We know there are loads of great places we’ve missed, from the City Farm to The Junction, the Lion & Unicorn theatre to Aces & Eights, Bintang to Annroy. Give us your Top 5, or Top 10. Any offers? Oh, and see you again here around Jan 5.
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