Save Torriano; Lose Liver


Now and again, Mrs Kentishtowner gets a craving to go east. Not necessarily to Shoreditch or Hackney, you understand, riotous …



Now and again, Mrs Kentishtowner gets a craving to go east. Not necessarily to Shoreditch or Hackney, you understand, riotous though both are, but to what a slithersome estate agent might term ‘Torriano Village’, up near Brecknock Road, where NW5 snuggles up to N7.

And nowhere is this postcode axis better personified than the Torriano. Is it a Dalston divebar? A Camden live music boozer? A playground for the area’s more creative (ie drink-sozzled) locals? Whatever, we haven’t been any place as genuinely bohemian for quite a while (just to clarify: bohemian is not a bunch of fresh-faced kids from the ‘burbs, in identikit garb, affecting expressions of doom).

So what did we like so much? The blackboard offering crepes from £2.50, the bespectacled couples bent over games of chess, cowboy-jacketed elder statesmen with fisherman’s beards, the chandeliers swaying when the door rattled, a chalked up list of quite-tempting-actually cocktails…

…but it was when we tiptoed down to the red-lit basement that the magic really happened: on a handful of sofas, bleached-crop youths and bouffant rockers alike were slouched in front of a succession of talented troubadours (stand up Sam Sallon, we salute you!) And the evening’s proceedings were presided over by the bar’s charismatic Sandie Shaw-alike owner, Susie.

At the witching hour we sloped out, guiltily forgetting to purchase our ‘Save Torriano’ merchandise; like all the best places (RIP Monkey Chews) this gem’s threatened by developers too.

Back at the manor, Mrs Kentishtowner realized she had blurred all the interior shots and so was forced to return on Monday morning when, head pounding, dry-of-mouth, she snapped this rather ghostly image:

It doesn’t exactly do the place justice, but then since when did art capture reality?

71-73 Torriano Avenue. (020) 7267 4305.


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  • alistair mcintosh

    The area designation is crystal clear

    The bar is at the foothills of the Brecknock Heights

    And we are not drink sozzled

    It used to be a right dive – great transformation