Best new openings 2016

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This year local independent eating, shopping and boozing scenes grew busier than ever. Our Top 10 favourites – as well as five to lament


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1. Her Upstairs

HERR at Her Upstairs. Photo: LBTM
Performer HERR at Her Upstairs. Photo: LBTM
In an age of LGBT bar closures, this intimate drag venue, with its hilarious, lippy performers, is all the more welcome. Read our full review here. 18 Kentish Town Rd NW5

2. Arbour Café

Arbour Cafe.
Arbour Cafe feels exotic even at this time of year.
This sun-trap greenhouse, packed with palms and ferns, is a top choice for superior coffee and toasties. Read our review here. Boma garden store, 51-53 Islip St NW5

3. Diverse

'We originally looked at Blustons - however Fortess Road has always had a magnetic pull'. Photo: Diverse
‘We originally looked at Blustons – however Fortess Road has always had a magnetic pull’. Photo: Diverse
An acclaimed Upper Street ladieswear boutique moved into NW5 to cheers from locals. Read our interview with founder Saskia here. 148 Fortess Rd NW5

4. Jessica De Lotz

Counter area, with workshop just through the alcove. Photo: JDL
Counter area, with workshop just through the alcove. Photo: JDL
The award-winning jeweller has opened a fascinating store and workshop. Read our interview with owner Jessica here. 49 Fortess Rd NW5

Related reading

5. Pizzeria di Camden

A handful of tables at Pizzeria. Photo: PdC
A handful of tables at Pizzeria Di Camden. Photo: PdC
This new canalside stone-baked pizza is one of our top discoveries of the year. Read our review here. 195 Royal College St NW1

6. Butchies

Butchies 'Clancy'. Photo: PR
Butchies ‘Clancy’. Photo: PR
The most tender fried buttermilk chicken we’ve tasted is available from this Camden Market hatch. Read more here.

7. Natural Food Store

Cafe and food store in one. Photo: SE
Cafe and food store in one. Photo: SE
A useful addition to the stretch near The Abbey pub – and a winning combo of organic groceries, wine and café with terrace for warmer weather. Read our review here.136 Kentish Town Rd NW1

8. KERB

View over towards the bar. Photo: Jason Bailey
View over towards the bar. Photo: Jason Bailey
Thirty-five of London’s best streetfood traders are now perusable right by the water. Just dodge the crowds. Read our review here. Camden Lock Place

9. Nice Green Café

Mid-century vibes at the Nice Green Cafe and Arts Club. Photo: Stephen Emms
Mid-century vibes at the Nice Green Cafe and Arts Club. Photo: Stephen Emms
Fresh-cooked breakfasts, lunches and cakes by day with ace nightly schedule of events, from supper clubs to yoga. Read more here. 53 Fortess Rd NW5

10. KenFishTown

Eat-in at the counter. Photo: SE
Eat-in at the counter. Photo: SE
Tasty, punning cod and chips from an outlet that has sold it for decades. Read our review here. 385 Kentish Town Rd NW5

This is box title

And lest we forget: Top 5 2016…

sadface

1. Queen’s Crescent Market
Camden Council have run this popular twice-weekly market into the ground in the last twelve months. Us locals expect a real working plan for 2017, please!

2. Two Doors Down
A sad closure: the hugely popular coffee shop disappeared without trace one summer morning. And let’s not forget Shoe Shop too.

Queen's Crescent market. Photo: SE
Queen’s Crescent market. Photo: SE

3. Magdala Tavern
The Heathside pub, where Ruth Ellis famously shot her lover, is now shut permanently.

4. Lido Café
It only survived one season – let’s hope new owners in 2017 make this scenic Heath hangout work.

5. Lord Southampton
The new managers of this lovely traditional Gospel Oak pub, where Karl Marx used to drink, have painted the exterior an ugly red-and-black, and revamped it as a tacky backpacker hostel.

Where’s the new Patron deli? Lazy Hunter? Laksa Kitchen? Why, they’re all in our Top 10 Food & Drink 2016 chart here.


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