Why haven’t I explored this cosmopolitan thoroughfare before? That’s my first thought stomping down busy Green Lanes on an icy winter night. And I’m equally impressed that the six-mile road, one of the longest in the capital, in fact covers five postcodes; we even tick off two – N4 and N8 – on our visit.
Harringay’s main shopping street (its orange Overground station is just nine minutes from Gospel Oak) is a lively mish-mash of Kurdish and Turkish bakeries, grocers, cafes, bars and restaurants. My guide, incidentally, is local PR bloke Steve, who has lived in the area with his husband for three years.
Fancy a pint? We did, starting at the Brouhaha (501 Green Lanes N4), a candlelit craft beer bar (with recent restaurant extension) that serves all the usual north London breweries like Beavertown and Pressure Drop.Over the road is – according to Steve – the best of many Turkish restaurants along the stretch. He’s not wrong: Gökyüzu (26-28 Grand Parade N4), which celebrates its 20th birthday this year, is so popular they’ve recently expanded into a vast new adjoining space, and a makeover has made the interior feel more contemporary (as well as shriekingly noisy, every table bagged by huge groups of families and friends).
Again, the advice of a local proves invaluable: don’t bother with starters, he says, as you get complimentary freshly baked flatbread, dips and generous salad as standard before the mains. Instead we order two larger meaty plates to share: textbook chicken shish skewered and grilled over charcoal, and lamb chops, the fat scorched, the flesh juicy. To wash it down? A classic dry, fruity Yakut, the popular Turkish wine.Afterwards, it’s back to pints at the area’s big-balled boozer, the 1899-built Grade II-listed Salisbury (1 Grand Parade N4), a magnificent fun-palace that, with its French Renaissance style – all gables and cupolas – evokes something of the St Pancras Hotel. Its succession of nooks, with engraved mirrors and art nouveau details, are all lit by roaring fires: we grab a corner perch and admire the merlot-coloured walls and painted cornices. (Trivia fans will enjoy the fact that 1980s classic The Long Good Friday and 1992 movie Chaplin were also shot there).
Still thirsty after all that – or is it now time for a choon or two? Take a nightcap at speakeasy Jam in The Jar (599a Green Lanes N8), which whips up potent libations at reasonable prices (our Campari spritzes were £6.50), with bands playing most nights to the head-nodding crowd.
And you can even Overground it back home before midnight. Harringhurray: said no-one, ever.