1. The brand new Swain’s Lane
The chances are, during the last few heady weeks of summer, you drifted over to the newly reopened parade on the eastern tip of the Heath. And what did you think? Do you like, or not?
While for us the jury is perhaps out on the dark red brick of the rebuilt Swain’s Lane’s distinctive curved design, there’s no denying the sheer quality and variety of food and drink on offer.
Some highlights? Belsize and Hampstead stalwart Roni’s Bakery takes centre-stage by the roundabout, its facade giving way to a second outlet of Fortess Road’s popular Fam grocery store, a butcher’s, a rather lovely florist called the Electric Daisy Flower Farm and another Belsize Village outlet, Bourne’s Fishmonger’s, also dishing up tacos in an adjoining shop.
And, at the foot of swooping Highgate Hill, is the prosaically-named Wine Cellar Bar, which looks like it’ll really come into its own during the winter (lockdown permitting, of course). So all in all, plenty to satisfy a daytime, or evening, mooch. Swain’s Lane, N6 6QS
2. The Bicycle Project Pop-Up Community Workshop
Got two wheels that need sprucing up? You’re not alone. This year, as we all know too well, everything bike-related has literally gone through the roof (just calm down on the canal towpaths, cyclists, OK?) So you could do worse than drop into The Bicycle Project, a grassroots community-based initiative supporting cycling in the area. For no fee whatsoever you can receive essential bicycle maintenance, from help with a puncture, brakes and cleaning, to advice for novices. Drop-in every Wednesday from 2-6pm at Zabludowicz Collection, 176 Prince of Wales Road NW5 3PT
3. The Archway Tavern
Sure, this landmark 1888 boozer lay dormant for five years (previous incarnations included the Intrepid Fox and Dusk till Dawn), but now it’s back back back, in contemporary pub style. That means of course all airy windows, simple blond wood and lashings of craft beer, including fantastic local brewery Hammerton. The chandeliers have gone, mind. It reopened at the end of last month at the heart of Navigator Square, the still underrated and refurbed heart of Archway. Want to know our fave bit of trivia on the Tav? At one point, many moons ago, a cable car service up Highgate Hill terminated outside the tavern. Bring that back, TFL! With current social distancing regulations, we’re guessing that’s a no. More info here, Archway Tavern, 6 Archway Rd, N19 3TD