The City isn’t just filled with briefcases and bankers – it’s also home to Clerkenwell, an area that boasts an array of independent shops, bars and restaurants. Here’s our pick of the best places to eat and drink in the heart of London…

The Modern Pantry

The Modern Pantry caters to a range of dining options, with breakfast, afternoon tea, cream tea, weekend brunch, and an all day menu. Their bar also serves an eclectic mix of wines and cocktails, which can be enjoyed on their sunny outdoor terrace on St John’s Square.

Dans Le Noir?

Dans Le Noir provides a sensory experience aimed to heighten your tastebuds, as everything is served “dans le noir” – in the dark. This also brings a new way of socialising, with the entire restaurant comprising sharing tables. Guests share meals in darkness and engage in conversations with people they’ve never met nor seen, while learning about blindness and disability.

Upon arrival, you must choose from a series of Surprise Menus – one meat based, one vegetarian/vegan, one pescatarian, and one a mixture of seafood and meat. The menu will be revealed after the meal.

19:20

19:20 is an American style bar with an informal, relaxed style for pool players and non pool players alike. Their basement bar is home to a 15m long zinc topped bar serving cocktails, beers, and classic American diner food.

Bleeding Heart Tavern

If you’re looking for authentic French food and wine, look no further than the Bleeding Heart Tavern. Voted the most romantic restaurant in London by The Times, the tavern, bistro, and restaurant is an ideal place for a date or catching up with friends and colleagues. Be sure to try their famous Cheeseboard.

Iberica

Following the European theme, Iberica takes Spanish tapas to the next level with their amazing ‘Croqiuetas de Jamon’ (ham croquettes) and chorizo lollipops. They cater for all types of relaxed dining – from paella lunches, to sharing tapas, to just small bites to eat at the bar with a glass of wine. They also have restaurants in Marylebone, Canary Wharf, Farringdon, and Victoria.

Look Mum No Hands!

LMNH is a combination of cafe, bicycle workshop, exhibition space and bar. A packed program of exhibitions, film screenings, live cyclesport and even cycle speed dating ensure that LMNH is always buzzing with all the different elements of London’s cycle culture.

Briki

Deli and coffee brewery Briki offers new, alternative choices with traditional recipes and quality coffee. Located in the popular Exmouth Market, their recipes come “straight from grandma’s cookbook”.

The Dovetail

Traditional Belgian pub The Dovetail serves the finest Belgian beers and traditional dishes like waffles, moules frites, and croquettes. Tucked away in the quiet  Jerusalem Passage, The Dovetail is an intimate, relaxed setting – perfect for a romantic meal or drinks with friends.

Caravan

Another Exmouth Market staple is Caravan, home to a deliciously varied menu from breakfast to brunch to main plates and freshly roasted coffee. Come in the morning for a hot cup of joe with the papers, or head there after work for cocktails and small plates.

Nestled between the buzzing vibes of Shoreditch and the quieter Victoria Park village is Bethnal Green, which like many places in east London, is now one of the city’s trendiest neighbourhoods. If you’re out and about near Bethnal Green this weekend, here are our top picks of bars and restaurants to try:

Sager + Wilde

Tucked under the railway arches of Bethnal Green station is Sager + Wilde (and the next two places on our list, too!).

Working with local, seasonal produce, Sager + Wilde’s main dinner menu has a strong Italian influence – grab a bowl of pasta and a glass of house wine for £10 every day from 5-7pm. Or alternatively, they offer a group menu of three courses for £29 a head. Of course, like any good east London restaurant, there’s also a brunch menu and a selection of house cocktails.

Find out more here.

Mother Kelly’s

Perfect for a relaxed drink after work, Mother Kelly’s is a New York inspired taproom and bottle shop. They work with independent breweries all over the world with a wide variety of beers – from the affordable, familiar brands to the more limited edition bottles. They also serve sharing boards of cured meats and cheeses prepared in-house, and street food from local vendors on the weekends.

Find out more here.

The Japanese Canteen

After a few drinks at Mother Kelly’s, head next door to The Japanese Canteen if you’re in the mood for quality yet inexpensive authentic Japanese food. Their sushi is always served fresh, and is from sustainable resources.

Find out more here.

The Larder

Just a few minutes’ walk from Bethnal Green station is The Larder, a bright and airy cafe serving a wide variety of vegetarian food and drink, including a vegetarian afternoon tea and a large selection of juices and smoothies.

Find out more here.

St Margaret’s House

St Margaret’s House is a local charity supporting creativity, wellbeing, and community in Bethnal Green. Their buildings are home to more than 27 community organisations and charities, and their Gallery Cafe.

The cafe offers low-cost vegan dishes, locally ground Fairtrade coffee, and healthy juices as well as a programme of events and monthly art exhibitions – plus their back garden is the perfect sun trap in summer months. Oh, and they’ve also won Best Cafe in Bethnal Green at the Time Out Love London Awards for the last three consecutive years.

Find out more here.

Star of Bethnal Green

The Star of Bethnal Green is a little gem on Bethnal Green Road, with a selection of locally brewed beers, a legendary Sunday Roast, and DJs and disco nights in the evenings. They also offer a loyalty card for locals, 2 for 1 cocktails on Thursdays, and 20% off all food and drinks on Wednesdays.

Find out more here.

Islington may be the second smallest borough in London – but there’s plenty going on, especially this April. Take a look at our pick of the upcoming events this month to fill your diary:

Portrait Painting at Candid Arts

Feeling creative? Candid Arts on Torren Street (next to Angel Underground station) are running their popular portrait painting course on 7th April (and throughout May). The class is suitable for all levels, so beginners are welcome, and the course includes plenty of demonstration and one-to-one tuition.

Find out more and book here.

The Writer at the Almeida Theatre

Running from 14th April – 26th May is The Writer, a powerful new production from director Blanche McIntyre. The story focuses on a young writer looking to challenge the status quo, who discovers that creative gain comes at a personal cost.

Find out more and book here.

St George’s Dinner at Harry’s Bar

The newly refurbished Harry’s Bar & Brasserie on Ironmonger Lane is holding a St George’s Day Q&A session with boxer Frank Warren. Tickets are £75, to include a four course meal, tea or coffee, a pairing wine, and a donation to Frank Warren’s chosen charities. These are Debra, that supports individuals and families affected by the skin condition Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), and Nordoff Robbins, a music therapy charity.

Contact Claire Hooper on 020 7600 0300 to book.

Plastic at the Old Red Lion Theatre

Plastic is an emotional new drama showing throughout April at the Red Lion Theatre on St John Street. The play is about time, memory and escape by BAFTA nominated playwright Kenneth Emson and directed by 2017 JMK Award winner Josh Roche.

Book tickets and get more information here.

London Art Fair

The 31st annual London Art Fair is returning to the Business Design Centre in Angel. Bringing together more than 100 galleries with sculptures, paintings, photographs, ceramics and more, the event showcases contemporary artwork from the 20th century to today. As well as the main fair, there are also two smaller, specially curated exhibitions showcasing less established galleries with new works and contemporary photography.

Find out more here.

Comedy at the Union Chapel

West Yorkshire comedian Daniel Kitson hosts April’s edition of Live at the Union Chapel on 7th April, with some special guests to get your ribs aching. These include 8 out of 10 Cats and Taskmaster guest Sara Pascoe, five times Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee James Acaster, sketch trio Gein’s Family Giftshop and Tom Parry of the three-man comedy act Pappy’s.

Book tickets here.

The Singing Mermaid at The Little Angel Theatre

The Little Angel Theatre’s puppet show adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s classic picture book, The Singing Mermaid, is sure to keep the kids entertained this April – and maybe the grown ups too! Running until the 22nd April, the show follows a singing mermaid who is tempted away from all of her sea creature friends to join a travelling circus.

Book tickets and find out more here.

Now that the Beast from the East has cleared and the daffodils are blooming, this only means one thing – spring is on its way. OK, it’s not exactly warm yet, but soon it will be; which means it’s time to decorate accordingly. There are some fantastic new interior design trends emerging (or re-emerging) for spring, so here are our top picks to try out at home:

1. Gelato walls

Pastel pink, mint green, a light coffee – keep your wall colours soft and delicate this spring to add a fresher feel. If there’s a flavour of ice cream in the same colour, you’re probably on the right track.

2. Jungle fever

Tropical motifs and plants have been a popular trend for a while now, and spring is the time to follow this to the full. Pair larger potted plants and hanging succulents with brown leather furnishings to give your home the ultimate dose of jungle fever.

3. Shine on

Another trend that looks like it’s sticking around for a while is metallics, specifically copper and rose gold. Adding accessories with brassy tones gives your room an instant modern upgrade.

4. Wall plates

Do you have a set of plates that are too nice to use every day, but you still want to show off? This is the solution. According to Lucy Currell of interior design company Studio Iro in a piece for The Times, “the ceramics add depth, texture and pattern, either singularly or as a collection”… so put them on display immediately!

5. Shape up

Along with tropical motifs and metallics came a trend for geometric shapes and furniture. A great place to show this off quickly and easily is with light fittings – swap a lampshade for a geometric shell (bonus points if it’s in copper or rose gold). Geometric patterns are also a great design for tiles, so if you’re redecorating the kitchen or bathroom, this could be a style to consider.

6. Add pops of colour

Gone are the dark days of winter – it’s time to come alive and shake off the gloom and cold. What better way to do that than with colour (and lots of it)? Adding small pops of colour with cushions/throws can really boost the whole feel of the room – especially if interesting materials and designs are used; pom-poms and fringing are always a fun addition.

7. Back to basics

Spring is all about getting back to nature – with the weather cheering up, the daffodils coming back and blossom filling the trees. It’s therefore the best time to incorporate natural elements into your home; go for wooden utensils, sideboards, and decorations as well as animal prints and soft, earthy colours.

8. Go sustainable

With a fresh start comes a fresh outlook – if you’re looking to be more eco-friendly, Artisan Lifestyle have a fabulous range of 100% recycled glassware that looks amazing and also help you do your bit for the planet.

9. Get clever with storage

De-cluttering is one of the first things to do in a spring clean – and a great way to get your stuff in order is with clever storage. Think Scandinavian minimalism and opt for an interesting console. Clear your belongings out of the way whilst also adding an interesting new piece of statement furniture to the room.

10. Add some texture

Ceramic vases, pots, and bowls add an extra feeling of homeliness – especially if they’re handmade. Opt for a smooth white with a subtle pattern or interesting shape to bring some minimalist but cosy sophistication to your living room.

Fast becoming one of Hackney’s trendiest hotspots, London Fields is full of independent bars and restaurants, with Broadway Market offering a whole host of culinary gems. Here’s our top pick of places to go for a bite and a cocktail (or two).

Sans Pere

Sans Pere opened the doors to its second venue on Broadway Market in November. A French bistro with a twist, Sans Pere has created a menu perfect for those with a sweet tooth, offering up a unique and vibrant selection of cocktails, desserts and specialist coffees.

Innovative, French inspired cocktails are paired with each dessert. The cocktails incorporate homemade ingredients alongside classic French ingredients.

Find out more here.

Tuyo

Further down Broadway Market, overlooking the Regent’s canal, is Tuyo. Spanish for ‘yours’, Tuyo serves a range of Mediterranean inspired tapas, pinchos, and bigger sharing dishes. Tuyo’s tapas are not just Spanish, they are also influenced by Greek and Turkish recipes to bring a mixture of flavours from the Med.

Book a table here.

Okko

Okko’s colourful Japanese dishes are beautifully presented, delicious, and good for you. Inspired by modern Japanese cuisine, the food is perfectly prepared, with the wooden furnishings and minimalist decor bringing the atmosphere of a modern Tokyo cafe.

Book a table here.

Off Broadway

A favourite amongst locals, including a few celebrities (Kirsten Dunst, Michael Fassbender, and Keira Knightley have all been spotted there), Off Broadway serves a range of fun cocktails and bar snacks. Go for the buzzy atmosphere, stay for the resident cat.

Find out more here.

Twigs

Both a plant shop and a cafe, Twigs serves healthy lunches, brunches, and delicious macaron ice cream sandwiches. Pick up a new succulent for your living room and stop for a bite to eat, all under one roof.

Find out more here.

Insitute of Light

The Institute of Light is Hackney’s newest collaborative space under the railway arches of London Fields station. IOL is a cinema, record store, bookshop, cafe, and restaurant/bar. Their menu is based around a fusion of Anglo-French cuisine, and is dependent on seasonal and market produce.

Book a table here. 

Martello Hall

Perfectly positioned on the corner of Mare Street and Warburton Road (which heads down to the fields) is Martello Hall, a bar, restaurant, and workspace. Head there on a Sunday for a roast, during the week for bottomless coffee and fast wifi, or on a Saturday night for pizza from their wood fired oven and their delicious range of cocktails. You can also hold your own event here – or attend one of theirs, like supper club, late night DJs, and Sunday jazz.

Book a table here.

Climpson and Sons

Climpson and Sons roast their own coffee in-house, and are constantly on the lookout for the best flavours and techniques. They take their work seriously, with an ethos towards sustainability and ethical sourcing, and also run workshops and courses to help others brew their own perfect cup of joe.

Find out more here. 

 

Still sticking to your New Year’s resolution of eating clean/losing weight? Going out to eat doesn’t have to be a way of spoiling the diet or a grueling trial of resisting temptation – these restaurants in east London have the ticket for sticking to your plans without having to compromise on taste:

The Gate, Islington

Just a five minute walk down the street from Angel tube station is The Gate, a vegan and vegetarian restaurant specialising in inventive, healthy dishes. The Gate is now widely recognised as the best vegan & vegetarian restaurant in London.

Book a table here.

Redemption, Shoreditch 

Dubbed “London’s healthiest restaurant”, and with the motto ‘spoil yourself without spoiling yourself’, Redemption bar serves vegan, sugar-free, and wheat-free food with an alcohol-free bar. The business is also run by two strong female entrepreneurs: Catherine Salway and Andrea Waters, who “try to delight even the most sceptical meat lovers and challenge the convention that healthy food is boring or lacking finesse.”

Book a table here.

Beany Green, Liverpool Street 

In ‘Broadgate Circle’ next to Liverpool Street station, Beany Green is an “inner city oasis with an upbeat Aussie vibe” which opens at 6am on weekdays and stays open til late. Serving a range of healthy breakfasts and lunches, coffee, and fresh juices/smoothies, Beany Green is also available for private hire in the evenings.

Book a table here.

Clerkenwell Grind, Clerkenwell 

Clerkenwell Grind is an all day cafe and restaurant, with a downstairs Club Bar that stays open until 2am. Their menu has a little bit of everything – breakfast, brunch, and all day meals, including some scrumptious salads with plenty of flavours to keep you on the healthy eating streak.

Book a table here.

Andina, Shoreditch

Andina is a modern ‘picanteria’: an all-day restaurant serving healthy food and drinks from the Peruvian Andes. Their food is a perfect fusion of South American flavour and British styles, filled with superfoods like quinoa, kale, and chia seeds to give it that healthy boost.

Book a table here.

Granger and Co, Clerkenwell

Another Australian-inspired restaurant, Granger and Co describe themselves as “sunny, easy-going and generous”. Just opposite Clerkenwell Green, the restaurant has a beautiful view of this well preserved green space. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Granger and Co’s menus are packed with healthy but substantial recipes, including grains, a selection of fish dishes, barbecue meats, and healthy drinks.

Book a table here.

Blixen, Spitalfields Market 

In a converted bank near Old Spitalfields Market is Blixen, which has been designed to look like the grand cafes of Europe with a plant filled conservatory, beautifully decorated event space, and private dining areas. The menu also takes inspiration from traditionally European dishes, with a selection of small plates and salads, as well as juices and their ‘house soda’ (grapefruit and coriander).

Book a table here.

Now December’s here, it can only mean one thing: Christmas is coming. To get your home into the festive feel and prepare it for house guests over the holiday period, we’ve put together some top tips to get your home looking merry and bright…

1. Clear out the bookshelves

A minimalist design with touches of gold and silver ornaments will add an understated yet festive atmosphere to any room. Wrap books in leftover wrapping paper to give them a bit of sparkle and then stack horizontally for full effect.

2. Don’t pin your stockings

Instead of trying to stick a drawing pin into the mantelpiece to hang your stockings, use some festive hooks to both save your furniture and create a Christmas feeling in your living room.

3. Get the greenery out

Adding touches of green and gold to your home brings a level of festive style that’s still sophisticated. Wrap lights around wreaths to get the Christmassey colour combination, as well as adding some warmth to the room.

4. Fill the air with Christmas

Scented candles can add a more cosy and inviting atmosphere if you opt for a cinnamon or gingerbread based scent, and at Christmas time they can also double as a centrepiece if adorned with a mini wreath.

5. Get crafty with your cards

Instead of just sticking your cards on the fridge, get crafty and find an interesting way to hang them. Even just pegging them to a piece of string can create a festive bunting effect that will spruce up the room and show your friends and family you appreciate their well wishes.

6. Crack out the cocoa

Everybody loves a mug of something warm around Christmas time, and a hot chocolate station is a great way to invite guests to get creative and make themselves the perfect winter treat. Add jars of mini marshmallows, cream, and powdered chocolate to offer your guests all the trimmings. Similarly, a bar cart is crucial at Christmas time to display a section of festive tipples.

7. Fill the room

In a piece for House Beautiful, Bryan Rafanelli (The White House’s Christmas Designer) advised readers to “use objects with different heights to build a sense of adventure on the tabletop. Bringing the ceiling down with snowflakes and the table up with towering candlesticks isn’t just pretty, it also supplies a feeling of intimacy, which is crucial to a successful party.” Simple designs like these oversized stars and snowflakes (which you can buy on Amazon) adds something extra to the room without being too over the top.

8. Give a warm welcome

Make a festive first impression by decorating your front door/porch. Wreaths are an obvious must, but if you have any greenery by your front door, adding lights gives an instant Christmas glow. Lanterns, tea lights, and seasonal doormats are also a great way to get your guests in the Christmas spirit before they’ve even entered your house.

9. No fire? No problem

If you don’t have a working fireplace, you can still achieve a warm Christmas glow with gold glass terrariums and tealights.

10. Dress up the sofa

Christmas is definitely the time for snuggling up on the sofa for games, Christmas films, and opening presents – so make sure your sofa is spruced up with cushions and blankets. Inject red and white tones with greys to contrast for a cosy yet understated vibe.

Get your costume ready and leave some sweets out for the trick or treaters, because there’s plenty to get up to for Halloween this year. Here are our top picks of what’s on offer in East London:

Carnival of Carnage – Hoxton

The Kings Head Members Club plays host to a creepy club night filled with horror stories and séances. With a dress code of ‘clowns in cravats, dandy devils, tailcoated terrors and monocled mummies’ you’re sure to be in for a trendy Halloween.

Get your ticket here

Nosferatu Screening – Shoreditch

For a truly spine-chilling viewing, head to the Old Street Church, St Luke’s. The beautiful, deconsecrated building is the perfect setting for a screening of the iconic vampire film Nosferatu. The film will also be accompanied by a live musical score from The Cabinet of Living Cinema.

Get your ticket here

Dead Dolls House Halloween – Islington

The Dead Doll’s House is a Victorian townhouse that is famously rumoured to be haunted – the ideal location for a Halloween party. Join them on the 27th October for their annual Halloween ball, with a dinner early in the evening, followed by a DJ set until the early hours.

Get your tickets here

Halloween in the Sky – Aldgate

Party the night away 35 floors over the streets of London at the Sky Garden in Aldgate. The famous bar and restaurant will be transformed into a deadly disco with live music, make-up artists, and Halloween themed food and drinks.

Get your ticket here

Hocus Pocus Halloween – Shoreditch

The Book Club in Shoreditch is holding a screening of the much-loved 90s classic, Hocus Pocus, followed by a Halloween themed club night. Sip on witches brew, have your face painted, and dance the night away to your favourite 90s tunes.

Get your tickets here

Oblique Voodoo Halloween – Islington

Angel’s boutique cocktail club, Ladybird, will be transformed into a glow in the dark Caribbean jungle for their Voodoo Halloween night. With face painting, tarot card reading, and special Halloween drinks, it’s definitely not one to be missed.

Get your tickets here

Now that it’s officially autumn, it’s time to prepare your home accordingly with some cosy updates. Here’s our pick of the best ways to vamp up your home for autumn

1. Dress up the fireside

As the days get colder, a fire is the perfect way to keep warm and get the household together. Make sure your fireside is dressed and prepared with some handy yet stylish log storage.

2. Throw it on

A classic autumn home staple is a good, warm throw – perfect for evenings snuggled up on the sofa. This is also a great way to introduce some more autumnal shades into your living room.

3. Add some autumn aromas

A scented candle can quickly transform the atmosphere of a room. As well as making it look warmer and cosier, scents with a touch of cinnamon or pumpkin can instantly give your home an autumnal revival without having to splash out on new furniture.

 

4. Clear out the mug cupboard

Colder nights means more hot drinks – which makes autumn the perfect time to clear out all the forgotten mugs that were gifted to you last Christmas and update the cupboard with some fresh new designs.

5. Inject some autumnal colours

As discovered in our previous article about updating your home for spring, two easy ways to change up a room are with your bedding and your cushions. Replacing these two things can instantly change your impression of the room as soon as you walk in, so switch out your summer colours for deep oranges and earthy browns.

Nestled between Canonbury, Dalston, and the Regent’s Canal is the small area of De Beauvoir, with Jacobean style houses, the green space of De Beauvoir Square, and plenty of hidden eateries and bars. Here are the best places in the area to go for a bite or after work drinks:

Proud East, Hertford Road

As well as serving food, traditional English high-tea, mouth-watering brunches and cocktails, Proud East also hosts a wide range of events and activities including live music, cinema club on the terrace, and wine tastings. It’s also ideally located on the Regent’s Canal for a picturesque place to relax.

The Talbot, Mortimer Road

Having first opened its doors 150 years ago, The Talbot remains to the this day a great British pub, with real ales, fresh food, board games, and a large balcony area.

The Talbot is situated in the heart of De Beauvoir, and is just a five minute walk from Dalston Junction.

The Scolt Head, Culford Road

Another traditional English pub that was revitalised when it was bought by local residents in 2006 is The Scolt Head, with excellent food, a friendly atmosphere, and an enclosed garden space. They also host a pub quiz twice a month, swing dancing classes, and live jazz.

The De Beauvoir Deli Co, Southgate Road

The De Beauvoir Deli offers artisanal and local produce to the community from Broadway Market. They produce much of their produce in-house including their famous sausage rolls, scotch eggs and seasonal salad bar – and they even have their own herb garden. The café, located within the Deli itself, is a great place to sample their selection of pies, soups, sandwiches, and salads.

The De Beauvoir Arms, Southgate Road

Opposite the De Beauvoir Deli is the De Beauvoir Arms, if you’d prefer to have a glass of wine with your food. The De Beauvoir Arms has a wide selection of quality wines and a varied menu that they describe as ‘unpretentious, thoughtfully combined flavours sourced from around the Mediterranean’.

Duke’s Brew & Que, Downham Road

The birthplace of the Beavertown Brewery, Duke’s serves authentic American barbecue, a weekend lunch menu, and hearty beers, all in a relaxed and informal setting.

Towpath Café, De Beauvoir Crescent

Another great place on the Regent’s Canal is the Towpath Café, serving Italian coffee and dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. The café is the creation of Lori De Mori, an American Italian food writer and fanatic. It serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner and has a friendly, warm atmosphere.