7. & Other StoriesOn the day that the fifth London outlet of this hip chain opened, queues snaked down the length of King’s Boulevard, with fans waiting patiently to get the first glimpse of the vast six thousand square foot space overlooking the canal.
Packed to the rafters with accessories, stationery, bags, jewellery, beauty products, shoes and ready-to-wear collections, all designed in ateliers in Paris, Stockholm and Los Angeles, it joins Nike Central on a stretch with other arrivals, including Carhartt Work In Progress, an airy new Jigsaw and 18 Montrose on nearby Stable Street. King’s Boulevard N1C, more here.
6. KimcheeAn ultra-modern opening in Pancras Square, following the original branch over in Holborn, this is grown-up yet good value Korean dining. The ground floor features an airy room with dark wooden tables, incense burning unobtrusively in corners, and a large open-plan kitchen, where diners can see their dishes being prepared.
Kimchee serves a wide range of meat, fish and vegetables, all marinated and cooked on a charcoal grill. Starters include fiery mackerel and peppers, or light, bouncy mandu dumplings filled with pork, but it’s the traditional dolsot bibimbap (mixed rice and toppings served in a stone bowl) that’s our top tip. Pricing is about right, with starters around £6 and mains from £10. A useful pitstop for lunch or dinner. 2 Pancras Square N1C, more here.
5. Radio LondonSince 2010, east London indie salon and gallery Radio Hair has showcased and nurtured some of the top talent in the industry – and this year the team brought their aesthetic to King’s Cross. The name itself refers to what they call their ability to “broadcast stylist creativity”, and “tune into” a network of ideas (whatever that means).
Located in the ArtHouse building, the gallery space exhibits work from artists on a four-month rotation, including photography, painting, illustration or sculpture. According to owner Corrado Tevere, both hair salon and gallery are “a platform for people to collaborate in a wide range of artistic pursuits.” Worth checking out. Unit1B, ArtHouse, 1 York Way N1C, more here.
4. Meat LiquorDown a winding, atmospheric alleyway off King’s Cross Road, and signed by a discreet post, is the latest branch of this fairly pioneering burger brand, which began life in New Cross back in 2011.
Formerly a modern British brasserie, it’s now a kind of postmodern dystopian diner, all bold cartoon strips and graphics on the walls, with the open kitchen a warped, graffitied train carriage in a nod to the disused Thameslink station below.
And food-wise, the quality control is reassuringly high: a ‘dirty’ chicken burger is juicy, while fries are thin, crispy and seasoned well, slaw light on mayo but with real bite. The absolute winner is a simple cheeseburger, perfectly pink and melt-in-the-mouth, with pickles, mustard and red onions all upping the flavour dial to the max. Burgers about £8. 6 St Chad’s Place WC2, more here.
3. The RacketeerThe new owners of the former Carpenters Arms have taken care to expose its original features and choose a name to reflect the nefarious nature of what once took place right on its doorstep.
“In their heyday, the Saffron Hill Mob would create a racket, and in the commotion proceed to pickpocket unsuspecting gents,” says co-owner Ty Vigrass. With this in mind, they’ve reinstated the century-old detailing with a tangible affection for Victoriana: it’s all exposed tiles, wooden floors, cracked mirrors.
On any given evening a diverse clientele might include old boys propping up the bar, groups of middle-aged women, and the odd hipster or two. As it’s primarily a cocktail joint, not just a pub (though there are naturally craft beers on tap), the team provide table service, with seating both inside and out in the small rear courtyard.
A final note: the basement has to be seen to be believed. Head down to the toilets and you’ll walk through a sequence of Dickensian candlelit rooms, with projections and drapes creating something of an art space. Open daily, 105 King’s Cross Rd WC1X more here.
2. Everyman CinemaWe loved the diminutive Everyman on the Corner, which opened a couple of years back; and last month its three-screened big brother arrived a couple of minutes’ walk east along the still-not-quite built Handyside Street.
It occupies part of a new mixed-use building, and there’s something of a sociable golden-age-of-cinema feel to the airy atrium, with its gilt stairs, drapes, red velvet ticket booth, parquet flooring and glowing neon signs.
Upstairs is a spacious L-shaped panelled bar, itself worth a libation (whether you’re seeing a film or not). And both screen and sound is gloriously high quality. Best of all, the tiny original on the corner is still in operation. Open daily, Handyside Street N1C, more here.
1. Somers Town BridgeIt’s a beautiful thing to behold, and now the public can walk across, as well as under, the only new bridge to be built in the area for a century. The new crossing, reportedly the 41st bridge to span over the 14km-long Regent’s Canal, provides a welcome link between Camley Street and the new Gasholder Gardens.
From there, the elevated trail runs onward to prime food-and-fountain hangout Granary Square, and (from next year) the large Coal Drops Yard retail hub, too. There’s no question that the architects have succeeded in blending the sturdy industrial feel of the area’s canal and rail past with the cutting-edge designs of its future. The unsupported, richly rust-coloured span is 38m across, yet only 15mm thick under foot.
Stand in the centre and see St Pancras Lock from a new perspective as well as the clattering development opposite, while its architecture chimes well with the Heatherwick-designed roof still taking shape beyond. Best of all, the bridge will introduce many more locals and visitors to the secluded pocket of English-countryside-in-the-city that is Camley Street Natural Park. Open daylight hours only, more here.