Venue Guide

Bars and Peformance Venues

Here are some of my favourite London hangouts:

The Library Bar – Islington
This is of course the top of my list as it’s where I host an open mic night – but I genuinely love the pub. They serve Thai food until 10.30pm – worth a try! We’re on the first Monday of the month and all other Mondays there is a music night upstairs; also comedy nights.
235 Upper Street, London N1 1RU (Highbury&Islington station)

The Poetry Café – Covent Garden
The heart of London’s poetry performance scene, attracting new crowd every day, never gets dull. Poetry Unplugged, hosted by Niall O’Sullivan, is the legendary Tuesday night open mic. Bar open until 11pm (but there’s almost always an afterparty), vegetarian kitchen and great selection of drinks.
22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX. Covent Garden tube.

The Blues Kitchen – Camden, Shoreditch
I only found out there was a Shoreditch branch when a friend’s band played a gig there, while at the Camden one I’ve hit the dancefloor in six-hour-sessions on many Friday nights. Both places are great! Never tried the food there, but it looks good.

‘Round Midnight – Islington
Jazz and blues bar. Really cool live gigs literally every night of the week, great drinks menu and free entry!

The Forge – Camden
The Crick Crack Club often rents this venue for storytelling performances. It’s right next to the Camden Blues Kitchen and they’ve got some great performances there. Tickets are less than at the Soho Theatre, which is another Crick Crack venue.

The Flying Dutchman – Camberwell
A BDSM club that also does poetry readings – what more can I say?

Jam in a Jar – Harringay
Live jazz, blues or old school Rock’n’Roll in the weekends; a chilled-out café in the afternoons.
599 Green Lanes, Harringay, Greater London, N8 0RE (Turnpike Lane tube)

Cafés and Restaurants

La Petite Auberge
A French Bistro
283 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 2TZ
Unusually good veggie options for a French restaurant. Fantastic food, great dessert menu, lunch time offer two courses for £8.95. Lovely, old-fashioned decor. Not a huge amount of space; I’d book a table just in case for a weekend dinner, but weekday lunchtime it’s very quiet. They’ve just renovated and opened a creperie in the same premises!

Boulangerie Bon Matin
A French bakery with brilliant breakfast and lunch menu
178 Tollington Park, London N4 3AJ (Finsbury Park tube)
I’m officially in love with their blueberry cheese cake, have eaten proper food there a few times and never not loved it. Good coffee.

Cafe Mode
Italian Restaurant
170 Drury Lane, London WC2B 5PD
This is right next to the Poetry Café and has therefore served many pre-poetry dinners as well as afterparties, since they’re open until about midnight. My favourite dish is the Mozzarella and Oven Roast Vegetable salad. They have a great cocktail menu, and Prosecco!

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