Even though its heydays of the 1960s and 1990s have been and gone, Camden still has so much to offer, whether it’s to long-time Londoners or wet behind the ears visitors. Brush shoulders with leathery punks, gloomy goths and patchouli-oiled hippies on your way to some of these excellent Frugl favourites. Don’t be fooled by the endless tourist traps, there still plenty of cool things to do in Camden for the discerning visitor…
If you need somewhere to get away from the bustle of the market, which resembles your Nan’s front room but with slightly more distressed furniture, then Yumchaa is that place. A huge array of teas, kitten-soft sumptuous cakes and delicious baguettes are all available, whether you’re stopping off for a quick bite and cuppa or want to hole up for the day with a good book.
Opening Times: Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm; Saturday and Sunday 8:30am – 7pm (Parkway) 9am – 6:30pm 35/37 Park Way, (The Old Palmer’s Pet Shop), NW1 7PN and 91/92, Camden Lock Place, Upper Walkway West Yard, NW1 8AF
Hidden away on Randolph Street, near to Camden Road station, this excellent boutique boozer offers pretty much everything you could wish for from a 21st Century pub. It’s got a wider array of gins than your three-times divorced Aunt Marjorie, an award-winning roast, affordable weekday lunches (Chicken, Leek & Ham Pie, Mustard Mash, Kale Coriander Spiced Vegetables, Cracked Wheat, Yoghurt, Toasted Almonds for just £7.50) and a thumping party rhythm of a Friday/Saturday night without ever being uncomfortably full.
Opening Times: Monday – Thursday Middday – Midnight; Friday Midday – 1am; Saturday 11am – 1am; Sunday Midday – 11pm. 1 Randolph Street, Camden, NW1 0SS
This gorgeous little music venue is now a staple of Camden Town, bringing the finest in roots, acoustic and world music to its boutique stage, with the tastiest vegan and vegetarian (probably roots too) food alongside. Tickets are rarely more than a tenner and you can enjoy rollicking ragtime and seductive sultry jazz or some raucous inbred bluegrass.
Opening Times: Monday – Thursday/Sunday 7pm – 11pm; Friday/Saturday 7pm – Midnight. 106 Parkway, London NW1 7AN
Away from the pebble-dash-faced teenage Goth hordes, there’s room for some true Mediterranean class in Camden. This tiny coffee shop-cum-restaurant packs in all kinds of delights, whether it’s authentically excellent coffee, elegant wines or indulgent Banoffee Pie. Giuseppe and Francesco are consistently warm hosts and are always delighted to introduce visitors to their latest delicious import. All served with suave charm and an endless jazz soundtrack on their old-fashioned gramophone record.
Opening Times: 9am – 11pm176 Royal College St, London NW1 0SP
Since opening in 2009 The Forge has embodied the vibrancy, charm, and eclecticism of Camden Town, bringing together the diversity of London’s eclectic music scene under one roof with a 300 capacity – making it an intimate setting and firm favourite amongst musicians and music-lovers alike. As a not-for-profit organisation, everything The Forge receives goes back into an ever-expanding programme including DJ & club nights, comedy, children’s events, art exhibitions and workshops.
Opening Times: Tuesday – Thursday 10am – midnight; Friday – Saturday 10am – 1am; Sunday 10am – 10.30pm. 3-7 Delancey St, London NW1 7NL
This canal-side Camden classic is the perfect pub, whatever the season. In summertime you can enjoy their characterful beer garden and a dirty burger, whilst in the winter you can warm yourself down in the basement with their party nights full of soul, ska and rock ’n’ roll. It’s just had a makeover as well, so expect some authentically grumpy old-school regulars amid the gorgeous new interiors.
Opening Times: Monday – Saturday 11am – Midnight,; Sunday Midday – 10:30pm. 42 St Pancras Way, London NW1 0QT
Our Black Heart
Tucked away down Greenland Place, this rocker and punk pub is a great way point between the Camden classic World’s End and the new upstart Brewdog. The bar is decked out in stylish tattoo-influenced art work, serves excellent rum, ales and cocktails and has a consistently loud and angry jukebox. The upstairs room regularly hosts great nights, including Josie Long’s Lost Treasures, activist comic Chris Coltrane’s Lolitics and a range of ear-bleedingly good metal and rock bands.
Opening Times: Monday/ Tuesday 3pm – 11:30pm Wednesday/Thursday 3pm – 1am; Friday/Saturday Midday- 2am; Sunday Midday – 11pm. 2-3 Greenland Place, NW1 0AP
Located above the great Oxford Arms pub, this tremendous little box theatre plays host to top Fringe productions, as well as improv, stand-up and a fair few major names trying out new material. Keep your eyes peeled as you could see a star of tomorrow take the stage or even someone like Simon Amstell running through new stuff before a new tour.
265 Camden High St, London NW1 7BU
If you want some good, old-fashioned, no-nonsense weekend fun, then Joe’s is probably the pick of Camden. Opposite the sentinel that is The Roundhouse, Joe’s offers good cheer, outstanding hot dogs, perfect rock ’n’ roll playlists and an over-21’s policy to keep out the cocksure young palookas.
Opening Times: 5pm – 3am, every day. 78 – 79 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AR
Camden Comedy Club
For as long as we can remember The Camden Head has hosted comedy in it’s top room, but in the past 12 months it has been transformed by promoter Lucy Danser. It now runs 7 nights a week, with Friday and Saturday nights hosting some of the finest talent on the London and international circuit, whilst the rest of the week there are a cornucopia of comic delight and intrigue, including work-in-progress shows from massive TV names, improvised comedy and batshit-crazy comedy experiments.
Opening Times: 7pm – 11pm Every day. 100 Camden High St, London NW1 0LU