Péché Mignon 6 Ronalds Road, N7 Tiny French “epicerie” and café just off the main drag, complete with farmhouse table, around which you can munch a butternut squash quiche or salade chevre.
In this lovely, light-filled boozer, elegantly turned out in dark wood and whitewashed walls, you'll find a meaty menu of international dishes, all imbued – as the name suggests – with a smoky flavour...
– LIVE MUSIC & £3.50 COCKTAILS at FIlthy’s Bar, 274 Holloway Road, N7 6NE
But you are right to ask us to stop properly to experience this place. I used to live in leafy Chiswick, comparable in some ways to Highbury Park or Upper Street, so the authenticity and niceness element is not as nuanced. Holloway Road is all about the fine subtle quirks, it is what makes it so quaint.
This time last year I loathed it and considered it a ghastly reminded of how far Islington still has to go before it can be comparable with its more wealthy and leafy neighbours. But now I absolutely love it, and it is because of those tiny espresso hole in the walls or the raucous Marrakesh-ian daily indoor markets that Holloway Road is so unique!
Why, the Nag’s Head of course, the landmark at the junction of Holloway Road with Seven Sisters Road, where the architecturally impressive former pub still stands (now a goddamn Carphone Warehouse). Step behind, onto Bowman’s Mews, for a first jolt of history – a plaque reminding us that “in Elizabethan times this was a favourite spot for archery contests”.
Photographer Fred Adams speaks to Holloway Life about his practice
Londoners are busy. Fact. We don’t spend as much time as we should exploring, but in this new feature series, we plan to give you an epic area guide to as many tube stations as we can… telling you the best places to eat, drink, shop, and play that are no further than five minutes from the said underground station. So no matter where you get stuck, you’ll always have an idea where to explore!
With scaffolding outside the ambiguously named 308 Hobbies shop (308 Holloway Road, N7 6NP) you could easily walk by it, but don’t – stop – turn back, turn back! And look at the wonderous display window!
Although there has been a church on this site since the 12th century, the oldest part of the present-day St Mary's is the tower with its distinctive spire, dating from 1754...
It’s a long road, of course, so the food varies from world food places like longstanding Georgian restaurant Tbilisi to acclaimed Italian 500, up near Archway, recent winner of a Michelin Bib Gourmand.
This handsome bar adds a splash of boudoir/burlesque glam to Islington's drinking scene...
But things are finally changing now (while at the same time the road’s appearance is reassuringly familiar). There are new coffeehouses, vintage shops and pubs. And on a lazy weekend morning, if you’ve strolled down Camden Road or through Tufnell Park, where best to start?
Trullo's homemade pasta is delicious, but the main attraction here is the charcoal grill, which churns out the likes of succulent Italian-style pork chops, steaks and fish...
This warehouse-sized venue isn’t exactly full of character but it certainly is fun. It’s a favourite of Arsenal fans and is therefore a brilliant place to watch football games, particularly those featuring Arsenal...
Ooh La La, 147 Holloway Road Antiques parlour featured in Judi Dench flick Notes On a Scandal. Buy a wobbly lamp, an oil, quirky antique or vintage chair.
Back out on Holloway Road, take a deep breath and head south towards Highbury to gawp at another landmark, the futuristic Orion building, designed by Daniel Libeskind. A little piece of ilbao in N7, it’s the main campus of the much-renamed London Metropolitan University, and if was anywhere else – say by the river, or in a square – it would be firmly on the tourist map.
Monday, Metro (295 Holloway Road, right next to the station) do two large pizza for a tenner. They also have 2 for 1 cocktails.
In the last couple of years a natural overflow from Upper Street has resulted in a more fashionable opening or two: Piebury Corner is an attractive spot offering hipster pies in a distressed interior; La Muse, a French bistro with courtyard garden and a two-course lunch special at a tenner; and tiny sushi joint Roll Papa, crammed daily with students and locals.
An excellent and wildly popular budget French eatery, Le Mercury seems to have all you need in its winning formula: romantic atmosphere with candlelit, petite tables and plants everywhere, combined with superb French...
– ARSENAL MEMORABILIA at The Match Day, 14 Hornsey Road (only open match daysand weekends)
Walking from Kentish Town to my office in Highbury, I used to cross Holloway Road twice a day for a decade. All snarled-up traffic, mardy cyclists and fumes, on the surface this unlovable stretch is at first glance little more than the A1.
Brought the kids? Step behind Holloway Road into tiny Freightliners city farm, an urban oasis dating back to the 1970s and now home to goats, rare breed pigs and lambs. Reach it through the churchyard of St Mary Magdalene, one of the finest early 19th century churches in London, situated in pleasingly bucolic gardens. St Mary Magdelene: an oasis just off the main drag
Mountains of meringues tempt you through the door of this deli/restaurant, where a sumptuous array of baked goods and fresh salads greets you...
Child or adult, prepare to be awed by their impressive model planes! Step inside and they have everything to meet you modelling needs as London’s premier and oldest Model shop. Not a model plane fan? You still appreciate the sheer size of the planes, cars and boats they have on display – some of which are even built to ride on.
Want to explore further? Big Red dive bar is about 15 minutes walk from Holloway station is popular with both bikers and students, and makes for an interesting Friday night out…
One of London’s most atmospheric and individual music venues, the Union Chapel is an old church that still holds services as well as concerts – mainly acoustic – and the monthly Live At The Chapel comedy club...
Housed in a listed Georgian building, the Estorick is the only gallery in Britain devoted to Italian art, and one of the leading collections of Futurist painting in the world...
Can’t find your city? Try Time Out World for great nights out and all that’s going on near you – wherever you are in the world.
– SALTED HOT CHOCOLATE at The Sacred Cafe, Highbury Studios, 8 Hornsey Street, N7 8EG
When Arsenal's new stadium opened in 2006, fans claimed it would never be the same again...
Things to do in Holloway
A short walk from bustling Upper St, this pretty, park-like square was once home to authors Evelyn Waugh and George Orwell...
Magazines and Visitor Guides are also available in Malta, Porto and Muscat.
And finally, for the culturally inclined, don’t forget these gems.
Opposite Upper Holloway railway station (at nos 726–732), was the fictional setting for George and Weedon Grossmith’s classic novel Diary of a Nobody (1892), which recorded the everyday life of a clerk.
How refreshing to read a positive piece about Holloway! I’ve lived in or around the area for nearly 25 years & its brill to see it getting a bit of the limelight. Just to add another great place to the list of restaurants – the awesome Chicken restaurant Chicks on Fire http://www.chicksonfireislington.co.uk/ – which IMHO has nicer grub than the Chicken Shop on Highgate Road. And is much, much cheaper. Just opposite The Swimmer too!
Review of Fred Adams exhibition London Reframed at Resource for London
Housed in a Grade II–listed Victorian building, this plush 325-seat theatre can be relied on for imaginative programming.
Crammed with exceedingly cool, mainly northern European design objects, this is a great spot for quirky gifts or high-quality homewares. A £45 Jan Kochanski dustpan and broom, perhaps?
If it’s a Saturday, don’t miss the sprawling weekly outdoor car boot sale in the car park of Grafton Primary School (Eburne Road). Worm your way round its packed array of stalls, before crossing the road to the indoor daily market on Seven Sisters Road.