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A Cultural Guide To Angel, Islington

12 October 2019 | Suzanne Frost

Close to the action, but offering a village atmosphere, Angel owns its cultural and creative identity. The jewel in its crown is fashionable Upper Street, with its string of restaurants running all the way from Angel Station to Highbury & Islington.

Theatre
Apart from being a food hotspot, Angel is also home to a wide spectrum of theatre venues starting with Sadler’s Wells, London’s number one dance house on Roseberry Avenue. The Old Red Lion on St. John’s Street is one of London’s oldest and most beloved theatre pubs playing both old and (mostly) new fringe theatre on its matchbox sized stage. Heading up Upper Street, the King’s Head Theatre is another theatre pub always punching above its weight programming the best of Edinburgh Fringe and big current issue theatre for its blackbox studio space. A little further up the street the internationally renowned Almeida is regularly launching the next big thing in theatre. Come here to see the next generation of writers and actors in an intimate 300-seat setting before they transfer to the West End.

Film
The Angel Shopping Centre is home to the Vue Islington, a multiplex cinema that also screens every theatrical broadcast from the National Theatre or the Royal Opera House. The cutest cinema in Islington has to be the Everyman on the Green though, where you can make a proper event of your visit getting served delicious cocktails and finger food while you snuggle up under a blanket on one of their comfy sofas.

Buy
Camden Passage is a tucked away little alley that looks positively Parisian and could be straight out of Amelie. Come here for the Antiques market every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The area around Almeida Street boasts Hexagon, a French lifestyle concept store, scandi furniture from HAYGEN, Pine and Oak Village, close to Highbury & Islington does custom made industrial style furniture, lamps and accessories from reclaimed woods and other vintage finds. Talk to the very knowledgeable team if you need anything made to measure. Niche cosmetics brands Aesop, Kiehls and Malin & Goetz all compete on the same corner and do walk down Cross Street for a sneak peek at Tallullah Lingerie, a fancy hand made lingerie store that looks like the boudoir of some Golden Hollywood starlet. The lush bits of silk and lace on delicate hangers are all completely unaffordable but being transported to a dreamland comes for free.

Eat
Duck into or one of the adorable cafes on Camden Passage for breakfast. Kipferl deserves a mention for being one of the very few originally Viennese coffeehouses in London. Enjoy some proper Kaiserschmarrn, Palatschinken or Schnitzel and wash it down with a real Viennese melange. In summer, people are relaxing and having impromtu picnics on Islington Green, a great place to chill out on a lunch break. Also check out the famous Hummingbird Bakery right across the street for some of the sweetest cupcakes in town. Equally dreamy but within reach are the fancy cakes in the window of Ottolenghi. The second London restaurant from the beloved TV chef Yotam Ottolenghi serves Mediterranean-inspired food at its finest but the deserts are definitely stealing the show here.

Drink
Take a short stroll south of Upper Street and you’ll soon find yourself on the tranquil waterway paths of Regents Canal. Escape from the hustle and bustle of London to watch the colourful riverboats go by from one of the little cafes or bars. To ring in the night, head to the Dead Dolls House, a fine dining venue inside a three-storey Victorian Townhouse or look out for the London Cocktail Club Pharmacy, a secret speakeasy bar hiding behind an NHS pharmacy sign outside an off-license shop on Essex Road. Cheers!
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