A Guide to Clerkenwell
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The spiritual and geographical home of Dojo, our stomping ground, as it were: EC1. Packed with city-slicker suits, well-dressed designers and angsty cyclists alike, Clerkenwell gets a heavy stream of footfall throughout the week - what's it actually saying as an area though? Only one way to find out. LARGE LIVIN' BABY.
Best for… cawfee and then some
This buzzy coffee shop serves up some of the best beans in the city. These guys are serious about their roast, and it shows - the worker bees of Clerkenwell flock to this airy, modern cafe for a primo caffeine fix, be it filter or espresso-based. They swap their beans daily, and also offer some choice pastries alongside classic brekkie items like avo toast. You may even spot one of the #BabesOfDojo getting their pre-work cawf cawf at this spot.
Best for… a spot of friendly fussball
Not quite got the legs or lungs for five-a-side anymore? Cafe Kick presents a more leisurely option: smash out a bit of French table football in a cosy bar, adorned with football memorabilia (for that authentic, stadium atmosphere), and drown yourself in happy-hour-priced cocktails. You know that sounds overly decent, but even if you’re not much into footie, you can distract yourself with sharing boards and drankz.
Best for... a quick bite
After learning the ropes under Ottolenghi, Josh Katz opened Berber and Q and started serving up some of the tastiest grilled meats around. Shawarma (spit roasting) is the order of the day and that goes for lamb, chicken and cauliflower alike. Expect bowls of rice and lentils topped with Lamb shawarma, harissa and anchovy; or cauliflower shawarma with golden sultanas and pine nuts. It's dope, and a fine takeaway option too.
Best for... a proper fry-up
'Oh it wasn't like this in my day...' You may have heard about the sad demise of the classic British caff, and maybe thought you didn't care. That was until you stumbled upon one like this, in your hour of need, and they replenished you with a fry-up like no other.
Andrew's Restaurant is a good option, with plenty of original features (think formica tables and sturdy wooden chairs). Food-wise, they're keeping things simple with a strong selection of full English brekkies, hot jacky ps and fresh sarnies. And the tea? It comes piping hot, the colour of brick, in a mug, and with a smile.
Best for… clandestine cocktails
This atmospheric public house, heavy on the dark wood and stained glass, also happens to be our local boozer - you might even catch us on an evening school trip here, planning world domination over a few pints of craft beer and a couple of fish finger sandwiches. Don’t tell anyone though. And please, no photos. Okay, photos. P.S there’s a secret cocktail bar upstairs.
Best for… a protein overdose
This is England, and while our cuisine may not be globally renowned, we’ll be damned if we don’t know how to get the best out of our meats. Spots like this, reminiscent of properly old-fashioned London eateries, are what we’re all about: quality fuckin’ chops (and other meats), with a cheeky modern twist. A working man’s restaurant opened in 1969, Quality Chop House is well worth a butcher’s.
Best for... a boozer with character
This rowdy little gem dates back more than 100 years and is sprinkled with the twinkle of fairy lights, animal statues, a vinyl jukebox, weird old maps, autographed sport pictures and a roaring fire. And yes, the place is as lit as it sounds. Intimate, dingy and 100% Clerkenwell. Pop down on Mondays for their infamous quiz night or hold out for one of their popping weekend DJ sets.
Best for… a slice of Spain
If you’re into kicking it street-side with a spot of tapas and some fine-ass Spanish wine, then this is the spot. Welcome to Costa Del Clerkenwell, where the sun beats down incessantly (sometimes) and the skies are always blue (ish-grey). The vibes at Morito are always great and shared (like their plates) with neighbouring restaurant Moro, so expect a fun and friendly buzz about the place.
Best for… putting the gastro in pub
No way are these guys messin’ about. Often credited as the country’s first gastropub - trailblazers in what has now become a saturated scene - you can rest assured that the food served here is every bit the real deal. The daily-changing blackboard menu is drawn up five minutes before service and always includes some seriously good shit, like piri piri spring chicken and whole lemon sole. Big up.
Best for… all that jazz
If soft jazz notes and earthy coffee smells wafting out of any given place don’t pique your curiosity, then the world is lost on you. Brill are keeping it sweet and simple, with a selection of coffees and fresh sandwiches for your tastebuds. While you’re waiting you can peruse the record and CD selection, from funk to hip-hop, disco to world music classics: Brill Cafe ain’t nuthin’ but a G thang.
Best for... date night
This place is a seriously smooth operator with its glossy black tiles outside, Art Deco interior and beautiful cocktail paraphernalia. It may be a bit of a squeeze when the live bands are in but totally worth it to feel like one of Hemingway's contemporaries. The cocktail list is a little intimidating at first but once you've chosen, reap the rewards of their classics - we recommend the creamy goodness of the Gibson Milk Punch or, for pickle experi-mentalists, the Pickled Banana Daiquiri.