This bar, restaurant and music-cum-art space next to the canal has an ethos we're right behind: an experiment in creating a community area with businesses adhering to ethical, sustainable and green business models. Think locally sourced, organic and fair trade produce sourced from organisations that don't avoid their taxes and pay the London living wage. Alongside temporary restaurant residencies and a bar, they put on plenty of community events with live music, day festivals and other stuff all in-keeping with community spirit.
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Printhouse Bar & Kitchen
It might not look like a gastropub being the sparse industrial space that it is on the inside, but Printhouse is definitely out to dish up the sort of grub you’d expect at a fine-ass public house. The mantra here is fresh, British produce - think burgers and steaks - with the Sunday roast heading the bill (book if you want a table). Set right on the River Lea, the outdoor seating here is a full-on delight: when the sun’s out you’ll be hard pressed to find a better spot for boozing and basking in its rays. You can expect BBQs and an outdoor cocktail bar through the summer. Get down on Fridays for DJs and dancin’.
Mele e Pere
The idea behind this place was to create the vibe of a family-run trattoria found in Northern Italy. And, whilst we don't have that much evidence to compare to, we reckon they've done a pretty fine job. Serving up Italian food, sharing plates and homemade vermouth in a warm, well-lit basement, this place is a good bet for a special meal or just grabbing some cocktails after work. The decor is full of subtle, tasteful nods to Italy and adds a nice bit of authenticity. We'd recommend taking a seat at their brass vermouth counter where an array of exotic ingredients sit in front of you and ordering yourself one of their classic Negronis (or go rogue and choose your own combos). The menu is full of pasta, meat and fish - and the Deep Fried Squid is certainly our pick of it. It's not a cheap place but this is Soho after all - and the atmosphere alone means it's worth shelling out a little extra.
No. 11 Pimlico Road
After a neighbourhood bar and restaurant perfect for whiling away a few hours and getting nice and full? No.11 is the one. They've tried to create a little home away from home here, if your home is tranquil, tastefully decorated and full of tasty grub. The menu covers the lot: salads, sandwiches, sharing boards of charcuterie and cheese and a decent choice of mains. Our pick was the roast cod with sticky lentils, kale pesto and toasted almonds, but their house burger is also pretty popular. Whether you just wanna grab a coffee/glass of vino and have a little catch up or indulge in a boozy Sunday roast, this is the kind of place you'd be happy to stay in. That might not be good news for your wallet, but it should be good news for your soul.
From the same people behind one of our favourite bars, Nightjar, comes an exotic and mysterious bird - Oriole. This little haven claims to provide a disconnection from the outside world with "beguiling interiors, enthralling refreshments and glowing hospitality" - oo er. There's live music every night and the drinks menu has been inspired by the old world, the new world and the Far East. Look out for the Kiruna - a heady mix of root cider, mulberry leaves, cloudberry jam and Absolut vodka, served in the craziest mug/teapot vessel. It costs money to come to this atmospheric nook on days you're likely to want to come here (Weds-Sat), so prepare yourself for that.