The Institute of Light
It’s hard to sum up how much we rate this place - we even considered keeping it a secret, until we remembered the main purpose of our employment. In a space perfectly utilising the edgy-industrial surrounds of the railway arch it finds itself in, you'll find an audio-lounge, restaurant (with changing kitchen residencies), vinyl store and art bookshop. While away the hours sipping on a something at the bar; nodding your nut at a Saturday record shop in-store from in-house record label BBE; or tucking into something delicious from their low-lit, chic restaurant space. You get the sense that this is more of a passion project than a flagrant money-maker - it's often fairly tranquil and we get the feeling that's how they like it. Oops.
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This Brixton institution is the UK's largest specialist independent cinema with five screens, two cafes and a bar. That's enough potential entertainment to give even the sternest of sorts a reason to bop on down. The building itself still has plenty of grandeur whilst inside it's a well put together programme of classics and current flicks.
***Permanently Closed*** Seeing as Mare Street is a culinary paradise, it’s no surprise to find a joint in the perimeter as enjoyable as The Advisory. A hotspot for trendiness, fresh produce, damn good burgers, classic cocktails and lush bacon pancakes covered in maple syrup - this place is tiny, but you'll feel twice as big when you walk out. We'd recommend booking a table though, you wouldn't want to miss out on the chance to sink your teeth into one of the juicy bad boys on offer here.
Formerly the rather ramshackle London Fields Pub, this building has had a significant refurb to become Martello Hall: a three storey townhouse that serves as a cocktail bar, restaurant, workspace and on-the-go coffeehouse. Plenty of dough has been spent on the stripped-back decor and vintage furniture, and the result is a pretty swanky and classy joint. Food wise, it's mostly Italian fare with sharing plates and a wood fire oven for delicious pizzas. We'd particularly recommend the Number 7, with roast squash & beetroot, ricotta, hazelnuts, beetroot pesto, mint and kale. Upstairs, you'll find a cosy lounge area with decks and a cocktail bar, which seems an ideal place to woo and be wooed as the night unfolds. What else? You can hot desk here and work, and also grab coffee or sausage roll by the inch from their street hatch.
Stepping into Spiritland is like entering a time warp to bougie 70s New York, where affairs could be conducted in places with a bit of class about them. An audiophile bar, cafe and restaurant, this is a place where every last detail has been meticulously thought through to leave a treat for the senses - where you could happily spend hours surrounded by the soft, glowing orbs of light, submerging yourself in potent cocktails and getting into something serious. The specially designed sound system is definitely centre stage and is put in the hands of excellent selectors every night of the week to drop grooving, crystal-clear jams: Auto Shazam is a must. It's a romantic, heady spot that has 'wooing' written all over it - although you might end up covering your date's mouth so you can hear the music.