NFT London Bankside (East) / Borough / Newington

Bankside (East) / Borough / Newington

A Shoreditch for grown-ups, these parts have become a bit suitified lately--especially now that it's been reborn as 'London Bridge Quarter' under the Shard. Still, there's plenty of fun to be had. Gourmet-minded Borough Market draws the crowds on Saturdays, while the pubs and bars lining Borough High Street keep the party-minded happy throughout the week. Don't miss The Rake if you like (unusual) beer, Brindisa for Spanish tapas, and Roast if meat's your thing.




         



On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Julia Dennison
Photo:  Julia Dennison

The Old School Yard
There's nothing fun about school when you're actually in it, but once you've become an adult, the nostalgia sets in and all of a sudden you yearn for the days of school discos and unrequited love. At Borough's 'bar and playground', The Old School Yard, you can relive that fantasy (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video games and all), yet be grown up enough to have a couple of cocktails too. The Old School Yard is not quite a flash back, more of a place to wallow in days of yore. The music on the jukebox harkens back to the '80s and '90s (a younger person's school days) and the clock on the wall stays perpetually at three o'clock. But the cocktails are not for minors--they are fun, powerful things that try in their own way to be mixologically sophisticated. The Porn Star Martini is an homage to the famous drink at Soho's Lab, complete with accompanying champagne shot. Though it's not quite as good as the original, it's about half the price--so nothing to sniff at. The crowd here can be on the young side, but The Old School Yard is generous with its happy hours, so worth the trek. Just try not to go on one of their school disco nights. Do that and you won't listen to any of our recommendations again.



Posted By:  Lee Mannion
Photo:  Lee Mannion

Southwark Street Bubble Wrap Lighting
It's great when you pass something every day and you appreciate it for seconds, it sort of makes you smile and feel fleetingly happy. It registers with your consciousness but only for a moment. The next time you pass it, the same thing happens and that brief burst of happiness reappears again like a warm glow spreading light up through your guts. Eventually you start looking for it, like an old friend's smile and hospitality after a long journey. A feeling like that is gold in the middle of a bleak London winter when the grey sky casts a ceaseless gloom over freezing wet streets. The lights under a bridge on Southwark Street can induce such a feeling. They cock a snook at the darkness and blow a raspberry at the grime of this South London street. No crappy posters for dodgy nights out, no bullshit tags thrown up by bored teenagers, just 132 colours that change every half an hour. The genius bit is they brighten the environment without damaging it--the LEDs run day and night on less power than it takes to power a kettle. So everyone's happy. Nice.



Posted By:  Lee Mannion
Photo:  Lee Mannion

Mint Street Park
What to do with that lunch hour? Hammer down a treadmill in the gym? A quick squiz at the newspaper and a sandwich at your desk with one eye on Facebook? Forget it; you're better off taking a break and relaxing by getting yourself down to Mint St Park. If the sun’s out you can park your bum on the terrace and watch the world go by; if its not so warm you can have a stroll around, let your nose enjoy the scented garden and set your eyes on the crazy acid house mural you'll find on one wall. You can even shoot some hoops if you’re feeling energetic. This part of London is building heavy so any bit of green can be a bit of a godsend. Once the site of a children's hospital for over a 100 years, the space is still a boon to the local community with local residents and volunteers from the nearby St Mungo's homeless hostel helping keep the park pleasant for the public. Do yourself a favour; get away from your PC or Mac and go and find it. It's a little gem.



Posted By:  Michael Kasparis
Photo:  Michael Kasparis

Shunt Lounge
Through a long, lightless tunnel I feel my way, with sprays of wet mist and red light flaring up at intervals. It's frightening; I'm unsure of my step, of who's walking beside me, and of what subterranean vermin are underfoot. Though the darkness is intimidating there's a prickly excitement akin to stumbling around looking for your first illegal rave. Shunt is a performance space run by the Shunt Collective, a catacomb of arched chambers which house cinema theatres, live band stages, art installations, pinball rooms and dank corners. When I stumble into the main bar area it's for a Kenneth Anger programme hosted by the ragged mystik himself. In the end we're herded from malfunctioning cinema to malfunctioning cinema and we finally catch the films 2 and half hours late, crammed into a small room with a mixed bunch of hipsters, goths, cultists and film students. So, this place isn't perfect, but on any given night you can catch burlesque death shows, Johnny Trunk playing weird records and free flapjacks. There's a rumour that Shunt will be closing in June 09, so go now!



Posted By:  Anne Seymour
Photo:  Anne Seymour

The Roebuck
Even if the area around the Roebuck had loads of pubs to choose from, even if its competition weren't the kind of boozers where you're likely to be bitten by one of the regulars, The Roebuck would still be great. But given the pub wasteland around Walworth (or "Sobo," as a nod to its South of Borough location, and because admitting you live in Walworth instantly halves any social acceptability), this corker of a bar is doubly treasured by the locals. It provides the perfect boozing environment: sofas you can bury in with the Sunday papers but which are too tatty to feel like Starbucks; a great range of drinks, including the Meantime brews and organic wines for when our posh City mates cross the river to prove their machismo; good live music nights, poetry slams on the last Thursdays of the month (much less tossy than they sound), a quiz every Tuesday; and the food is just great. Find yourself stranded and thirsty around Borough or, shudder, Elephant & Castle, and this will be your deliverance.



Posted By:  Michael Kasparis
Photo:  Michael Kasparis

London Bridge Public Toilet
We fatalists of the masochistic bent thrive on apocalyptic images of London, like the war-torn City Of Men or Danny Boyle's 28 days/weeks series. There's just something eerily satisfying about seeing everything you know in total ruin and covered in waste. Well, we weirdos have found our altar; a hidden glimpse of post-nuclear apocalypse London, and it costs 20p to get inside. Standing aside like a dirty old man, the London Bridge Public Toilet is uninviting to say the least. When the electronic door groans open a warm gust of death tries to pull you in. Inside, the ridged steel floors are swamped in piss and stained toilet paper. A snow drift of tampons, condoms and other flotsam is swept to the side. The bowl overfloweth. Apparently after each use this state of the art lav automatically 'cleans' itself using pressurized water, but to stand in this room after such a operation is to take your life into your own hands. Give us a nuclear war and twenty years and the rest of London will look like this.




Posted By:  Anne Seymour
Photo:  Anne Seymour

Roger Hiorn's Seizure
Now don't get me wrong. I live in a Walworth bedsit behind Lidl. So when I say that estates round Elephant & Castle are a godforsaken Gomorrah of hooded trogs wielding rusty knives, I speak with the rose-tinted pride of one who lives here: the raw truth would be far less charitable. You will understand, therefore, my unease as I entered a condemned low-rise estate at twilight in protective boots and gloves. Yet stumbling past the plaster peeling into the waterless sink, you'll enter an otherworldly sapphire sanctuary. Before the building is torn down, artist Roger Hiorns used copper sulphate to transform one of the flats into art. A chemical reaction has formed spectacular blue crystals on every surface--walls, light bulb, dado rail, bathtub. Under the low light, they turn a hideous building into a space so hauntingly atmospheric that I left with renewed faith in the potential beauty of my neighbourhood. Until I stood in a chippy vomit down the road. Still: Highly recommended. 3 September-2 November.




Powered By Subgurim(http://googlemaps.subgurim.net).Google Maps ASP.NET

See Bankside (East) / Borough / Newington...
Restaurants (18)
Nightlife (17)
Shopping (5)
Landmarks (14)