NFT London Bloomsbury (East)

Bloomsbury (East)

Agog with students, this tract of Bloomsbury is a bustling cultural playground. The brilliant Renoir Cinema resides in the belly of the Brunswick Centre, a Brutalist masterpiece with some posh shops thrown in for good measure. For contrast, stroll over to Lamb's Conduit Street and enjoy some boutique shopping. Then indulge in a sit-down cream tea at Bea's.




         



On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Lee Mannion
Photo:  Lee Mannion

Gray's Inn Field
Gray's Inn Gardens has a multiple personality disorder. The sign on the gate describes it thus. Look on the NFT map and it's described as Gray's Inn Field but traditionally its known as Gray's Inn Walks. Whatever it is, its nice. Francis Bacon is responsible, having laid it out in 1606. One obvious thing to point out--you're surrounded by lawyers on 3 sides. The Masters of the Bench allow 'adult members of the public' in for a stroll between 12 noon and 2.30 pm, which presumably means you can get any screaming kids ejected if they disturb your lunchtime peace and you're feeling a bit unkind. Admittedly, I went for the virgin snow that had fallen that day, which I tramped through happily enjoying the slight crunch and give of it under my boots. It looks even more lovely in the summer though--check out their website. All was still and peaceful and serene. Twenty minutes there was enough to clear the fog in my head that the central heating and several hours of brainstorming had produced. London bustles all around it, but inside all is calm.



Posted By:  Katie Faulkner
Photo:  Katie Faulkner

Bibas Hair and Beauty
Firstly, the good thing about Biba's is that you can book an appointment online, using the web address above. You then have to ring or stop by to confirm the appointment and pay a deposit. Secondly, I really, really needed a hair cut! My hair had been hiding in the library and the words 'shetland' and 'pony' had been mentioned. I stepped into the salon and had a chat with the lovely Zoe about how to rescue my sad barnet. I was then whisked over to the sinks and had the best head massage I have ever had. While my hair was being cut Zoe was really friendly, she worked really fast and had some sensible advice about products. So much so I actually bought some, because I was convinced, not because I was pushed into it. The salon isn't super-plush, but it was bright, clean and suprisingly quiet, which made for a relaxing 45 minutes. They use really nice Loreal and Aveda products. If you're looking for a reasonably priced but really good haircut in Central London (remember a cheap haircut is a false economy) head to Biba's.



Posted By:  Anne Seymour
Photo:  Anne Seymour

06 St Chad's Place
Oh Chad's. I wish I liked you more! It would be such a credit to my trendiness, proof that I'm blessed with fashionable postmodern ennui, if I could recognise your brilliance as wholeheartedly as you do. But instead I perch awkwardly in your strange little plastic chairs, feeling like I'm in a prison visiting room and muttering that £12.90 for goat's cheese bruschetta is a bloody cheek. And I just can't get excited about the Bond-style secrecy of the loos when I'm inching round the walls in an increasingly jiggly panic until I find which panel is the incognito door. I am, however, alone in my confusion. So popular is Chad's that its stylish architect crowd simply can't fit themselves all in, spilling in their dozens onto the alley outside to stand drinking beer near industrial bins and the al fresco poos of the local bum. God knows how they all located it, tucked as it is behind the old Thameslink station. Oh, and it's closed on weekends, presumably to keep out the non-architect riff raff who might be in the area.



Posted By:  Trevor Baker
Photo:  Trevor Baker

Monto
Last time I went to The Water Rats (to see splendid miserabilists Murder In Monochrome) they shut the bar five minutes after the band had started their set, so we were forced to confront our own bleak mortality without even the comfort blanket of booze. Still, it's probably what Dylan fans had to put up with when they saw him play his first ever UK show here in 1962. Yes, that's right, this is one of those 'legendary' venues where you have to squint a bit to get the magic. Still, the sound's pretty good and, if you stand too near the speakers, the Ear, Nose And Throat Hospital is conveniently located right next door.




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