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Flickr CC Alan Denney

Area Guide to Stoke Newington

2 July 2013 Rachel Ridge

With an eclectic style and chilled out charm, Stoke Newington is ideal for an inspiring weekend - here are our highlights...

The past few decades have seen many a suburb of our ever-flourishing capital undergo the vastest of transformations. Every few months a new area is hailed as the latest and greatest hub of culture and revelry. While in recent years, a surge of cool café’s, new galleries, quirky shops and exciting happenings have injected the streets of Dalston, Peckham and Brixton with an exciting energy; there remains one ‘burb’ that has reigned supreme.

‘A posher Peckham’ or ‘a laidback Dalston’, Stoke Newington - otherwise known as ‘Stokie’ - has remained steadfast amongst the passing trends of our modern era. With an eclectic style and chilled out charm, any self respecting Londoner would cite Stokie as the go to for an inspiring weekend. Here at London Calling we have cobbled together the crown jewels into an area guide for the ideal ramble…

To catch some culture…

Still basking in the success of Stoke Newington Literary Festival, a mix of cultural must-sees will follow to kick off the local cultural summer calender!

For those who didn’t manage to get a ticket to Edinburgh, fret not! Just off the High Street is the brimming Stoke Newington Church Street, on the 14th and 21st of July Ryan’s Bar will be offering two Edinburgh Fringe preview shows from comedian Ivor Dembina – completely free of charge!

On Farleigh road reside cult Stoke Newington art collective The Chocolate Factory will present their Open Studios Weekend on the 6th-7th July. Their studio doors will be flung open for you to marvel at their brilliance and have a chat about their work.

All in all, our pick of their many wonderful local galleries has to be Hang up pictures, nestled on Stoke Newington High Street right in the centre of town. They showcase the best international and homegrown arts with past highlights from masters including Banksy, Mario Testino and Peter Blake.

To eat…

If there’s one thing that people flock to Stokie for it’s the food; armed with some of the grandest and tastiest restaurants the capital can offer. If you’re a curry fan, the pick of the bunch will no doubt be Rasa on Stoke Newington Church Street, serving up interesting Keralan dishes with a twist. Worth checking out too would be Parisian themed patisserie Belle Époque; located in a grade two listed building and serving the finest French pastries. You could easily be transported to the days of the flamboyant and mesmerizing Belle Époque.

To dance & drink…

The first and best pub to arrive at as you enter the High Street is The Three Crowns, home to hugely popular club night The Drop – pretty much the the apex of Stoke Newington’s nightlife. With a DJ upstairs playing a mix of Michael Jackson, rock classics and danceable Indie and a live venue/dance floor downstairs, the night is a promise of gorgeous raucousness.

The Drop’s only real rival comes in the form of newly opened Birthdays, which has seen the likes of the much loved Peace and Mystery Jets strut their stuff as well as a host of trendy club nights and events, showcasing the best hip hop, dance and reggae DJs and musicians.

To discover…

What is it that makes up Stokie’s unique character? Is it the stunningly picturesque Abney Park Cemetery on the High Street, a place where you’ll find many an artist or photographer taking pictures. Is it wandering inside the ancient greenery and headstones and coming across the beautiful cathedral?

Or is it the gems that you won’t find anywhere else such as Little Pad, which is sure to meet all your antique and vintage needs. This quaint second hand boutique on Stoke Newington Church Street is home to stacks of eclectic vinyl, house wares and handpicked clothes from the 1950s – 1980s.

What with our book chains sadly closing down left, right and centre, the award winning Stoke Newington Bookshop is a vessel of rare intriguing reads, standing the test of time! Inside you will find obscure tomes amongst new bestsellers to lose yourself on a Sunday afternoon.

Finally, if you fancy a nature fix after all your roaming around, and when the sun decides to approach North London, just behind Stoke Newington Church Street is Clissold Park - the perfect spot for a day of lobstering in the sun!

Stokie – we salute you!

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