Columbia Road, London

Urban Junkies

An insiders guide to London

Urban Junkies Logo
YOTEL London Komyuniti drinks
  • Since 2002, Urban Junkies has been providing Londoners with news about the latest openings and trends, as well as insider guides to global destinations. The UJ guide for YOTEL London is our pick of where we would visit in the city. We’ve tried to give you a couple of recommendations that are close to the hotel, as well as a few picks further afield to explore. Follow us on Instagram for our latest global finds. Whatever you do, have a great trip!
Back to YOTEL London

Padella, Shoreditch

Pasta for sharing

  • If you’re a pasta lover, it doesn’t get better than Padella. Pull up a stool (we recommend bar dining over tables) or sit outside if the weather is nice, and get ready to dine. Favourite dishes include the pici cacio e pepe, and pappardelle with eight-hour Dexter beef shin ragu. The mini martinis are a great way to start and they have wines on tap. Pasta dishes are extremely reasonable (from £4) and are meant for sharing; we say order two dishes each.
  • Top Tip
  • If you’re in Borough Market, their smaller, original location is there.
  • Details
  • 1 Phipp St, Hackney, EC2A 4PS
  • @padella_pasta
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 20 minute walk, 9 minute cycle or 15 minute Uber drive
Padella, Shoreditch, London

Hoppers, Soho

Sri-Lankan inspired street food

  • This small restaurant has a lot of charm. If you’re lucky, get a table by the window and watch the world go by as you dine on street food-inspired hoppers and karis (curry), roasts and kothus (chopped roti with egg/veg/meat). The interiors are warm, with woods and copper, bricks, tile and soft lighting. Don’t leave without a hot butter chilli paneer.  Their cocktails, especially the Arrack Attack No 3, are great too.
  • Top Tip
  • There are a few Hoppers in London, but we like the Soho one best.
  • Details
  • 49 Frith St, Soho, W1D 4SG
  • @hopperslondon
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 31 minute walk, 12 minute cycle, 20 minute Uber drive
Hoppers, Soho, London

Lina Stores, Soho

Date night sorted

  • A mint and cream colour palette sets the stage for this mid-century Italian gem. The first restaurant for the 75+ year old Italian deli, here you’ll find pastas like taglioni with black truffles and parmesan and linguine with fresh crab, as well as panini, antipasto and a range of gelati and sorbets. Sit at the 12-seater counter or dine downstairs; this is one of the few places where a basement isn’t depressing.
  • Top Tip
  • The best seats in the house on a good day are the three stools outside on the windowsill, looking in.
  • Details
  • 51 Greek St, Soho, W1D 4EH
  • @linastores
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 20 minute walk, 9 minute cycle or 15 minute Uber drive
Lina Stores, Soho, London

Morito, Exmouth Market

Exmouth market gem

  • Sibling to the older, more formal Moro, Morito serves innovative Moorish cuisine in a small, bustling venue in the festoon-lit market. An orange formica bar is backdrop to flavourful cuisine including Spanish dishes like padron peppers, patatas bravas and tortilla, and small plates like crispy aubergine with whipped feta and date molasses, grilled squid with garlic and parsley, and chicharrones. Come early and stay late.
  • Top Tip
  • We recommend facing outside over sitting at the main bar. They have a couple outdoor tables, too.
  • Details
  • 32 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QE
  • @moritotapas
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 10 minute walk, 15 minute bus journey
Morito, Exmouth Market, London

The Palomar, Chinatown

Lebanese with a side of stool dance

  • What do you get when you take siblings who are the ex-owners of the acclaimed End nightclub, a neon sign, great soundtrack and modern Jerusalem menu? A very good night out. Sit at the counter, start with a kubaneh (a fresh out-of-the oven popover-style bread), move on to glazed octopus, fennel and chilli salad, polenta with truffle, and for dessert, a spicy chocolate ganache. This is truly one of our absolute favourite spots. View The Palomar.
  • Top Tip
  • Insider info: Layo, one of the owners, is the DJ of Layo and Bushwacka! fame, hence the amazing music and vibes.
  • Details
  • 34 Rupert St, West End, W1D 6DN
  • @palomarsoho
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 34 minute walk, 30 minute bus journey, 30 minute Uber drive
The Palomar, Chinatown, London

P. Franco, Clapton

Small plates and natural wines

  • This tiny Clapton wine shop and bar serves natural vinos, with small plates by guest chefs. This is a foodie’s fave and a great neighbourhood spot – check to see who’s cooking before you go. They also own Peg, Noble Fine Liquor and Bright.
  • Top Tip
  • Do get a bottle or bag of wine to takeaway.
  • Details
  • 107 Lower Clapton Rd, Lower Clapton, E5 0NP
  • @pfranco_e5
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 46 minute bus, 30 minute Uber drive
P Franco, Clapton, London

Bistrotheque, Bethnal Green

A long-standing fave

  • Some places don’t date, and Bistrotheque is one of them. For a work breakfast, long lunch or late candlelit dinner, this is the spot. White tablecloths and warehouse vibes are a great foundation to the ever-inspiring menu. For brunch, it’s baked polenta with burrata, and for dinner it’s a ribeye with mushrooms and truffle or schnitzel. Great classics, with excellent cocktails.
  • Top Tip
  • Do try their other restaurant, Hoi Polloi, on Shoreditch High Street.
  • Details
  • 23-27 Wadeson St, London E2 9DR
  • @bistrotheque
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 31 minute tube journey, 22 minute Uber drive
Bistrotheque, Bethnal Green, London

Angelina, Dalston

Japanese-Italian in Dalston

  • Japanese-Italian, it’s a thing. Don’t believe us? Then get yourself to Angelina for their 10-course small plate menu with optional pairings. Dishes include things like Sicilian red prawns with roasted rice powder, tomato tempura with anchovy pesto, and unagi risotto. The dining room is minimal east London chic with Japanese touches, and the hidden bar at the back is worth staying on after for a cocktail.
  • Top Tip
  • As always, we recommend you sit at the bar to watch the chefs do their thing.
  • Details
  • 56 Dalston Lane, Dalston, E8 3AH
  • @angelina_dalston
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 44 minute tube journey, 23 minute Uber drive
Angelina, Dalston, London

Quality Chop House

These chips...!

  • This 151-year-old ex-working men’s ‘eating house’-turned-mod British dining room, wine bar and provisions shop just keeps getting better. Come here for a meat-heavy menu in a cosy environment – they have a great wine selection, and always have specials by the glass. Don’t leave without trying their confit potatoes.
  • Top Tip
  • Try their two- (£29) or three-course (£35) Sunday menu.
  • Details
  • 88-94 Farringdon Rd, Farringdon, EC1R 3EA
  • @qualitychop
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 9 minute walk
Quality Chop House, London

Sadler’s Wells

Dance, dance, dance

  • Even if you’re not a dance fan, dance here is as good as it gets, and a great way to spend an evening. Book in advance as these shows sell out and make sure you book at Sadler’s Wells (not their other locations, Peacock Theatre and Lilian Baylis Studios) if you want to be close to the hotel.
  • Top Tip
  • Have dinner at Exmouth Market first (Moro or Morito) and then walk over to Sadler’s.
  • Details
  • Rosebery Ave, Clerkenwell, EC1R 4TN
  • @Sadlers_Wells
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 10 minute walk
Sadler's Well, London


Print’s not dead!

  • Love magazines? Then make sure you pop into magCulture. With over 500 different international magazines, if you can’t find it here, we’re not sure it’s worth having; these guys know their titles! They make custom magazines too, should you be looking for someone to collaborate with.
  • Top Tip
  • If you’re in Marylebone and want to check out another print great, visit Shreeji Newsagents, a London fave since ‘82.
  • Details
  • 270 St John St, Clerkenwell, EC1V 4PE
  • @magculture
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 10 minute walk, 15 minute bus
magCulture, London

The Barbican

A brutalist institution

  • The building alone is worth a visit, but here you’ll also find an arts centre that includes a concert hall for 2,000, a theatre, cinemas, a library and several wining and dining options including a martini bar and Italian restaurant, Osteria.
  • Top Tip
  • Don’t leave without visiting their shop – their prints are wall-worthy.
  • Details
  • Silk St, Barbican, EC2Y 8DS
  • @barbicancentre
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 14 minute walk, 18 minute bus journey
The Barbican, London

Satan’s Whiskers, Bethnal Green

Bethnal Green cocktail bar

  • If you ask anyone who knows their drinks in London, this will likely come up as one of their favourite venues. Laid-back, with good music (usually hip hop), low lighting, a great industry crowd, and, of course, excellent drinks that focus on top spirits and ingredients. This is one small, spirited spot.
  • Top Tip
  • They have a snack menu here, but if you’re hungry for dinner, make a reservation at the Town Hall’s restaurant, Corner Room, across the street.
  • Details
  • 343 Cambridge Heath Rd, E2 9RA
  • @satans_whiskers
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 20 minute tube journey, 22 minute Uber drive
Satan's Whiskers, Bethnal Green, London

Sager + Wilde, Hackney Road

Wine and toasties

  • Numerous wine bars have come and gone in London, but this is a constant fave: low-key and always bustling, with an excellent wine list and great toasties (do not leave without eating a toastie).  If it’s a nice day, try to get a table outside (there are only a couple), or if it’s late, squeeze in and take advantage of the cosy, low lit, exposed-brick atmosphere. View the Sager + Wilde website
  • Top Tip
  • If you’d like to try something new, tell the staff what you like, and see what they recommend.
  • Details
  • 193 Hackney Rd, E2 8JL
  • @sagerandwilde
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 24 minute bus journey, 17 minute Uber drive
Sager + Wilde, Hackney Road, London

The Horseshoe, Farringdon

Traditional pub with hipster crowd.

  • This is exactly as it says on the tin: an old English pub with the largest local beer garden. They also have a good selection of ales on tap, dartboards upstairs, and live music on some nights. People love this place, and the clientele mixes a skater/hip crowd with local and city workers.
  • Top Tip
  • They are only open Monday-Friday.
  • Details
  • 24 Clerkenwell Close, Farringdon, EC1R 0AG
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 5 minute walk
The Horseshoe, Farringdon, London

Columbia Road Flower Market

Sunday spot

  • Even if you’re not in the market for flowers (i.e. you’re travelling), this is a great place to spend a Sunday morning. Open from 8AM to approx. 2PM, come here for Bloody Marys and a stroll. Here you’ll find antique and record shops and smaller independent boutiques, with pubs and restaurants along the main strip. The flowers here are also the best deals around.
  • Top Tip
  • Do barter for your flowers; it’s part of the fun (and if you’re looking for deals, come right before they close). And if you see a table at Campania and Jones, grab it!
  • Details
  • Columbia Rd, E2 7RG
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 23 minute bus journey, 17 minute Uber drive
Columbia Market Flower Market, London

Design Museum, Kensington

If you visit one museum…

  • Winner of the 2018 European Museum Award, this architecturally stunning building is dedicated to contemporary design. From product, industrial and graphic to fashion and architectural design, you’ll find it all here. There are exhibitions, talks, workshops and, of course, an excellent museum shop, too.
  • Top Tip
  • Don’t feel like carrying a souvenir around all day? Buy from their online shop.
  • Details
  • 224-238 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8
  • @designmuseum
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 47 minute tube journey
Design Museum, London

Phonica Records, Soho

Vinyl for days!

  • Any DJ worth their salt passes through Phonica when they’re in London. Flip through the rows of vinyl and then settle into a listening station to go through your selection. The staff are extremely knowledgeable and we like their Phonica Ts, too.
  • Top Tip
  • There are other record stores in the neighbourhood, but this is the best. There are always interesting people in here, too, so keep your eyes peeled.
  • Details
  • 51 Poland St, Soho, W1F 7LZ
  • @phonicarecords
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 29 minute bus and tube journeyPhonica Records
Phonica Records, Soho

Regent’s Canal

London by foot

  • Want to get some exercise? Then walk or bike the canals. Our favourite route is from Westbourne Grove to King’s Cross (stop at Coal Drops Yard), and if you still have energy, continue on to Columbia Road Flower Market. The routes get very busy on the weekends, so go early or late, and bring water if it’s hot. Oh, and don’t fall in – this water does not look appealing.
  • Top Tip
  • Rather boat than walk? Try the London Shell Co. for lunch/dinner and a cruise. We have it on good authority that this is a great way to spend the day.
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 19 minute walk, 21 minute bus journey
Regent's Canal, London

Dover Street Market, St James

Multi-level fashion emporium

  • If you love clothes, you can’t miss DSM on a London visit. Founded by Rei Kawakubo and her husband, Comme des Garçons president Adrian Joffe, they stock well-known designers as well as up-and-coming greats; this is where we go to discover new names. Product launches and limited-edition collabs are often released here, so do check their site before you go to make sure you don’t miss something.
  • Top Tip
  • This is one big space! Have a break mid-way through your shop in their cafe, Rose Bakery. 
  • Details
  • 18-22 Haymarket, SW1Y 4DG
  • @doverstreetmarket
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 37 minute walk, 35 minute tube journey, 22 minute Uber drive
Dover Street Market, London

Goodhood, Shoreditch

Men’s and women’s streetwear

  • This split-level store is London cool at its finest. The latest brands and stuff for grown-up hipsters, from clothing (men’s and women’s) and homewares to beauty, shoes, accessories – we could go on.  Not surprisingly, there are lots of limited editions here, and it’s another place that’s great for newbies and established brands alike.
  • Top Tip
  • You’re in the heart of Shoreditch here, so start at Goodhood, then continue to explore.  They also frequently have contests online for limited-edition things, so do check their site if you’re into this sort of thing.
  • Details
  • 151 Curtain Rd, Hackney, EC2A 3QE
  • @goodhood
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 24 minute walk, 20 minute bus journey, 17 minute Uber drive
Goodhood Store, London

Glow Bar, Maryleborne

Sweat it out!

  • By now you likely know the benefits of infrared saunas – sweating is good for you! Here, they have four pods, two for single-use and two that can be used in pairs. After a long flight (or night), there really is no better rejuvenation cure than to sweat it out. They also have feel-good smoothies and elixirs to buy, too. Visit the Glow Bar website.
  • Top Tip
  • Make a booking – this is one popular spot.
  • Details
  • 70 Mortimer St, Marylebone, W1W 7RY
  • @glowbarldn
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 27 minute tube journey, 22 minute Uber drive
Glow Bar, London

FaceGym (several locations)

Instant pick-me-up!

  • Want a quick, non-invasive skin refresher? Then FaceGym is a good place to start. With the motto, ‘This is not a facial’, what they do is work out your face using the latest tools (rollers, gua shas, etc.) and techniques to sculpt, drain and contour your visage. Instant lift.
  • Top Tip
  • Their Training Sticks are a great concept – just roll on and their ingredients are activated by your workout. The activated charcoal one is good for assisting a detox.
  • Details
  • Studio Finder
  • @facegym
FaceGym, London

GoBoats, Paddington

Cruise up the canal

  • Now this is a good time. Starting from Paddington, these boats can take up to eight people and travel up the canal. No boat licence is necessary and you can choose the length of time you’d like to go for (one, two, or three hours). Bring a picnic and make a day of it.  And if you get stuck, never fear: they come and rescue you. Truly a great day out.
  • Top Tip
  • A nautical dress code is highly recommended.
  •  Details
  • Merchant Square, Paddington, London W2 1AS
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 30 minute tube journey
GoBoats, Paddington, London

The Cinema at Selfridges, Marylebone

Posh screenings

  • If you like to treat yourself when you go to the cinema, then Selfridges is your spot. Book one of their plush seats and buy elevated cinema snacks like wine and cheese, flavoured popcorns and baked goods.
  • Top Tip
  • Head to the Brasserie of Light after to drink/dine and to see the Damien Hirst crystal-encrusted, 24-foot flying Pegasus (it’s worth the walk upstairs).
  • Details
  • 40 Duke St, Marylebone, W1U 1AT
  • @theofficialselfridges
  • Distance from YOTEL London
  • 27 minute tube journey
Selfridges cinema, London