London Guide: An interesting area to visit is De Beauvoir Town in London N1 which is in two boroughs; Islington and Hackney. It’s near to Dalston, Hoxton, Haggerston, Shoreditch, Newington Green, Canonbury, Essex Road and the Regent’s Canal. If you want to explore you’ll find some amazing London antiques shops and cute independent restaurants near Dalston along with Islington coffee shops. This De Beauvoir Town London Guide also features places of interest in the area and close by.
I’ve also included some links at the bottom of this post telling you about the history of the land and the housing stock which makes for a good read. You’ll find out about the De Beauvoir family name. There were legal wrangles over building houses in the area so the grand building plans had to be watered down. You’ll also find out about The Balmes Estate Mental Institution which is where the word ‘Balmy’ derives from.
De Beauvoir Town Places of Interest
If you want to enjoy some green space head for De Beauvoir Square. This is a classically laid out garden square which is protected under a preservation act. With a lawn, play area and rose beds, it’s somewhere you can sit down for a rest and soak up the sun. It’s not massive but it is quite cute and the postcode is N1 4LG. Rosemary Gardens is larger and has many amenities ranging from a playground, grass meadow, tennis courts, outdoor table tennis and basketball courts. You’ll find it just at the end of Southgate Road right by Regent’s Canal.
Next door to the Gardens is the Rosemary Branch Theatre and Bar which was originally a Victorian music hall. Apparently Charlie Chaplin performed there so it is quite historic. This theatre has won a string of awards thanks to their exciting productions so you should check out their upcoming events. The bar serves plenty of real ales and premium wines and you can also order some pub grub which has won awards. The address is 2 Shepperton Road N1 3DT.
Rosemary Branch Theatre and Bar
Another pub with a theatre is the De Beauvoir Arms Pub which houses the COG ARTSpace above it. The building itself was built in 1854 and stands on the corner of Southgate Road and Northchurch Road. This sixty seat studio space is available for rehearsals, auditions and table reads. They host improvisation shows from established and emerging talent along with the in-house Free Association players. This group also offers improvisation training courses and you can try a two and a half hour taster to get you started. The pub serves some great food if you want to stop in for a bite to eat. The address 113 Southgate Road N1 3JS.
De Beauvoir Arms Pub and the COG ARTSpace
Regent’s Canal has been regenerated so is now an amazing walking route. If you read a previous post I wrote about Regent’s Canal (in my ‘Visits’ section) you’ll know that it spans from Little Venice to the Limehouse Basin. This portion of the canal is scenic with the new cafes and restaurants which have sprung up along the banks. There are so many Victorian and Edwardian warehouse buildings which have been transformed into apartments or creatives work spaces. If it’s a sunny day, this is really a great place to explore and go for a walk.
Regents Canal Walk
I enjoy this part of London because you get a mix of social housing and beautiful Victorian family houses which were occupied in the 1840s by the new middle classes. The area has conservation status so is well preserved. Have a walk around the streets where you’ll see some wonderful houses; De Beauvoir Road, Downham Road, Northchurch Road, etc.
House Covered in Ivy
There is a creative community in the vicinity so if you are a designer or artist you might be interested in renting a space at The Mill Co Project. They provide creative community art space in the iconic Rose Lipman 1960s Building at below market rates in exchange for helping the community. The De Beauvoir Workshops along Southgate Road is occupied by a lighting restoration specialist, screen printer, illustrator, framer and other creative small businesses.
De Beauvoir Town Antiques Shops
Along Southgate Road you’ll find three fantastic antiques stores to browse. Mid-century modern lovers really should check out a shop called 2 and 4. This store is situated in a large imposing warehouse which is also home to a number of creative businesses. Look up at the building façade and you’ll still see the name ‘Thomas Briggs’ which was the tent making business that originally occupied this space. The building overlooks Regent’s Canal and also houses a coffee shop inside with alfresco seating in the front. The stock includes plenty of mid-century modern furniture, lighting and decorative objects which are amazing quality. The address is 2-4 Southgate Road N1 3JW
2 and 4 Shop Mid-Century Modern Shop
If you’re a fan of the Arts and Crafts Movement then you really need to explore The Millinery Works. You’ll find a doorway on Southgate Road sandwiched in between two houses which doesn’t look much from the outside. If you ring the buzzer they will let you view inside and you’ll be so amazed when you do. A hallway leads you to a room crammed full of fantastic furniture which includes wardrobes, desks, chairs, sideboards, screens, decorative objects, lighting and so much more. You’ll also come across a large hall with a glass roof which is used for exhibitions. It’s such a magical place that you’ll never want to leave! The premises were previously used for a former hat factory called Snare and Co in the 1860s. The address is at 87 Southgate Road N2 3JS.
The Millinery Works Arts and Crafts Antiques
If you head to Essex Road (turn down Northchurch Road off Southgate Road) you will find yourself The Architectural Forum. This is a sizeable showroom which has plenty of reclaimed gems from antique fireplaces, antique doors, Victorian window frames, furniture, tiles, door handles and plenty more. It was established in 1988 and they have salvaged amazing historical pieces from very prestigious buildings which they restore and sell on. The address is 312 Essex Road N1 3AX.
The Architectural Forum Reclamation Specialists
If you really want a good rummage around an old fashioned second hand store visit Mr All Sorts which is right next to The Architectural Forum. It’s piled high inside with an array of fascinating objects. You’ll find antique storage trunks, original optician eye testing machines, metal medical cabinets, industrial lighting and miscellaneous curiosity objects. The owner can be found at the front of the shop fixing the lights and renovating other objects. He also delivers your purchase right to your home for you. The address is 191 Northchurch Road N1 3NT.
Mr All Sorts Second Hand Furniture and Curiosity Objects
De Beauvoir Town Restaurants and Cafes
If you fancy a coffee or a bite to eat you can try Southgate Road which has a couple of restaurants, along with a Deli and coffee shops. On the corner of Southgate Road and Northchurch Road you have the De Beauvoir Arms which I mentioned above. You can pop in for a pint, glass of wine and a tasty meal. De La Panza at number 105-107, is an Argentinian restaurant offering grilled meats, tapas and dishes with Italian and Spanish influences. For Neapolitan pizza and great wine head to Sweet Thursday located at number 95.
Pizza at Sweet Thursday
For a cup of tea with cake or a doorstep sandwich try Field to Fork which is situated at the back of a greengrocers at number 79. For great coffee, a tasty sandwiches, quiche, salads and other temping bites try the De Beauvoir Deli which has a few seats inside and some on the pavement. For a cup of coffee you can also try the Mi Cycle East at number 58 which serves up brews and offers bicycle repairs. At 52A you’ll find the Coffee House which is quite cute and has some outside seating.
Frittata at De Beauvoir Deli
If you’d prefer to eat near the canal there are a string of restaurants in the vicinity with views looking out to the water. The Proud Archivist is a restaurant, café, bar, gallery and events space. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and are open seven days a week. Homeboy and I had a lovely breakfast there one morning; fruit pancakes and eggs Florentine which was very reasonably priced. Check out the website for events listings and exhibitions. The address is 2-10 Hertford Road N1 5ET.
Pancakes at The Proud Archivist
Another place to try is Arepa and Co who serve very good Venezuelan cuisine. They have great views of the canal from inside the restaurant plus outside seating and AstroTurf on the canal path. It gets rammed at weekends when you might only be able to order takeout food. To avoid disappointment try to go for brunch during the week or in the evenings. You can try their arepas (100% cornbread) or Cachapas (corn pancake) which come filled with shredded beef, chicken, pork shoulder, black beans, roasted vegetables, plantains and cheeses. Make sure you try one of their Santa Teresa Rum cocktails. The address is 58A De Beauvoir Crescent N1 5SB.
Meal at Arepa and Co
The Barge House is a lovely bar, café and restaurant with seats right on the canal path. Homeboy and I ate there last week and enjoyed a risotto and their daily tart which was courgette and they were both yummy. I noticed an interesting breakfast on their website which is served inside a loaf of bread! It’s an idyllic spot to sip a glass of wine and watch the ducks and swans swimming up and down the canal. The address is 46A De Beauvoir Crescent N1 5RY.
Risotto at Barge House
Towpath Café is always popular and their menu is very good which includes dishes like roast quail with watercress and aioli or steamed clams with chorizo and sherry. The address is 36 De Beauvoir Crescent N1 5SB. A few of these eateries right by the canal are closed on Mondays.
Menu at Towpath Café
If none of these recommendations tickle your taste buds then please refer to my Haggerston Guide in my ‘Visits’ section where you’ll find information about the restaurants down Acton Mews.
De Beauvoir Town Website Links
If you would like to read up more about this area I’ve added some website links below which may be of interest. Please note that there aren’t links to everything because in some cases there isn’t a website. Happy exploring!
Wikipedia Area Information
British History of the Area
De Beauvoir Square
Rosemary Branch Theatre
De Beauvoir Pub
The Mill Co Project
2 and 4 Shop
The Architectural Forum
De La Panza
Field to Fork
De Beauvoir Deli
The Proud Archivist
Arepa and Co
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London. Thanks: Homeboy for eating at the restaurants and checking out the area.