My London Social Life

Despite being happy to be away from the noise and pollution in London, I have often lamented the lack of being close to restaurants and venues within walking distance of where we live now in Beetley. This is a selection of some of the places I miss since moving away from the Capital.

The Marrakesh Cafe, Camden Market, London NW1. A short stroll from where I used to live, at the edge of the bustling Camden Market, this cafe was an ideal spot to enjoy mint tea, whilst watching the world go by late at night.

The Jazz Cafe, Parkway, NW1. Even closer, this wonderful venue where you could eat and drink as you watched some great bands or solo artists. Although called The Jazz Cafe, it featured a wide variety of music, and ticket prices were always affordable. We had some great nights in there.

The Feng Shang floating Chinese restaurant, Cumberland Basin, Regent’s Park, NW1. Accessed from Prince Albert Road, literally at the end of the street where I used to live, this upmarket Chinese restaurant serves some of the best Chinese food in London, in a refined atmosphere. Pricey, but worth it, this was also my mum’s favourite restauarant.

Bar Italia Cafe, Frith Street, Soho, W1. A London institution, tables on the pavement allow you to watch the nightlife in Soho as you sip your overpriced double espresso or cappuccino. Nothing better after a night out.

Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean Street, Soho, W1. Not far from Bar Italia, you will find this branch of the well-known pizza chain, with live Jazz performed since 1976. Enjoy your favourite pizza and drinks as you listen to some famous names of the Jazz world.

The Gourmet Pizza Company, Gabriel’s Wharf, SE1. Next to the River Thames on a converted wharf, this pizza place specialises in unusual toppings and little-known beers from around the world. You can eat inside or outside, so it’s a good spot even in the winter. A longer walk from where I lived, but combined with a stroll along the riverside, it’s worth it. And I always ordered the Englsh Breakfast Pizza, a full breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausages, black pudding) served on a thin and crispy pizza base. Yum!

55 thoughts on “My London Social Life

      1. Philadelphia is and older (by US standards) metro area on the east coast 3 hours from New York. There were always tons of musicians and small musical events happening. People you wouldn’t see cruise through Dallas but once in a lifetime, if that. I picked up the entertainment paper in Philly and was amazed. Kenny Rankin, Herbie Hancock, Booker T, Boz Skaggs, Tony Bennett, George Duke, Sade… on and on. pages of great gigs. LIke three months of Ronnie Scott’s in a weekend.

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    1. The last time I went back to London was 5 years ago, for a friend’s wedding. It felt oppressive after Beetley, and the traffic was worse than ever.
      You would love that floating restaurant, sitting on the canal, with views of the canal boats and Regent’s Park. It is a real ‘quality’ place. Check out their photo gallery.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  1. I’m especially drawn to the Marrakesh Cafe and the Feng Shang floating Chinese restaurant. It’s doubtful I’ll ever get a chance to visit London, but if by some miracle I did, I would definitely want to spend time at those two places!

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    1. I lived in Redhill Street, NW1. So I would walk to the end of Albany Street, cross Parkway into Prince Albert Road, and there it was. Mind you, the bill (with drinks) was close to £100 for two people, even in 2004. So only for special occasions, Bruce. Best wishes, Pete.,+London/@51.5356128,-0.1486488,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x48761ad92ad3fad3:0x5905e117825edf25!8m2!3d51.5304004!4d-0.1436492

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    1. It is the main thing I miss, Wrookie. There is a limited selection within 10 miles of Beetley, and all involve driving or taxis. (And having a reservation) Camden is one of the best places to live in London. Almost anything you can ever need is within walking distance. But the downside is the noise, the litter, and the random chance of being a victim of crime. Those do not apply in Beetley. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. Yes I totally see where you’re coming from. I have been to Camden and thought it was beautiful and I have mostly lived a city life so I can only imagine having to get taxis to restaurants. However, the quiet life sounds very appealing and less crime is always a good thing. When I move home to Northern Ireland, I would love to live further out of the city.

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        1. I didn’t want to leave London until I retired. But I certainly didn’t want to grow old there. The countryside in NI sounds like a good plan. That said, I have been to Belfast, and I was amazed at how small it is,compared to London.

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                1. The only pub is in the local Thai restaurant. They use the bar of the pub it used to be before they converted it. But we do have a ‘community pub’ (owned and run by villagers) in the nearby village of Gressenhall, and that is walkable. 🙂

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    1. I wouldn’t be able to drive to them anyway, GP. They are just nice memories of a former life now, and too far away to revisit.
      (I am actually still driving my car, as it is not my fault they have not renewed my licence. I obtained a letter from the Norfolk Police stating that.)
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. sounds like a lot of wonderful places and experiences close at hand. I’d say since this is the only part of living in London that you miss, maybe schedule an overnight stay once of twice a year as a getaway and have fun, then return to your peaceful refuge after –

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  3. I was lucky to have worked on the Kings Rd. My old station is now the Bluebird Gastrodome.
    Living in Barnes there were some cute restaurants (including Mortlake, still walking distance) & it was nothing to be dining next to John Pertwee, Peter Bowles or Brian May. I used to see them at train stn too but never talked to them. (They were with mates or practising lines).
    That was before Rick Steins restaurant.
    The Bulls Head was around the corner & Ronnie Scott would play there.
    Restaurants in the West End were 2 a penny but Pete has a more eclectic mix than I had.
    ………runs off starving & drooling

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    1. I have been to The Bull’s Head a few times in the past, when I lived in Wimbledon.
      I also did some shifts at the old GLC Ambulance station at Chelsea. At least the new owners kept the Art Deco facade when it became The Bluebird.
      Cheers, Pete.


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