My London #21, #22, #23, #24, #25
#21. St Pancras Hotel, Euston Rd
Designed and built in the late 19th century by George Gilbert Scott, following a competition run by the Midland Rail Company. It’s a victorian gothic masterpiece, refurbished eight years ago following a period of neglect. The old taxi entry driveway has been converted into a beautiful atrium, with the grand ticket office bar peeling off it to the right. I’ve fond memories of eating chips and expensive cocktails in there with my old team (after we’d won at an advertising awards do).
#22. The Three Crowns, East Rd
Dwarfed amongst the hastily thrown up high-rises in Old Street, The Three Crowns has somehow managed to stay put. Long may it remain. Its new many-floor neighbours make its stature seem all the more remarkable. Outside its beautiful green fronted pub, adorned with old Barclays Stout and Ales type. Inside, the food and drink isn’t half bad, especially considering its changed hands two or three times in the last few years.
#23. Kings Cross Station, Euston Rd
Until recently, you wouldn’t have known Kings Cross was such a handsome station. A horrific green awning masked the view. But for the Olympics, John McAslan were briefed on its transformation. They managed to successfully bridge between Cubitt’s original 19th century design and 21st century architecture. An awe-inspiring new concourse now rubs shoulders with the traditional semi-circular glass frontages. Wondrous.
#24. The Shepherdess Cafe, Shepherdess Walk
My local cafe for many years, but also a London institution. Its a pokey single-storey affair, with painted on curtains and harsh strip lighting. You get the feeling it hasn’t changed in thirty years. Celebrity photos adorn the walls, and Jamie Oliver features heavily (his production company Fifteen being just around the corner. At nighttime, it looks eerily it can look like an Edward Hopper painting. No matter what you order, expect it to come with a garnish of chips. Mega.
#25. Hatch, MacKintosh Lane
A shallow entry but no less worthy – its on the list for one aspect only. The wall of windows. The builders have removed the entire front wall and replaced it with a mishmash of window shapes. It shouldn’t work, but somehow it hangs together. On closer inspection, there are gaps where the reclaimed windows haven’t quite lined up. But it needn’t matter, so long as you don’t mind a draft.