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Camden area guide

Discover the best restaurants, shops, bars and clubs in Camden

The moment you step outside the tube station, Camden attacks the senses. Bass thumps from the market stalls' speakers, the scent of street food and incense permeates the air, and goths, punks, pushers and tourists shove past, giving the area an unorthodox charm. Come to Camden for the atmosphere, but stay for the cheap restaurants and awesome live music scene.

Things to do in Camden

Bars and pubs

Pubs in Camden

Camden has a great selection of pubs, ranging from traditional boozers to dolled-up and DJ-ed gastropubs. Here's Time Out's guide to the best pubs in the Camden area.

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Bars and pubs

Camden bars

You're not short of bar options in NW1, but use this list of our favourites to make sure you end up in one that will mean maximum satisfaction. Read on to see Time Out's recommendations for the best bars in Camden.

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Clubs

Clubs in Camden

As a place that revolves around music, Camden is unsurprisingly home to some of the most renowned clubs in the capital. Koko has had a long history as a famous venue, but it is now known as a premier indie club. Electric Ballroom has played host to some of the biggest names in music before they were stars. So get ready for a great night out, as we show you the best places to go clubbing in Camden.

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Music

Live music in Camden

Camden Town has more than its fair share of iconic music venues. Up near Chalk Farm station, The Roundhouse has hosted Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix, and Koko (formerly Camden Palace) was the home of Britpop. But these days the best gigs in Camden tend to happen on small pub stages, at places like The Barfly, where up-and-coming indie bands keep the racket going seven nights a week. Here are the best places to catch gigs in Camden.

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Camden hotspots

Shopping

Camden Market

What was once a treasure trove of fashionable bargains and unusual gifts is now mainly variations on an 'I heart London' theme, but Camden's markets are still worth shopping in if you know where to look. The section nearest the station (on the east side of the high street) is home to endless printed hoodies and cheap cotton dresses. The Lock Market hosts the best food stalls and some crafts and gifts. North of the canal is a maze of Stables Market, which was spruced up in the late naughties. Avoid its front of cheap Chinese food and hunt down the corner of vintage clothes and antiques stalls and Camden's emporium of neon clubwear, Cyberdog.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Attractions

Regent's Park

Regent's Park is one of London's most popular open spaces, covering 410 acres in north-west London. Originally a hunting ground for Henry VIII, it remained a royals-only retreat long after it was formally designed by John Nash in 1811; only in 1845 did it open to the public as a spectacular shared space. Attractions run from the animal odours and noises of London Zoo to the enchanting Open Air Theatre. Various food and music festivals pitch up here over the summer and rowing boat hire, bandstands, beautiful rose gardens (with some 30,000 roses and 400 varieties), tennis courts, ice-cream stands and eateries (including the delightful Garden Café) complete the picture. Regent’s Park has several playgrounds, but the most interesting is at Hanover Gate where, in 2010, a timber treehouse area for older kids was built within a large sandpit next to the boating lake and existing playground. Visit more of London's biggest and best parks

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Where to eat in Camden

Restaurants

Arancini Factory

The bricks-and-mortar location of marketeers Arancini Bros is an affable retro caff decked with boxes of the day’s fresh produce. From the open kitchen at the rear come arancini (Sicilian-style deep-fried risotto balls) served plain, with salad, in tortilla wraps, or accompanied by a hot stew. There are other options too, like poached eggs on toast for breakfast, and Aussie-themed open sandwiches such as banana with bacon and cheese. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Haché

Patties might rule the menu here, but the experience of dining at Haché is closer to that of an urbane modern restaurant than a burger bar. The interior is chic and intimate; the glow of hanging candelabra and mirrored wall panels soften the dark wooden furniture and beams to create a surprisingly romantic mood. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Q Grill

‘Twat.’ ‘Cow.’ ‘Wanker’: those of us who have ever worked ‘front of house’ in the past would expect this kind of abuse on a Friday night, when service would reach boiling point and the chefs would lose their cool. Afterwards, we’d sit down for a few beers, and all would be forgiven. These days, of course, all the cool, sexy restaurants have open kitchens, so you can see – and hear – all the action.   So it was with some admiration that we watched the chefs at this US-style grill. On the Friday night of the first official week, the place was heaving, the kitchen struggling to cope. No names were called. The cooks kept calm and carried on, while the equally professional waiting staff gave us sincere apologies, bringing out complimentary cocktails. Our main courses took an hour to arrive – but the food was well worth the wait. Having demolished a terrific seabass ceviche starter, we’d moved on to ‘Southern fried chicken’ – actually two fillets, flat-beaten and breaded like a schnitzel (with Japanese panko breadcrumbs, for a lighter ‘crunch’). Cooked to perfection, it came with another twist: a variant of a persillade (parsley, garlic and oil sauce), here made with wild garlic, and a few capers for sharpness. A side of rough-textured ‘creamed’ corn (spiked with shallots, garlic, coriander and chilli) was so good we’d have happily eaten an enormous plate of it. But praise be to baby Jesus that we’d left room for pudding – an outstanding pecan and bourbon tart so boozy it should h

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Masala Zone

Branches of this smart, clever chain are popping up faster than mustard seeds in a hot pan of ghee. Each outlet is decorated with a different theme – on Parkway it’s advertising posters of the 1930s and ’40s; at Covent Garden Rajasthani puppets hang from the ceiling; in Soho, Islington and Earl’s Court the walls feature striking work by tribal artists. The mood is both vibrant and relaxed – as cheering to singletons having a thali for supper, as it is to family groups and couples. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Hook Camden Town

Venue says: So proud to be part of Pop Brixton! Hook Crew x

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Jamón Jamón

Weekend evenings at Jamón Jamón are boisterous affairs: tables are often pushed together to make room for birthday parties, and the sound of laughter can eclipse quiet conversation, which is deeply Spanish if not very conducive to a romantic meal for two. Nor is the interior exactly eye-catching – just ‘Jamón Jamón’ cast in metal and protruding from the otherwise bare walls at regular intervals – but the tapas, although unimaginative, are deftly executed. Squid in tomato sauce featured generous chunks of tender seafood, a plate of fried whitebait was fresh and enormous, and there was a marked flair even to standards such as patatas bravas and sliced chorizo, the rich meat of the latter matched with roasted red peppers and a red wine sauce. A deserving local favourite.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Porky's

From Carolina ‘cue’ joints to rough-and-ready pop-ups, southern US barbecue has captured the hearts and palates of hungry Londoners. We’re now spoilt for choice, but Porky’s needs to be on your radar. This Camden Town joint, where the vibe is low-key and the service friendly, produces Memphis-style cooking that’s true to its roots: portions are massive, prices reasonable, flavours full-on. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Chin Chin Laboratorists

Now a fixture of Camden Market, the innovative Chin Chin Labs – where ice-cream is frozen to order amid billowing clouds of liquid nitrogen-generated steam – may not seem as wacky as it once did, but there are always new tourists to surprise, and plenty of regulars happy to queue for the fabulous ice-cream. The menu is commandingly short: chocolate, vanilla and two specials – one ice-cream, one dairy-free sorbet. The latter always astounds with its fat-free creaminess and cool flavours, such as griddled peach, watermelon and dill, or beetroot choc chip. Haute cuisine references are frequent in flavours such as coffee and tobacco, or Guinness caramel with smoked salt. Experimental, yes, but the results are reliably superb. Pimp your tub with a veritable chemistry set of sprinkles and sauces (we liked the white chocolate-coated potato chips with our summery strawberry and hay ice-cream) – you too can be a molecular gastronomist.  

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Find more places to eat in Camden

Comments

21 comments
Patryk N
Patryk N

Camden is a nice area especially in the lock market and the area of the river with all the stalls outside. There are some good restaurants like gil gamesh or cheaper ones like wagamama. Also had a nice hair cut at the place near Chalk Farm I think it's called Red Scissors and used good local lock smith, I believe it was Prime Alert locksmith on this website www.thelondonlocksmiths.co.uk. Camden is a charm I'll be coming back for more next year.

Mirella V
Mirella V

An epic meal at The Blues Kitchen, followed by their Sunday Blues Jam! Great end to the weekend in my books.

Start A
Start A

This Saturday the biggest street festival in camden in Chalton street near kings cross - the START festival of cultures in Somers Town. Watch this space www.somerstownarts.org Coming on July 12th, 2014.

Start A
Start A

The biggest street festival in Camden is actually in Somers Town in Chalton street this coming Saturday 12th from about 11am ... Great music and community and funfair for kids from bands from lipstick melodies, to world music. Look it up www.somerstown.org

Steph H
Steph H

Indulging on liquid nitrogen ice-cream from Chin Chin Labs. A perfect way to spend a summer Sunday afternoon after exploring the various food stalls.... 

avantika.goswami
avantika.goswami

The Elephant's Head on a Saturday night with crowds so loud the bartender can't hear your order - they read your lipsync. Lamb shish at First Choice and all the food stalls at Camden Lock Market.

Anne S
Anne S

My favourite thing in Camden is bar Fairly Square! Hidden down Red Lion Street in Holborn they sell amazing cocktails and chilled music every night!

Jonathan D
Jonathan D

Feed Me Primal, the only paleo market stall in the UK. Damn tasty food and Gem, the owner, is awesome! 

Nicos N
Nicos N

MTV, as I work there! :D

Cornel
Cornel

 Sometimes it's little things that make a big impact. Besides all the parties and food places in Camden, as a film buff, I was very excited to know I used to live on the street Alfred Hitchcock filmed a scene in The Man Who Knew Too Much with James Stewart and Grace Kelly. That was on Pratt Street and better, the house behind James Stewart is where French painter and poet Rimbaud and Verlaine lived (it's on Camden Street, right at the end of Pratt Street) and the partied hard in there after the came back from the pubs at the old Camden Market and Arlington Road. 


If that's not good enough then find the best Sushi at 
Asakusa (265 Eversholt Street NW1 1BA), behind Mornington Crescent tube station. 

Alex K
Alex K

Best place in Camden ... the Roundhouse.  Seen so many amazing concerts, plays, exhibitions there over the years and then to finish off the evening there is Marine Ices across the road.  What's not to like?

Cornel
Cornel

Sometimes it's little things that make a big impact. Besides all the parties and food places in Camden, as a film buff, I was very excited to know I used to live on the street Alfred Hitchcock filmed a scene in The Man Who Knew Too Much with James Stewart and Grace Kelly. That was on Pratt Street and better, the house behind James Stewart is where French painter and poet Rimbaud and Verlaine lived (it's on Camden Street, right at the end of Pratt Street) and the partied hard in there after the came back from the pubs at the old Camden Market and Arlington Road. 

If that's not good enough then find the best Sushi at 
Asakusa (265 Eversholt Street NW1 1BA), behind Mornington Crescent tube station. 

Chris
Chris

Good Human are looking forward to hosting an exhibition by Czech born artist Martin Krupik taking Good Human into the world of abstract expressionism this Thursday 28th July @ Good Human Studio's, 11 Leybourne Rd Camden Town. Exhibiting and working on projects with Artisland, NO ID gallery, The Foundry, Synergy, Good night beds, TAA and Prospect art gallery his work has reached a variety of prestigious venues and organisations. His work is an ongoing research into channeled art with influences including Kandinsky, Bosch, Pollock. Krupik sees the underground brought to the surface

Lucy
Lucy

Check out the monthly Pop Up Vintage Fairs in Hampstead. Next one on 24th July at St Stephen's Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead, NW3 2PP. Fab array of stalls with vintage clothes, jewellery, accessories and homeware. Definitely going there to find some vintage treasures and enjoy afternoon vintage tea and cake! 11:00-16:00. 07716 295998. They're also on facebook.com/popupvintagefairs

Claire E Hind
Claire E Hind

Live Art,Poet & Musician END OF EXHIBITION PARTY NIGHT THURSDAY 10TH MARCH 6.30PM - 9.00PM Exhibition Open with mOrganic, Live Artist, Simon O'Connor, Poet & Malcolm, from Hats Off Gentlemen If It's Adequate, performing 2 acoustic music sets. A chance for everyone involved to come together, have fun, network, relax & enjoy... THE VALUE OF THINGS An Art Exhibition Of Value... 6th March – 10th March 2011 MAPALIM THE PARLOUR STUDIO & PROJECT SPACE, 181-187 QUEENS CRESCENT LONDON, NW5 4DS http://www.thevalueofthings.com/

jason Pablo
jason Pablo

No not really, if you visited eastlondon bricklane you'll be so much surprised and London is a such beautiful place to hang out in general agree?

Le gourmand
Le gourmand

Where are the inimitable Chin Chin Labs with their nitro icecream?!?surely the only reason to visit Camden at all...