Don’t be fooled by its sartorial-sounding name: leather is no longer readily available here. Instead this scenic street, nestled between the hustle and bustle of Gray’s Inn and Farringdon Roads, and running parallel to the jewellery trade hub of Hatton Garden, is a haven for food lovers.
Leather Lane mixes the best of traditional London with the new. Its down-to-earth weekday market – which has been operating for a staggering 400 years – is one of the city’s best and is constantly evolving, these days feeding the suited lunchtime worker crowd. Meanwhile innovative, independent, and – dare I say it – kind of hipstery restaurants and coffee shops are springing up on the street all the time.
Surprisingly for somewhere so central, Leather Lane is also majorly residential, which has fostered a greater sense of community than you’ll find in most parts of the City. The Friends of Leather Lane Market group and Leather Lane Stars project work hard to preserve this; it’s them you can thank for helping to retain the lane’s unique character and independent spirit. Okay, yes, there is a Pret, a Subway and a Greggs, so you’re sorted for sandwiches – but apart from that, you’d be hard pressed to find any major chains setting up shop here.
Microbrewed cask ales from the Sir Christopher Hatton, a cosy traditional pub with outdoor tables for those rare sunny days.
Craft beer, obviously, at The Craft Beer Co. With more than 200 bottles and cans of the golden stuff on offer, you’re truly spoiled for choice at this trendy neighbourhood watering hole, the original branch of a London mini-chain.
Sushi at Tajima-Tei. It looks unassuming from the outside, but this minimalist eatery is very popular with locals thanks to its genuine and fresh Japanese fare.
Salt and pepper calamari from Kin – it’s the best in London. This restaurant has a huge choice of delicious and authentic dishes from South East Asia. If you book in advance, you can get 20 percent off your food at certain times.
A steak burrito at Daddy Donkey, where you can get one plus a beer for a tenner.
Stonkingly flavoursome, authentic paella from Oh’Lola, a few steps away on Hatton Garden.
In the mood for a comforting, cheap autumnal lunch? Go for good old-fashioned pie, mash and gravy from Pieminister.
Try your hand at creating impressive latte art with the help of a beginner’s workshop at Prufrock Coffee.
Have a ping-pong party at Bounce, just off Leather Lane. You can book a table and challenge your friends to a match or two while necking cocktails.
Take time out to treat yourself to a spa pedicure or shellac manicure at Diamond Nail Bar. It does walk-ins, so no need to book an appointment.
A new or second-hand bike from Fullcity Cycles. It also does servicing and repairs – and you can have a coffee while you wait.
Reasonably priced but large and tender cuts of meat from traditional butcher James Gubb, especially if you’re planning to host a fancy dinner party.
Bargain clothing from the Age UK Camden charity shop. Spend time perusing the rails for one-off items, and do some good in the process.
And if you only do one thing…
Hit up Leather Lane Market, which runs Monday to Friday. Once mainly bric-a-brac stalls, it’s now a street food lover’s paradise. But there are fruit-and-veg and flower stalls too, for that traditional edge.
By Natasha Wynarczyk, who regularly gets leathered on the Lane.