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Photograph: Time Out
Photograph: Time Out

Love Local: keep supporting the independent businesses that make London tick

It's never been more vital to keep backing the city's unique shops, makers and restaurants

Joe Mackertich
Written by
Joe Mackertich
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Hello London,

For more than 50 years Time Out has been all about showing you the best of the city. And very often the best of the city is something local. London's independent or iconic restaurants, pubs, theaters, gig venues, nightclubs, cinemas, art galleries and concert halls. The places where stuff happens.

Time Out wants to help the city’s small, independent businesses. That's why we've been running our Love Local campaign to support local food, drink, culture and entertainment in London. From the knife-forgers in Peckham, to chefs selecting their favourite fruit and veg shops. We're also asking interesting citizens to share with us their picks of the neighbourhoods they know and love and spotlighting the craftspeople that are turning out fantastic local products

Recently, we asked you to vote for your favourite venues in our Love Local Awards. Thousands and thousands of people voted for their top spots. The Cafe that plays your favourite music. An art gallery that just has a really nice vibe. One nightclub in which you feel at home. Anything and everything is allowed, as long as you love it. Now we have announced your winners: a list of 17 tremendous venues, from across the city, that are beloved by you, our readers. 

We're also proud to have played a role in getting the word out about various crowdfund campaigns that successfully saved a number of London venues. The Jazz Cafe, The Gun pub and Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, among them

We'll go on highlighting independent shops and businesses, so do get in touch with info about your local makers and your crafty mates. Tell us about them at hello@timeout.com and we’ll tell other Londoners.

Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with the ongoing campaign. As London emerges from an abject period, Time Out will continue to fight for the city's brilliant local businesses.

Joe Mackertich
Editor
Time Out London

Vote for your favourite businesses

  • Things to do
  • Festivals

The nominations are in! We had tons of them. Loads of entries which means loads of brilliant venues that make all of our lives in London worth living. That tiny art gallery that serves weirdly good lasagne. The café that plays actually decent music. And, of course, the pub you love. Time to show them your support by casting a vote. 

If you have a favourite theatre, gallery, pub, restaurant or anything, we want you to vote for it right now. 

Love Local: how you can support local businesses in London

  • Things to do
  • City Life

The Mary Wollstonecraft statue in Newington Green has been a target of controversy since it was first erected. Some people have criticised it for being an abstract depiction of the female figure, rather than a lifelike representation of Wollstonecraft. Others have criticised it for it including a naked body – claiming the design to be ‘disrespectful to women’ and to Wollstonecraft’s achievements.  Well, folks, the memorial is not naked any more. Someone has bravely dressed the nude figure in a rather groovy purple gown and belt (complete with a large-scale parrot print). Although the dress looks like it may have originally been a tea towel, we’ve certainly seen worse fashion moments around town.  View this post on Instagram A post shared by Andrew Panatti (@lightningwagg) Is this a public gesture to keep the ‘mother of feminism’ warm – after all, she might be feeling the January frost like the rest of us? Is it a protest against the naked human body? Is it a protest against the monument? As always, the £143,000 statue is succeeding in providing a healthy dose of drama to Newington Green.  The heat is on for the British Museum to give back the Parthenon Marbles. Doing Veganuary? We ask experts how sustainable fake meat is.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Ever stared at the pattern on the seats of Piccadilly line trains and thought: you know what, I’d like to wear that? Well, you’re in luck. Adidas has teamed up with Arsenal FC and TfL to create the ultimate collab for Arsenal fans, tube fans and... Arsenal and tube fans. The new collection takes inspiration from the seat pattern, also known as a moquette, which appears on the Piccadilly line seats. The range includes an adult jersey and a youth jersey, plus a reversible padded vest and trousers, both of which feature the Arsenal tube station roundel. Photograph: Adidas The new designs will be worn by Arsenal players as they warm up ahead of games between now and the end of the season. The clothing celebrates Arsenal tube station, the only Underground station to be named after a football club. Fun fact: it used to be called Gillespie Road before it was changed in 1932. As part of the campaign, Adidas has also teamed up with London artist and Arsenal fan Reuben Dangoor, who’s created a limited-edition Oyster card. Anyone who buys an item from the new range will have the chance of getting one of these cards, pre-loaded with £15. It’s not the first time Adidas has collaborated with TfL. Back in 2018, the brand created a limited-edition pair of trainers inspired by the tube. It’s surely only a matter of time before the Adidas X TfL streetwear collection drops. TfL says the Elizabeth line is set to launch this year... finally. A big chunk of the Northern line is closed for 17 we

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  • Art

London’s major galleries and museums are allowed to reopen from May 17. Check on the galleries’ websites before visiting, you may need to book a slot in advance. For London’s museums and galleries it’s time to open up again. The city’s independents are already back in business, but from May 17 it’s the turn of their big brothers: the Tates, National Galleries and Haywards. Some galleries may now require booking for shows you used to be able to just rock up to, and others may have drastically reduced visitor numbers so you may have to queue, and almost all of them have changed their opening hours. Still, it’s great to be able to go and stand and gaze at some unbelievable art again. Here’s your next art outing sorted. 

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Thames river bus worker Holly McGlinchey was on her lunchbreak when she received a call from another boat asking for help. Someone had fallen into the river and couldn’t be reached. McGlinchey and her sister, with whom she was working that day, managed to find the man but couldn’t lift him from the water. ‘We held on to him until the Tower lifeboat arrived,’ she says. ‘I remember how hard it was, and how helpful they were. We wouldn’t have been able to save him without them. I signed up as a volunteer after that.’ Tower Lifeboat Station, the busiest Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) station in the UK, sits on the north side of the Thames under Waterloo Bridge. Ten full-time crew members and 55 volunteers work shifts to staff it 24/7, 365 days a year. It takes just 90 seconds after a call for help for the team to be ready to launch. It might surprise you that, while the RNLI has lifeboat stations in many coastal towns, a whopping 
5 percent of its launches take place here in central London. In fact, the Tower lifeboat team has rescued nearly 2,000 people and its service extends beyond just human lives. One weekend, a man and his dog went for a walk along the Thames. The tide was quite low, but rising fast, and suddenly Romeo, a staffordshire bull terrier, found himself stranded on the beach with his owner unable to get to him. ‘I have two dogs myself, so it was nice to reunite them,’ says McGlinchey. The team’s work could be in trouble, though. The constant ebb and fl

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  • Travel
  • Transport & Travel

It feels like we’ve been talking about Crossrail launching for approximately… one million years. The new transport network was supposed to launch in 2018, yet here we are, still Crossrail-less. It’s become like that annoying admin task you just roll over from your to-do list every single day. One day you’ll do it, maybe, but not today. But according to TfL, the wait might finally be over. One section of the Elizabeth line (to give it its proper name) is now set to open in ‘the first half of the year’. TfL hasn’t given a specific start date but, unless it’s subject to any more delays, it should be officially in action by the end of June 2022. The services initially launching will be between Abbey Wood and Paddington Elizabeth line stations. Before it can open, TfL has to run tests along the line, involving everything from incidents that require emergency services to responding to issues with signalling. It’s coming to the end of the first phase of its trial operations, but, as you might have guessed, there are still more to do. Could 2022 be the year that Londoners can finally experience the transport unicorn that is Crossrail? We’re going to say yes (probably). A big chunk of the Northern line is closed for 17 weeks (!). Halfords is offering Northern line commuters free eBike loans.

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

One thing you can say with confidence about London’s food scene is that places are always coming and going. Okay, not just food. Millwall moved from Millwall to Deptford. Arsenal moved from Woolwich to Highbury and Dover Street Market moved from Dover Street to Haymarket. But what is unusual is for a food market to relocate (while keeping its name). That’s what Borough’s Flat Iron Square is doing, though. Because of work on the Low Line through Southwark, it’s upping sticks to the site of its sister venue, St Felix Place, which opened last year. Slightly confusingly, it’s keeping its name, so it’ll still be known as Flat Iron Square in its new digs. Luckily, the relocation involves a mere 200 feet, so even if you’re a really confused type of person with zero sense of place or direction, you should still be able to find it.  The new Flat Iron Square opens on January 19, and promises everything that we’ve come to associate with it since the original opened in 2016. There’s a rolling roster of food trucks: with Louisiana-style sandwiches from Po’ Bros, focaccia pizzas from Good Slice, burgers from Gamekeeper and Lebanese food from Lil’Watan. The new location also boasts an onsite brewery and taproom. Screenings for the 2022 winter World Cup are already tentatively promised too. Just to sweeten the pill even further, the new Flat Iron Square will give the first 50 punters through the gates a free beer every day of the reopening week (January 19 to 23). Which is very decent. Flat

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

Two questions: do you know who invented the idea that pirates go ‘Aaaaaaarrrh’? And do you know where the famous Jolly Roger skull-and-cross-bones pirate flag came from? Well, the actor Robert Newton is supposed to have come up with the ‘Aaaaaaarrrh’, when he was playing Long John Silver in the 1950 film of ‘Treasure Island’. Why he did this is more obscure, but he was a notoriously heavy drinker, so he might have just been feeling a bit groggy (in both senses) that day. In terms of the flag, though, there is a good case that it might have originated in a secretive churchyard in south London. St Nicholas in Deptford is on a quiet side street, among council estates and former industrial spaces. Badly bombed in the war, it wasn’t restored until the 1960s. Up to the 1980s, it was overshadowed – literally – by a massive power station, since demolished. So it’s had a difficult twentieth century. Before that, though, its churchyard already had notoriety as the final resting place of Elizabethan playwright and spy Christopher Marlowe, who was murdered in a house nearby, supposedly after an argument about paying for dinner and drinks. That’s not the most interesting thing about the churchyard, though. The entrance to it is dominated by two huge stone skulls above a pair of crossed bones on the gateposts. Like the majority of the church, and an ossuary (bone vault) designed by Sir Christopher Wren, they date back to the seventeenth century, and are some of the most dramatic pieces of

  • Things to do
  • City Life

‘London has a willingness to be open to people, and to learn from differences,’ says artist Yinka Ilori, who was born and lives in the capital. ‘Every place in London has its own pocket of culture. You can go to Brick Lane and get your curry, or go to south [London] and get your jollof rice. These places are the fabric of communities. If we take away the independent brands and shops, then what is London about?’ For Ilori, a British-Nigerian artist known for splashing pops of colour across the grey metropolis, community is all about openness, collaboration and unity – an ethos that is very much reflected in his work. Last year, Ilori won the accolade of ‘Social Saviour’ in Time Out’s Best of the City Awards for his work that literally brightens up our environment. Who better, then, to introduce the winners of our Love Local Awards, which are all about championing the city’s most loved independent businesses, and are voted for by Londoners? These are the kinds of places helping local communities thrive. Community is at the heart of everything Ilori does. ‘The biggest thing for me is seeing kids and families play in those places [where my work is] and creating memories,’ he says. ‘I always felt empowered as a kid, so the work I try to do now is about empowerment, love, community and togetherness.’ His art isn’t hidden in galleries, it’s part of the city. ‘[Art and] design should be for everyone,’ Ilori says. ‘People who can’t access galleries should be able to experience an inst

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  • Things to do

If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that Londoners really love their city. In this year’s Love Local Awards, there were a whopping 100,000 votes as you guys championed your favourite places in the capital. All those votes are a celebration of the city’s beloved local restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés, shops, music venues, galleries and theatres – the places that make this city what it is. Now, we can finally reveal the winners… 

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

January – the bleakest month of the year. If you are looking to brighten up the dark weeks ahead and are on a bit of a budget post-Christmas, you are in luck. We have asked chefs to reveal their favourite places for cheap eats in the city. Expect good food for less than £6.  1. Santiago Lastra from Kol on why he loves Jen Café Photograph: Andy Parsons All right, Santiago, why’s Jen Café the place for you? ‘The authenticity. You can tell that it’s a family-run business and that people have a lot of experience. You can see the ladies making fresh dumplings in the window, that’s a good sign.’ What’s the vibe? ‘It’s busy, but just enough to make you feel like home and not overcrowded – it has a simple interior but the hospitality you experience there transports you to another place. The owners are lovely, super-quick and have a good sense of humour. They have respect for quality ingredients and a good, fair price.’ Enough of the niceties, what do you usually order? ‘The vegetable dumplings (£5) and the fried pork dumplings (£6) – they are amazing.’ 4-8 Newport Pl, WC2H 7JP. 2. Attawa’s Gopal Krishnan is hooked on Roti King Photograph: Andy Parsons Go on, Gopal, what made you fall for Roti King? ‘Roti King is a Malaysian restaurant. A lot of the dishes remind me of home, as there is a large Indian community which has influenced Malaysian cuisine over the years. It’s not glamorous like some restaurants – it is all about the food!’ What’s your order? ‘I am a vegetarian and I

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