By Hope Alves, Property Managment Assistant
Living less than 15 minutes (almost exactly) from West Hampstead, not only is my commute to work the most effortless journey of my day, but I’m also a stones’ throw away from my favourite area in North West London. Growing up on this side of London throughout my teens does mean I’m slightly biased to the area, but it’s safe to say you’ll always find me here – and all for good reason. Inevitably, this takes a toll on the bank account every so often, but I’ve only myself to blame – so today I’ll be sharing with you my favourite 5 places to go in West Hampstead that contribute to the penny-counting at the end of the month.
1) The Black Lion – West End Lane
Now, I’ve been coming to the Black Lion since I turned the ripe age of 18. It offers great food and drink, and tucked away just passed the bar is its summer-ready split level beer garden where you'll be parked in the sun for the whole evening. The longer the night goes on, the longer you'll be waiting to be served, but you won't grow impatient when you see their bartenders working at top speed to get you your well-earned scoop. Date night, work night, mate night, this is number 1 on my list for a reason. WARNING: bar staff also have the magic of the Pied Piper – don’t expect to be leaving too soon after you’ve arrived.
2) The Kitchen Table – Mill Lane
Almost all the business at this rustic, authentic little restaurant is from regulars. Your standard tea and cake or “shall we grab a quick bite?” trips should end with you here! Newspapers and books are available to read on their bookshelf while you wait for your order. Best meal there so far? Scrambled eggs on toast with mushrooms and avocado. Yum. Lunch servings are generous, and although the menu is a tad restricted, you'll be sure to find a little something that you fancy. NOTE: cash only, ladies and gentlemen - there's no cashpoint nearby to which you can make that walk of shame!
3) The Hampstead Butcher and Providore – West End Lane
Butcher, deli and charcuterie? I’m there. As a meat and cheese lover, I can’t seem to keep my nose out the door of this joint! If you’re used to casually throwing plastic-packaged beef, pork and poultry into your shopping basket, I really must insist you give this place a shot and get your hands on the real deal. What say you to throwing a bottle of red in while you’re at it? They've got it all. I have no warnings for this little gem.
4) The Gallery – Broadhurst Gardens
I had to throw another bar/gastropub in there, didn’t I? Standard evening out on a Friday after work – great service, great wine, spirits and beer on tap. With a dinky little loft space for those not eating, and a number of tables as you head in the door for those desperate to be seated by the bar, there's plenty of room for all. Early in the night, you might want to head downstairs for a more mellow atmosphere (you can sink into one of their sofas if you fancy), but staying upstairs when the pub starts to come alive is highly recommended. WARNING: watch out for the steep stairs to the loos once you've had that final pint!
5) West End Lane Books – West End Lane
This little hidey hole is a safe haven for booklovers. I personally am someone who’ll pack more books than bikinis on a holiday, so when this place was first suggested to me by a colleague, I made a dash for it after work one day. Organised, friendly, and welcoming – you’re able to peruse the literature until you go cross-eyed. Nothing like a paperback every once in a while.
So there you have it, my top 5! If you’ve given these a shot and you enjoy them all, you’ll find me between 9am and 6pm at the first desk on your left in the basement of Paramount’s offices, for all and any enquiries, property- and West Hampstead- related.