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Online city guide Itchy London’s team choose their top five secret London spots

Posted at 6:15 pm, November 18, 2011 in Arts & Entertainment

Drink Shop & Do cafe bar craft shop King's Cross LondonSculptor Andrew Logan shared his five favourite London spots with us last week, but today it’s the turn of something altogether less high brow. Amusingly honest city guide Itchy London have picked five places they love, all of which involve booze.

Drink Shop & Do is probably not that secret, but we only recently discovered it, and anyone who is a fan of delicious homemade cake (everybody, surely?) should do so too. Teapots with a side of penny sweets and cocktails made with sherbert will keep you buzzing for hours – plenty long enough to ‘Play with clay Michael Jackson style’ or get down to a game of Scrabble. They’re also soon to launch Drink Shop & Dance below decks.

Bar Centrale is a low key Italian pizzeria on Chalk Farm Road that we only wandered into because we like saying ‘ciao’ a lot. Their pizzas are cheap, massive and completely delicious, the house wine is cheap and there’s a big roof terrace out back for those who wish to order an espresso and chain smoke Marlboro reds afterwards, just like they do in Italia.

The Carpenter’s Arms, just off Tottenham Court Road, is a nice little pub in itself, but we’d like to draw your attention to its adorable roof terrace, which is drenched in fairy lights, antique bird cages and willow pattern plates. It’s a bit teeny, but worth a wait if they’re busy as you’ll feel like you’re drinking in the Secret Garden. Well, nearly. If it’s closed, or just way too cold, there’s a corner on the ground floor that was modelled on someone’s Granny’s living room.

 123 Bethnal Green Road is one of those amazing shops that you can only go to when you don’t know what to buy. It will answer Christmas present conundrums by the dozen in the next month, no doubt. The building itself is like the embodiment of a Guy Ritchie film – it used to sell rifles and ammunition but three proper east end blokes were put away for life after its closure for selling unlicensed weapons. Now beautifully refurbished, it sells vintage and designer clothes, kooky jewellry and gifts and Lady Gaga paper dolls. But the real secret is their collaboration with the Disappearing Dining Club, Too Much is Never Enough; a course in each department, plenty of booze and dancing in the basement until late.

Troy 22. Hanway Street. Place of many a blurry end of an evening. This is a bar – club at a big push – in a first floor living room, and is our go-to ‘the pub’s closing, where shall we go?’ venue. It’s far too hot, the drinks aren’t that cheap and the toilet is horrible, but it’s open late and is (usually) free entry. The music is a brilliant mix of sixties pop and indie, and when everyone starts jumping up and down to Mr. Brightside it feels like the floor is going to fall through.

Read more of Itchy London’s venue reviews at itchylondon.co.uk, or follow @itchyonline on Twitter.

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