The Best Recommendations from 2018
1 January 2019
New year, new Less Ordinary spots to discover. It’s day one of 2019 and we’re hitting the refresh button and finding all your new favourite spots for the new year. We thought who better to turn to for inspiration than the creatives who have brought our Conversations series to life?
In the spirit of introspection, we picked out some of our favourite recommendations from 2018, and let the people who recommended them show you exactly why they’re worth checking out this year. So get cosy, and maybe have a Berocca for that post-NYE hangover, cause these recommendations will jumpstart your 2019 with some Less Ordinary inspiration.
 
We certainly know the value of a trustworthy neighbourhood haunt. A special kind of place that’s beautiful, familiar, and where everybody knows your name. This is exactly how we felt when Petalon’s Florence Kennedy introduced us to Campania & Jones; a homely Clapton spot that ticks all the right boxes.
According to Florence, “We always return to Campania & Jones, even though we don't live that close anymore. It's the best, the food and the setting are my idea of heaven. Flagstone floors, simple and beautiful furniture, and the homeliest feel. There is often a cat warming himself by the log fire in the back room!”. Heck, we might move into town so we can call Campania & Jones our own local.
 
Taking over the former LAB site on Old Compton Street, Swift is a two storey bar that showcases the best of both the light and dark of Soho’s cocktail scene. Unlike other cocktail bars, Swift lives up to its name, by serving great signature cocktails as swiftly as possible. Which makes sense, considering one of its owners, Bobby Hiddleston, broke a world record by making 9 complicated cocktails in less than 90 seconds. — Now that’s swift.
Swift is definitely one of our favourite discoveries of 2018, and it’s all thanks to Tim Jenkin of Making Pictures. According to Tim, “There are a couple speakeasies in old Compton Street that are really cool. Swift is opposite El Camion and is designed almost to deter people from going inside. The entrance has a pristine white porcelain finish, with a tiny bar which makes it look like one of those cocktail bars made for only twenty people. Downstairs, it becomes this wonderful speakeasy!”
Bar Termini is the perfect example of the saying, “Big things come in small packages”; because this Compton Street classic offers up a whole lot of style in a small espresso sized package. Bar Termini serves fantastic coffee by day, and a fully dedicated negroni menu at night; quenching the thirst of coffee/negroni loving Londoners since 2014.
We discovered this little Soho gem through Bobby Hiddleston, whose very own Swift Bar is located just across the street. According to Bobby, “I consistently love Bar Termini. They are our neighbours across the road, and the people who work there are such wonderful people, and it is just such a nice place to be. Either myself or at least one or two of our team are there every single day.”

One of the first features we published this year was a peek into the stories of London’s lost deco icons, and how these buildings were being given a new lease on life. Imagine our joy when EartH, formerly the Savoy Cinema, was recommended by Julien Slawinski-Knight of the Lost Lectures?  Less than 6 months have passed since publishing that first piece, and now EartH has become a fantastic space that is breathing culture into the heart of Dalston.
According to Julien, “EartH in Dalston is an absolutely incredible project. It's located in an old abandoned art-deco theatre, that is being brought back from closure. Where music venues are closing down constantly (30% in the last 15years I believe), having this type of facility opening, and with a capacity of 2000 seats, in East London is a huge deal, and really great for the community.” 
The Barbican is one of London’s most well-known Brutalist buildings, but leave it to a creative like Ross Baynham to shine a new light on an old favourite. For Ross, it takes a certain amount of patience and perseverance to truly appreciate the beauty of subtlety; which is why the Barbican holds such special place in his heart.
When speaking of the Barbican Ross says, “The details need time and attention in order to be appreciated. The sense of calm gained from building inwards to shield its residents from the city; the at-first puzzling, but learnable, network of walkways and stairwells to efficiently move visitors and residents across a 10 hectare site. All of these things need patience to see and understand. Yes - there are flaws, but I think overall it is such an outstanding project, and is definitely my favourite place in the city.” Our conversation with Ross has inspired us to rediscover some of London’s most iconic buildings — because you never know what you will find if you take the time to appreciate the details. 
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Words by Hannah Tan-Gillies

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