Explore Carnaby’s Hidden Gems
Carnaby Street is world famous. The birthplace of freedom, vibrancy and the Swinging Sixties that marked this pedestrianised road on the map. It was the hangout of musicians like the Beatles and Rolling Stones, their fans, models, and anyone wanting to nab the latest fashions at one of the many boutiques lining the road.
But there is so much more to @carnabylondon than Carnaby Street itself. Take a wander off this road into the side streets to discover some of the area’s hidden gems, or just read this guide, and all will be revealed!
Sophie Tea Art
If the cobbled streets of the Newburgh Quarter do not draw you in, then rest assured @sophieteaart will. This rather unassuming art gallery showcases Sophie Terry’s art with her nude paintings of women making this contemporary artist hot property.
But this is no ordinary art gallery, as the journey down to the basement passes underneath tea cups and flowers hung from the ceiling, past peepholes revealing Sophie’s work, a lot of pink faux fur and through a pink Smeg fridge door. None of which you’d have any idea about unless you stepped foot inside.
Venture off Carnaby Street to Kingly Street, which some would argue is fairly hidden, and you’ll find several restaurants. But, the one we really want to share with you is @bar_crispin near Liberty because if you didn’t know about it, you’d easily walk past this green facade.
This restaurant and wine bar focuses on sustainability while dishing up seasonal European plates and low‑intervention wines. The wine list has some 150 wines, all hand‑picked in‑house and the small plates are all cooked to perfection. Their brown toast crab, sea bass crudo and oyster mushroom, marmite butter, egg yolk and buckwheat keep us coming back for more.
Deep in the basement of Kingly Court in Carnaby Street is Anne‑Marie’s favourite drinking hole, where drinks are served in glassware as elegant as the interior. Sleek, luxurious and glamorous, the cocktails are equally as excellent. Pick from @disreputebar more conventional menu or go off‑piste with one of their “narrative cocktails”, such as a Rita Hayworth or Naomi Campbell. Either way, you will be glad that you have found this awesome drinking spot that is only marked by a discreet sign outside.
The Tudor facade of @libertylondon is anything but hidden, but many shoppers probably don’t realise the sheer scope of things you can buy inside or the services available. Take time to explore this department store properly, and past the beauty and jewellery counters on the ground floor is a labyrinth of unique items from vintage rugs to porcelain, greeting cards and books to candlesticks, socks, fabrics and a seriously impressive haberdashery department that hail from all over the world. Perfumes, gins, table mats, sunglasses and hampers, we really can’t list them all, and this is even before we mention their impressive Christmas shop lined with every imaginable tree decoration from tennis balls to a fry-up!
You might argue that this strutting lady is anything but hidden, given her location on the corner of Carnaby and Broadwick Streets. However, we suspect you may have walked past her and not taken much notice, so we had to feature her in this guide. Created by Julian Opie, this double‑sided LED monolith, Shaida Walking, was created to draw people to the way they look when walking down any street.
Opie filmed random people walking on a treadmill to create this digital sculpture and then chose a public spot to place it “like a bronze statue of a civic hero to stride endlessly as a living drawing and as part of the crowd.”
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