Our fabulous friends have been actively participating in our online discussion forums, so it was a collaborative effort in narrowing down our first outing locale–Camden! It seems a lot of the American expats already living in here (including myself) are less familiar with this area, so it seemed the ripe opportunity to go check out its scene. Considering Camden’s edgy, alternative music reputation, we thought it would be ideal to sample this vibrant neighbourhood at more than one venue.
The evening kicked off with a couple pints at The Dublin Castle, which is just a five-minute walk from the Camden Town tube station. With a live music club in the back of this intimate, red-tinged pub, this is where the UK band Madness got their start (and what we Yankees have learned since moving to London is that they did, in fact, have many, many more UK hits than just the “Our House” that we know in the States).
To keep with the urban music scene yet try out a variation in environment, we venture on to Proud Camden. While it certainly takes on a young, clubby atmosphere by night (which is not my usual cup-o-tea), I was nonetheless really impressed with its general area and layout–basically, the building was converted from old horse stalls, which have been preserved as uniquely-themed private rooms. If you can’t procure a reservation in one of these (which we couldn’t), there are lounge-y tables for 10 in the open main bar area within a gallery of photographs that surrounds the main stage for life performances. The South Gallery is yet another area within the venue that is available for hire. Unfortunately, there was an £8 cover charge after 9pm that turned off a few folks who arrived later, so it is definitely best to get there earlier (by 8:30pm to avoid waiting too long in the queue). Located right inside the Camden Stables Market, Proud is (from what I hear) a much more casual and chill place to hang out in the daytime, with the stables free for all to relax in. The surrounding area is in and of itself a worthwhile visit, bringing you instantly into a different era of London’s past with its quaint shop-lined alleyways just off the canal.
An impromptu stop for a night cap was The Oxford Arms pub located right on the high street near the tube. This has your standard British pub ambiance, but one distinct difference from its brethren is its later closing hours: 1:00am on weeknights and 2:00am on weekends. You might be thinking that’s no major deal relative to what you know in your home country, but the typical closing time local pubs is 11:00pm or midnight (and justifiably so when they’re already filling in with the after-work crowd by 4:30pm!). Our other late-late night alternative was Marathon, which appears to be a dive of a kebab stand with live jazz downstairs–sounds like everything I would love, so hoping to make it there another time.
So that was our Saturday night. New friendships have been forged, and we’re already excited for the next one. If YOU are moving here soon and would like to join us (as well as give input on where we should all meet out), please do sign up with us! At London Relocation Ltd., we’re happy to have this opportunity to transcend flat-finding to also provide you with an automatic community of expats who empathize with your move and will be eager to share their insights.