Living in Stoke Newington
By Nia Charpentier
Like many areas of London, Stoke Newington used to be a bit on the rough side and probably not somewhere you'd want to spend a Saturday afternoon. But at some point during the 1990s, a series of restaurants, delis and boutiques started popping up and now N16 is one of the most desirable postcodes in north London. Ah gentrification!
Stoke Newington is in the borough of Hackney, and is relatively close to Dalston and Shoreditch to the south, Finsbury Park to the north west, Haringey to the north and Clapton and Homorton to the east. Church Street has become the main area for independent shops, bars, various eateries and a farmers' market every Sunday. Joining it is the High Street which is home to cheaper shops, pubs and the start of a stretch of Turkish restaurants who runs all the way down to Dalson.
As a largely residential area, Church Street and the roads leading off it are made up of Victorian style terraced houses with a few housing estates scattered around. Rent prices are rising all the time, particularly in N16, but cheaper properties can be found as you go towards the Green Lanes side of Clissold Park or towards Clapton and Hackney Downs.
Despite the gentrification, Stoke Newington is thankfully still a mixed bag in terms of people. There are prominent Turkish and Kurdish communities as well as plenty of yummy mummies, hipster types and those born and bred in the area.
Pubs, Clubs and Entertainment
Stoke Newington has more of a pub than a club scene. Although saying that, on any given weekend you will easily stumble upon a late night haunt, often in the basement of one of the Turkish cafes on the High Street. Church Street is also following suit with several bars like The Baby Bathhouse and The Drop which stay open late. There are no shortages of pubs, mainly traditional gastro type ones like The Rose & Crown and The Jolly Butcher selling real ale and ciders rather than cocktails. Although The Three Crowns does make a mean mojito. A little way down the High Street towards Dalston there's also an independent cinema called The Rio, showing mainstream as well as art house type films.
Clissold Park is the area's main green space. It's large, relatively flat and is home to a cafe, an animal and bird sanctuary, an adventure playground and in the summer months there is also a large paddling pool. It gets pretty busy at weekends, mainly with joggers, families and trendy Stokey types with their cappuccinos.
Shops, Restaurants and Takeaways
The amount of restaurants around is definitely one of Stoke Newington's strongest points. Even thought the area has a strong Turkish community, the variety of food on offer spans several continents. Rasa, which has two restaurants opposite one another, one meat and one veggie, serves up some of the best south Indian food in London (in my humble opinion).
There is also a very good late night Roman pizza joint called Datte Foco (which means “Go set yourself on fire” which is probably the rudest thing you can say to someone in Rome, but don't let that put you off).
The Coach & Horses is a pub that also serves up very tasty Thai food at reasonable prices, or if you want high end Thai food, Yum Yums has had rave reviews. Church Street is also a bit of a brunch destination, and places like The Blue Lagoon and Homa are very popular and fill up quickly at weekends.
In terms of shopping, more and more vintage and boutique clothes stores are popping up, as well as hair and beauty salons, florists and shops selling baby clothes, gifts and cards. Food wise, a very trendy looking butcher's has just opened, simply called "Meat N16". And for the less carnivorous there's Fresh & Wild, an all organic but pretty pricey supermarket. There are also a number of places selling second hand furniture off some of the side streets if you want some retro bits for your bedroom.
Church Street has managed to keep relatively chain free, with only a Nando's having snuck its way in. Chains are a bit more prominent on the High Street with an Iceland, a few banks, some fast food chains and a small Sainsbury's. There's a farmer's market at the Church at the south end of the High Street.
Like many places in Hackney, Stoke Newington has no tube (although the Seven Sister's stop on the Victoria Line isn't too far away), but plenty of regular buses going in all directions including night buses. There's the 73 which goes from Victoria all the way to Seven Sisters around the clock, so is often full of party people at night time. From the High street you can get pretty much any bus down to Dalston or Shoreditch, including the 149 which goes all the way to London Bridge, or the 243 and 76 which go to Waterloo.
There's also an overland rail line to Liverpool Street, Cheshunt, Enfield, Richmond, Clapham or Stratford from Stoke Newington station. The nearest tube stations are either Manor House (Piccadilly Line), Finsbury Park (Victoria and Piccadilly Line) or Angel (Northern Line) but these are at least a good 20 minute bus ride away.
AREAS OF LONDON