By Jove! Pimlico – the bit in London between Victoria and the Thames – is becoming cool. Since boutique hotel Artist Residence London arrived in the ‘hood, our (vintage, upcycled) barometer has detected a cool wind blowing west.
So why has this hotel (which has an equally cool counterpart in Brighton) landed in the city’s most sedate part? We trawled Thomas Cubitt’s street plan, and found the spots aspiring artists and ravenous gourmands should explore…
Your new ‘I’m cultured’ hang-out Tate Britain (above left) may seem like the Tate Modern’s dorkier older bro – the one who waffles on about chiaroscuro and wears a frilly shirt – but an ongoing 20-year refurbishment, the Millbank Project, carried out by architect firm Caruso St John, has added a slinky arabesque of staircase from the Rotunda floor, slipped in a sexy monochrome bar and zhuzhed up the caff. Even die-hard philistines will be acquiring membership and asking ‘Hey, Tate Britain, did you get a haircut or something?’ Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG (020 7887 8888).
Feel like a local by heading across the cobbled courtyard to the left of Tate Britain to investigate Chelsea Space‘s consistently great shows. Affiliated with the Chelsea College of Art and Design, the gallery enlists ‘next big things’ to exhibit and holds shows on niche subjects such as letterpress gig posters (above right) and arthouse film-makers’ sketchpads – great stuff. 16 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4JU (020 7514 6983).
Your new ‘I’m a vintage-find ninja’ hang-out The term salvage yard may make you think of haggling over pig iron with wannabe Steptoe and Sons, but Lassco Salvage Yard is the Marks & Spencer of re-purposed home wares. It’s housed in a Georgian mansion, and you can buy naval whatsits, cast-iron whosits, or a lovely pair of knockers (easy). If vintage doesn’t quite cut it, browse their exquisite antiques before stopping at on-site restaurant and bar Brunswick House for a hit of Penicillin (their whisky-laced cocktail). 30 Wandsworth Road, Vauxhall, London SW8 2LG, (020 7501 7775).
Feel like a local Retromania is ‘the chosen one’ of Fara charity shops; wherever an Alexander McQueen dress or retro statement shoe is dropped off in a bin-liner, it’s dusted off and sent to this mothership of cast-offs. You may well see a celeb pop in, or pick up their hand-me-downs – Laurence Olivier donated his jazz-record collection to this branch, no less. 6 Upper Tachbrook Street, London SW1V 1SH (020 7630 7406).
Your new ‘I’m a local’ hang-out The Marquis of Westminster (above left), is a pub that’s cosier than a fleecy blanket wrapped round your shoulders on a wintery day. It has a comprehensive wine list and some craft beers to sip, British and American comfort food and a cocktail bar for when you want to shrug off the blanket to reveal something sparklier. 50 Warwick Way, London SW1V 1RY (020 7828 1700).
Feel (more) like a local Curl up on an kilim-print sofa or a plump velvet chair by the fireplace in the Artist Residence London’s Club Room (above right) and gaze out at the garden. It’s a lovely little patch of down-home rusticity in London’s most London-y area.
Your new ‘I’m hungry, but discerning’ hang-out For Italian, head to Cacio & Pepe on Churton Street (020 7630 7588), where the home-made pasta (try the chestnut-flour tagliatelle with veal ragu) tastes truly Tuscan; for Spanish, tapas joint Goya on Lupus Street (020 7976 5309) gives good small plates in pretty surrounds, served by prettier staff. And for mod-Brit, the art-clad Cambridge Street Café is Artist Residence London’s in-house offering.
Feel like a local and head to the Sloane-y side of Pimlico to The Orange gastropub, for a wood-fired pizza with deli-style toppings and a Sunday roast that will incapacitate you. Until someone mentions the apple cake with salted-caramel ice cream.
So, is this triangular London neighbourhood cool again? You should Pimlico(co), get there before everyone does and stay at one of London’s coolest boutique hotels. And, if you’re still not convinced, check out our collection of city-break boltholes.