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Exclusive | London: Where to Eat Part Four

Exclusive | London: Where to Eat Part Four

In Hampstead, the King William IV (77 Hampstead High St, NW3; +44-20-7435-5747; ?4-12), is one of the oldest gay pubs in London and serves up great pub food (all-day English breakfast, veggie pies, whole meal ham-n-cheese sandwiches) to midnight daily. In summer, the beer garden is super popular. Service can be slow. Just outside the King William IV is the wonderful outdoor Hampstead Crepe Wagon, one of London's best-kept secrets, serves everything sweet and savory (from broccoli and cheese to chocolate and Gran Marnier) in a huge French pancake made right before your eyes. Try ordering one in French, and then sit out in King William's garden while you watch the boys returning fresh from a swim in the Heath.

Islington (just a few subway stops north from Soho) is filled with gay and lesbian dwellers, originally drawn there for its once affordable housing and neighborhood caf?s. The delightful S&M Caf? (4-6 Essex Road, Islington; +44-20-7359-5361; ?5-7) is where a very mixed crowd gathers for the Workers Breakfast -- one egg with sausage and a dollop of bubble and squeak (mashed potatoes and cabbage).

Ultra-chic but laid-back, Islington's slim Ottolenghi (287 Upper St.; +44-20-7288-1454; ?5-12), offers long shared tables and utterly mouthwatering small meze plates.

The Green is a cool gay-popular bar (74 Upper St., N1; +44-20-7226-8895; ?8-12) with great food and good cocktails. For something more classical, Frederick's (Camden Passage; +44-20-7359-2888; ?12-21) has an appealing garden and glassy dining room.

What to do on a wet weekend in London? Lesbian stronghold Oak Bar (79 Green Lanes, Islington, N16 ; +44-20-7354-2791) provides homemade Sunday lunches in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. If you can bear to make the journey out of Central London, wile away a few hours here with newspapers, board games and large-screen MTV. On the corner of Stoke Newington Church Street and just along from Saturday's organic outdoor market, gastropub The Three Crowns (175 Stoke Newington Church Street; +44-20-7241-5511) is a renovated classic pub, popular day and night with hipsters and gay women who live in this bohemian neighborhood.

Finally, if you want to try real English fish and chips, you can't do better than visit Faulkners (424-426 Kingsland Rd; +44-20-7254-6152; ?8-15) -- it doesn't look like much, but the crisply coated fish and French fries are excellent.

London's gay restaurants often serve up better attitude than food, making them better for a respite than a repast. Before or after the theater, check out Soho, which boasts over 500 restaurants in a couple square miles. Kudos (10 Adelaide St, WC2; +44-20-7379-4573; ? 3-8) is a popular, cruisy hangout for gym-buffed young suits -- and they serve food till 11p.m.

And it would be hard to miss First Out (52 St. Giles High St., WC2; +44-20-7240-8042; ?7-10), with its bright red fa?ade -- yet inside this "community caf?" you can enjoy veggie pastas and pies till 11 p.m., and drink in their tiny, intimate basement bar. If you're feeling leisurely and romantic, try Balans (60 Old Compton St., Soho; +44-20-7439-2183; ?8-18), with their sumptuous all-day/all-night brunches (everything from eggs florentine to smoked haddock), wild drinks by the pitcher, and daily specials like Thai fish stew and hazelnut crumpled goat's cheese. A shorter version of the menu is served at the caf? at 34 Old Compton Street.

Balans West (239 Old Brompton Rd., SW5; +44-20-7244-8838; ?8-19) in Earl's Court is very gay-popular -- a British version of N.Y.'s Food Bar. There are (less gay) outlets of Balans in Kensington High Street W8 and Brompton Road SW3.

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

Related Articles:
London: Introduction
London: Where to Stay
London: Where to Play/Meet
London: What to See and Do
London: Resources

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