CDY isn’t just about the bars and restaurants; the bulk of the units in the former Victorian coal store development are shops, including the likes of S120, American Vintage, Cubitts, Superga, Rains and Universal Works. Bonds also has an outpost there complete with a Earl of East candle-pouring room and Tom Dixon calls the area home with a huge HQ functioning as a studio and a shop. Prepare to want everything.
Hoppers latest, and largest, restaurant in King’s Cross has a big outdoor terrace that faces the Regent’s Canal, making it a great summer spot. Inside, it’s bright and spacious, and vibrant, with the kitchen knocking out all the Hoppers Sri Lankan and south Indian classics such as Swimmer Crab Kari; Bone Marrow Varuval; Lamb Kothu Roti; and of course the signature string and egg hoppers.
Unit 22-24 Bagley Walk Arches Coal Drops Yard London, N1C 4DH
The Drop is a cute little wine bar with organic and low intervention wines and a pretty banging menu of snacks and heartier dishes. The space is very cute and perfect for a wine bar with exposed brick walls and low arched ceilings due to the building’s heritage as a coal store. On the food front you should definitely start with the marinated black Angus, thin slices of raw beef that really do melt in the mouth. The Hedone bread with salted butter is pretty hard to say no to as well. From the small plates, our faves are roasted squash with onions and sage and the chicken liver pate and beetroot salad, and the guinea fowl and girolle mushroom pie also hits the spot. Instead of dessert, get a plate of cheeses and a glass of red wine to finish – this is is a bleedin’ wine bar after all.
Morty & Bob’s and its mega cheese toasties has taken up residence in Coal Drops Yard, with an all-day menu that also includes steak & eggs, green toast and parmesan truffle fries. You can pair that with an Allpress coffee but their range of classic cocktails would really hit the spot.
Dishoom sure knows how to do it. All their sites have regular huge queues out the door and it’s not hard to see why. They do Indian food like no other and their bacon and egg naan rolls for breakfast are the stuff of legend. This branch, housed in a old transit shed with nice decorative touches that nod to the railway as well as a basement cocktail bar, also looks amazing too. Absolute joy every time.
The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel is one mighty impressive building. Even those who haven’t been inside will have probably seen various parts of the hotel on TV – yes it was the staircase in the Spice Girls ‘Wannabe’ video. It’s grand and decadent with high ceilings and huge corridors, made so for ladies in the olden days who wore massive skirts so that they could walk along them without getting stuck, and the rooms come with plenty of five-star touches. The hotel is also home to the Booking Office restaurant with a 29-metre-long bar and classic English grub.
Six Pancras Square, Pancras Road, Kings Cross, London N1C 4AG, UK
Drake & Morgan, set between St. Pancras International and Central St. Martins, serves food from breakfast through to dinner with a menu featuring small plates, grills and larger dishes – basically something for one and all. Whether you are up for an evening hangout, quick dinner or just want a coffee and to plug in your laptop, Drake & Morgan ticks all boxes.
Built right next to the canal, The Lighterman has a primo spot on Granary Square, with three floors of views and plenty of outdoor space for al fresco action. The ground floor has more of a pub vibe, but upstairs is a more formal sit down space where you can tuck into upscale pub grub.
Vinoteca is all about matching food and wine, so you can find a wine pairing suggestion for each dish on the British-European inspired food menu. If you’re solely after liquid refreshment, you certainly won’t go thirsty as the wine list is 200 strong, and you can even by bottles from the shop to take home too.
The CDY branch of Barrafina is the biggest one in the group – very handy as it’s still strictly no ressies – with gorgeous counter seating plus some small tables if you want a little more privacy. It’s a Calalan-inspired menu, with a mix of new dishes and Barrafina classics (like their famously oozy tortillas) but be sure to check out the daily specials as well because these can be magic.
Coal Drops Yard, Stable Street, London N1C 4DQ, UK
Casa Pastor, sister to Borough Market’s El Pastor, serves up a similar Mexican menu – think dishes like cherrystone clams with lime, lamb barbacoa, soft-shell crab tacos and vegan coconut ceviche tostadas as well as a Mexican brekkie menu too. The (covered and heated) outside terrace, Plaza Pastor, has its own menu of tostadas, tortas and rotisserie chicken and an extended tequila and mezcal drinks lists. They also have live music and DJs out there too, making it the perfect place for a fiesta.
Opened by Anthony Demetre, owner of Mayfair’s Wild Honey, Vermuteria Bar & Cafe is (unsurprisingly) inspired by the vemeuterias found across Spain and Italy. Vermouth is the star of the show, with at least 50 different types on offer as well as other classic aperitifs, and there’s a casual food menu of pastries, salads and other healthy dishes.
Drink, Shop, Do is a cafe by day and bar by night but the thing that sets this place apart is the range of events they host. As well as bottomless brunches and afternoon teas, at DSD you can take a girl power dance class, build and fight Lego robots, take a neon life drawing class, design silver jewellery and make your own nipple tassels.
As The Coal Office is inside the Tom Dixon HQ at Coal Drops Yard, it understandably looks pretty swish. Thankfully with Assaf Granit, who’s behind The Palomar and The Barbary, in charge of the menu, the food more than matches up. We’re talking kingfish sashimi, baked bone marrow shawarma, prawn pappardelle with cured lemon butter, beef fillet and black chickpea stew, and chocolate cardamom coffee tart. Er YUM.
It’s pretty hard to miss the outline of Gasholder Park thanks to the wrought-iron structure of Gasholder No.8 (which was the largest of the gasholders that used to occupy King’s Cross). It’s actually been moved from its original location and now surrounds a small but perfectly formed patch of grass, perfect for catching a few rays.
Pip Lacey, formerly of Murano, teamed up with Wolf & Badger to open her first restaurant hicce on the top floor of their Coal Drops Yard store. The focus is on using the barbecue to cook ingredients like meaty hot sticks as well as to smoke or steam, and the menu also features plenty of homemade pickles, breads and cured meats nicely matched to a menu of low intervention wines, craft beers and cocktails.
Bon Vivant, Marchmont Street, Kings Cross, London, UK
It’s all a bit French in Bon Vivant, with staff in striped tops and some rather provocative artworks on the walls. It’s all about classic brasserie food here – think French onion soup, moules mariniere, duck confit and beef bourguignon burgers – all washed down with French vino. Ooh la la indeed.
Ekachai is all about proper (and properly priced, with mains coming in under a tenner) South East Asian street food, with classic dishes from Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand, like seafood laksa, Singapore noodles, nasi goreng and kai krapow, on the menu.
The King’s Cross outpost of Caravan not only boasts a large industrial dining room but a separate coffee bar and on-site roastery. They take their coffee very seriously, so not only can you buy it freshly poured but you can order a whole range of blends and kit to improve your own coffee game. If you’re after something more substantial than a cup of joe, their all-day menu won’t disappoint, from the bangin’ brunches to the small plates, which are a mash-up of Asian, European and Middle Eastern flavours to the pizzas.
KERB may have spread all over town but the street food market hasn’t forgotten its roots. You can find traders in Granary Square every lunchtime on Wednesdays – Fridays, with a mix of old faves and new talent from their InKERBator scheme.
Honest Burgers - King's Cross, Pentonville Road, London, UK
Honest Burger serves up meaty-goodness all day long with a breakfast and brunch menu. But when it comes to their burgers, we’re all about the Tribute – beef, bacon, American cheese, burger sauce, mustard and pickles. All their burgers (and yes they do a vegan one) come with rosemary salted chips too, so just add in a side of onion rings and bacon ketchup and you’re good to go.
FRAME Kings Cross, Arthouse, 1 York Way, London N1C 4AS, UK
It’s a Frame two-for-one in King’s Cross as there are two standalone studios just round the corner from each other. One has space for barre, pilates, dance and other fitness classes, whereas the other is solely dedicated to yoga, making it THE place to downward dog and de-stress.
Word On The Water, Regent's Canal Towpath, London, UK
This floating bookshop on a 100-year-old Dutch barge actually used to make its way up and down the canal but now it’s moored by Granary Square (so at least you know where to find it). Go for the books – they have a range of second-hand tomes and new releases plus some quirky titles, as you’d expect from a bookshop on a boat – stay for the dog and one of the live music performances on the roof if you’re lucky.
Tunnel King's Cross/St Pancras, Collier St, King's Cross, London, UK
Even if you haven’t physically walked through it, you’ll have seen this tunnel on the ‘gram as that LED art wall just begs to be snapped. And it’s also pretty handy in getting you from the tube and St Pancras outside to the fun stuff on the street.
The OG Simmons is still going strong with its five-hour happy hour, cocktails and bargain wine. DJs spin the tunes until 3am on the weekend in the ‘rave cave’ and there are old school games ready to play on the Megadrive. If you’re after cheap drinks, this is the place to come.
Art, comedy, spoken word, music…you can enjoy it all at King’s Place. The arts space hosts regular festivals and series (examples include Jewish Book Week and Venus Unwrapped on music by women) and it’s also home to both the Pangolin London and Piano Nobile galleries.
There are 16 Gagosian exhibition spaces around the world and one of those is on Britannia Street. The gallery showcases modern and contemporary art with the likes of Chris Burden, Vera Lutter, Nancy Rubins and Katharina Grosse showing in King’s Cross in the past.
Yep there’s a two acre nature reserve right in the middle of King’s Cross on the banks of Regent’s Canal. A whole host of bird and plant life, as well as a lot of butterflies, call the park home, and there’s a floating viewing platform actually on the canal so you can get right in there for a proper look.
14-18 Handyside St, Kings Cross, London N1C 4DN
We do love an Everyman – watching a film from a sofa with the drinks and snacks brought right to you never gets old – and the one in King’s Cross doesn’t disappoint. There are three screens (two with over 100 seats) in the main building, with what was the small Everyman On The Corner now functioning as screen four.
If you’re a music fan, Spiritland is the cafe and bar for you. Not only is it decked out with a state-of-the-art Living Voice sound system, there are DJ sets and album playbacks every day, there’s a radio station and a shop selling headphones and records. There’s also somehow room for a bar and kitchen, so you can listen to all those excellent tunes whilst tucking into some European-inspired small plates and a few glasses of vino.
Plum + Spilt Milk, located within the Great Northern Hotel, serves up modern British cuisine by Mark Sargeant (this was his first venture in London after leaving Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s). Though it’s an all-day restaurant, the decor lends itself well to dinner dining with rich blue walls and lots of plush wooden furniture and with dishes like Cornish fish soup, beef wellington and Yorkshire rhubarb and ginger parkin trifle, you’ll wanna settle in for the full three courses.
German Gymnasium, King's Boulevard, London, UK
German Gymnasium is a huge restaurant in the Grade-II listed building of what was the first purpose-built gym of its kind in England, built in 1864 for the German Gymnastics Society. Converted by D&D (Pont de la Tour, Angler, Coq d’Argent) it is now a very impressive-looking restaurant and bar, a definite switch in direction from its original use. The all-day Grand Cafe serves up a Mittel-European menu featuring schnitzels, steaks and sausages, with a more sophisticated menu up on the first-floor restaurant. The Meister Bar keeps the glamour going late into the night.
Aussie Bill Granger has made a chain out of his eponymous restaurants, and like the others, the KX branch serves up an eclectic menu that draws influence from around the world. The dinner menu small plates, bowls and grains, big plates, and BBQ – and it’s one of those where you want to order absolutely everything. We find the most winners on the small plates but it’s worth a trip down for brekkie too…those eggs are good and the ricotta hotcakes are legendary.
Skip Garden, Tapper Walk, Kings Cross, London, UK
Skip Garden (which as the name would suggest, is a veg garden built in skips) is a real community project. More than a thousand hands have been involved in the creation of urban oasis, which makes use of recycled materials from construction sites and moves around KX as building works continue. Not only are there flowers, herbs and veg, the garden even has beehives and chicken coops, and you can taste the team’s handiwork in the Skip Garden Kitchen.
The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4, King's Cross, Pancras Road, London, UK
Even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, you’ll know about the luggage trolley sticking out the wall where the entrance to Platform 9 ¾ is thanks to the perennial queue. You don’t actually have to pay to take a snap there, so if you’re still desperate for one, go early (or really late) to avoid the line.
Founded in Tufnell Park, Ruby Violet’s Kings Cross location is a far nicer affair, located next to Waitrose and close to the canal. This means when the weather’s nice you can grab an ice cream and sit out by the water or even the grassy banks just outside the shop. All Ruby Violet’s handmade ice creams and frozen desserts are made with organic milk and there’s always some interesting flavours to choose from such as fig & honey or greengage ripple.
Mildreds is one of London’s original vegetarian restaurants, having been founded in Soho in 1988. Growing to several sites since then, the King’s Cross branch is one of the biggest, with a big industrial-chic room that has long sharing tables and an open kitchen. The menu is all veggie and vegan and as you can imagine from a place that’s been around 30 years, they know what they’re doing. There’s everything from curries and burgers to brunch and roasts on the weekend.
As part of the Electric Star Pubs group (who also have Star by Hackney Downs and Star of Bethnal Green amongst others), you know you’re gonna get a decent drink whether you like a craft beer or a cocktail; good grub (kitchen residents have included Yeah Burger); and be very well entertained with pub quizzes, karaoke, comedy and club night vibes in the basement.
THE MEETING PLACE
Grand Terrace, St Pancras International, Kings Cross, London N1C 4QP
Often referred to as The Lovers or even just the kissing statue, this 9m tall bronze sculpture by Paul Day is on the Grand Terrace inside St Pancras station and is one of the first things you see when you get off the Eurostar.
With a collection that’s over 150 million strong, the British Library is one of the largest libraries in the world. From books to stamps to maps to newspapers and much, much more, there is a serious amount of treasure to be found here, including the Magna Carta, a Leonardo da Vinci notebook, the Times first edition and Beatles manuscripts. Yeah proper treasure. You can work in the Reading Rooms or if you’ve got a day off, visit one of their regular exhibitions.
If you’re looking for pizza in King’s Cross, there’s only one place you need to go to and that’s Happy Face. Opened by the team behind Spiritland – yes that does mean the soundtrack is on point, even the toilets have some fancy speakers – Happy Face is a modern take on the classic pizzeria. Decked out in millennial pink and teal, it’s a fun, relaxed restaurant to be in and that’s before you even get to the food. The menu is pleasingly tight, just a handful of starters (definitely get the courgette fritti) and desserts, with nine classic pizzas like funghi, melanzana and pepperoni on offer. They use a 72-hour fermented dough here and it does result in a lighter crust, and there’s chilli oil on the table as standard for all your crust dipping needs. The most expensive pizza comes in at £12 but the majority are a tenner or under. Considering the size and quality, it’s a right bargain, and they’re speedy with the service too. Not only is Happy Face right next to the Everyman (so you can catch a film before dinner), it’s got the retro late-night cocktail bar Supermax in the basement (so you can keep your night going long after the pizzas have been eaten).
Plant-Based Pit Stop is the UK’s first entirely vegan food hub, and it’s right by the station, making it the ideal place for vegan commuters to pick up some grub. PBPS is currently home to organic cafe Mother Works, which serves up coffee, juices, soups and porridge; creperie and zero-waste shop Pipoca; Vida Bakery, known for their rainbow cakes and cupcakes; and the second outpost of Palm Greens, which does grain and salad bowls.
Lina Stores, which has been supplying Londoners with the best Italian ingredients for over 75 years, is a Soho institution, has a pasta restaurant on Greek Street just around the corner from the Brewer Street deli, as well as a site in Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross. The restaurant has the same mint green exterior, with counter dining on the ground floor and tables in the basement. Pasta is the star of the show here – it’s all handmade daily in the deli, just like it has been since 1944, and head chef Masha Rener has created a menu that features Lina Stores classics as well as regional Italian specialities. The pici with porcini and Umbrian sausage is a standout with the gnocchi with new season peas and salted ricotta running it a close second though. Thankfully the portion sizes allow for you to try a few and, yes, you will be wanting all of them.
Though KX has been tacked onto the name, the inmates of Pentonville Prison are more likely to be troubled by the aromas of boiling hops from Two Tribes than the commuters of King’s Cross, situated as it is just between Caledonian Road and York Way in Tileyard Studios. The brewery was born from a love of celebrating creativity and so they pump up the volume alongside the banging brews. The taproom is equipped with decks and a Funktion One sound system as well as brewtech, matching a great taste in beer with stellar tunes. After a couple of cans of the full-bodied Electric Circus you’re ready to throw some shapes. It’s punchy. And did we mention they design their own artwork too? Two Tribes is a beer culture you wanna be a part of.
If you don’t like a lot of hops – and we mean oodles of it – in your beer, look away now. This brewery was born out of a love of hoppy beer, which saw it make the gigantic leap from its hometown in Fremantle, Western Australia, all the way to our very own King’s Cross. Good thing for thirsty Londoners, because the beer is pretty darn tasty. There’s a Pale Ale, a Bright Ale (subtle malt flavours with a fruity hop aroma), Pilsner, IPA, Rogers’ Beer (hop flowers and toasted malts) and Dog Days (a Session Ale that’ll see you through the hottest, muggiest of days). Speaking of the hottest, muggiest days, there’s no better place to see them out than at Little Creatures’ brewpub on the Regent’s Canal: a light, industrial space right by the water.
The London outpost of the US hotel group is housed in the former Camden Town Hall Annex in King’s Cross. The Standard features 266 rooms from snug hideaways to terraced suites with outdoor tubs – imagine the views from there. They’ve also added three storeys to the top of the building, only accessible by their iconic exterior red pill lift, where you’ll find Decimo, a Spanish-inspired restaurant headed by Michelin-starred chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias. There’s more eating and drinking options on the ground floor with restaurant Isla and bar Double Standard. There’s a real 70’s California vibe going on inside, with lots of mahogany, plush leather and pops of colour. This place is highly Instagrammable and a hot new addition to London.
Situated in the retail haven that is Coal Drops Yard, BLOMMA Beauty is a one-stop shop for natural beauty cosmetics. BLOMMA Beauty specialise in cruelty free, vegan and organic beauty brands that all have a sustainable and ethical ethos. As well as shelves stacked with lotions and potions, BLOMMA also has a sample bar, offers express facials, and runs a skincare switch service to help people make conscious beauty swaps.
If you like dim sum and duck, you’re gonna love Dim Sum & Duck. Located in King’s Cross, the simple, small Chinese restaurant serves some of the best dumplings in London – it’s just off the main drag so look out for the queue, which you’ll spot well before the bright blue restaurant. Once seated you can take your pick of fresh translucent dumplings, including the Shanghai pork soup dumplings, which just might be our favourite Xao Long Bao in London; the crispy sesame prawn roll, a spin on sesame prawn toast; prawn & chive dumplings; fried duck bao; char siu honey roast pork; and the BBQ roast duck. Then there’s the char siu bao steamed pork bun, custard bun, crunchy tofu skin roll, cheung fun…we could go on and on and that’s before we’ve even mentioned the other Cantonese noodles, soups and rice dishes. It’s BYOB, service is fast and, like the queuing process, it also a little manic at times with orders and wrong dishes flying out, but it’s all part of the charm. Absolute gem this one.
Isla, the ground-floor restaurant at The Standard in King’s Cross, focuses on simple seasonal dishes. Most plates on the menu contain just two elements – there really aren’t any bells and whistles here, just stripped-back, confident cooking. There’s also an emphasis on seafood. Highlights include big fat oysters dressed with cider and dill, scallops topped with a rich and savoury XO, mussels in a creamy nduja sauce, and a soft and flaky lemon sole drenched in seaweed butter. Although Isla is the more relaxed restaurant at The Standard, compared to Decimo on top floor, you’ll still end up spending a few quid here – something that comes with the territory of hotel restaurants – but it’s a great place to spend a few hours in King’s Cross, whether you’ve got a train to catch or not.