Notting Hill remains a vibrant neighbourhood despite all the potential collateral damage from a certain Hugh Grant vehicle that we've never seen. But do you really know it? The way Anna grew to know and love Will? Fine, we accidentally saw it once on a plane. But that doesn't mean we don't have the lowdown on NH's finest undercover gems, from hidden fried chicken to crazy-cheap movies to cute (and knowledgeable) bartenders..
Where I go for pretty much anything you can imagine:
Music & Goods Exchange
These lads have three shops right next to eachother -- slinging secondhand vinyl, clothes, and homewares, respectively. You're essentially walking into a car boot sale, which sounds terrible, until you remember that car boot sales have stacks of 10p vinyl, '50s-era shot glasses, and mercifully non-hipster clothing, all of it can be haggled upon, and it's in central London
Truly old school cocktails & a chat:
31 Kensington Park Rd; 020 7792 3921
This place takes its mixeds seriously. Like, really, really seriously. The barkeeps all dress in yellow braces and each has a specialised subject. Talk to Ales, and he'll furnish you with a drink from his own personal 100yr-old absinthe fountain; talk to Jack, and he'll explain how Richard Nixon's favourite drink was a Mai Tai while making you one; talk to Debbie, because she's cute, and is trying to get you drunk
For a kinda weird snack:
15 Blenheim Crescent; 0207 127 4621
This is a popcorn shop. Strangely, that's not a thing yet, and this is the only one in Europe. I'd say to "ask for Matt" (the owner), but the place is extraordinarily small, and you'll probably be asking Matt himself if he's in. You can get a box of Bloody Mary, Peanut Butter & Jelly (please don't ruefully ask for jam) and Spiced Popadom -- which they made specially for Thrillist
Live, free music that's not on the tube?!:
96 Ladbroke Grove; 020 7229 5663
True story -- this place used to be the worst hive of scum and villainy in Notting Hill, until it was bought out, cleaned up, and turned into the temple of beer & music it is today, while the scallies simply moved into the pub across the street. They have a live (fun!) band on almost every night, and it's free, which is stupidly rare in London, and apparently they have a landlord you don't mess with
Delicious, and slightly strange, local food:
The Moral Fox
103 Talbot Rd
This is literally an odd bird -- a fried chicken place that only takes bookings. There's no sign, it's above a slightly suspect-looking Caribbean resto, and there are only two things on the menu: fried chicken, and spicy fried chicken. It's all free-range, and they'll give you a brandy milk punch to wash it down, and treat you like a damn king
Get a caffeine fix, question your life choices:
180 Portobello Rd
Okay, so, it's 7am, you're tired, and you're after a quick coffee to start the day. What better place than the one that's playing techno music and has life-transcending newspaper clippings, paintings, posters, and quotes plastered all over the walls/tables? The staff will openly refuse to serve anyone on a mobile, and the queue will guaranteeably have at least one filthy hippie next to a dude in a business suit chatting on his mobile who is about to be refused service. The fact that there's an empty Nero, Costa, and a Starbucks within sight makes the coffee taste all the sweeter.
Movies, but with '90s prices and 1890s seats:
103 Notting Hill Gate; 20 7727 6705
This place is an old theatre built 115yrs ago (the bloody king used to come here), and it's all pretty much the same, with an elegant sweet stand, plus awesome velvetey seats and such, but the main draw is the fact that the most they ever charge is 7.50 -- and on Tuesdays it's less than half that -- all showings, all day, playing all new releases.