Restauranteur's guide to London's original hipster quarter: Carnaby

Insider Guide by Wing Kew Leung, owner of Kua 'Aina, home of Carnaby Street's tastiest burger

This famed shopping area and hippie hangout was immortalised in The Kink’s song ‘Dedicated Follower of Fashion’. Today it remains home to an array of independent shops, restaurants and bars, and there’s always something new happening in Carnaby.

This guide is a selection of Wing’s favourite spots around Kua ‘Aina’s Carnaby location.

Shop: We Built This City

56b Carnaby St, Carnaby, London W1F 9QF, UK

Image: We Built This City

Quirky souvenirs and London-themed artworks at this fun shop on Carnaby Street

We Built This City is a souvenir shop with a twist. Showcasing the work of over 250 London creatives and artists, this quirky little shops stocks everything from postcards to pot-holders - all with a London theme.

Food: Kua 'Aina

26 Foubert's Pl, Carnaby, London W1F 7PP, UK

food & drink
Image: Kua 'Aina

Hawaiian burger topped with cheese and grilled pineapple

The Carnaby Street outlet of the Hawaiaan burger chain pronounced Koo-a eye-na offers diner food with an island twist. Open all day with great brunch options and as a strong burger game, this place is a great guilty pleasure.

What to order: Barack Obama, who always visits Kua ‘Aina when he is back home in Hawaii, is a devoted fan of the avocado burger.

Coffee: Department of Coffee and Social Affairs

3 Lowndes Ct, Carnaby, London W1F 7HD, UK

food & drink
Image: Unsplash

Flat white, piccolo or black? Department of Coffee of Social Affairs delivers

The service here is brilliant, as is the vibe and coffee. Simply one of the best spots in Soho for a good cup.

Crumbs and Dollies

1 Kingly Court, Carnaby St, Carnaby, London W1B 5PW, UK

food & drink
Image: Crumbs and Dollies

Freshly baked cupcakes every day at 1 Kingly Court in Soho

If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss Crumbs and Dollies - as much a feast for the eyes as for the tastebuds. Flavours include Honey & Rosemary, Mojito and Buttered Popcorn.

Ain't Nothing But Blues Bar

20 Kingly St, Soho, London W1B 5PZ, UK

live music
Image: flickr/Paul Hudson

Let the music and dim lighting transport you to the deep south

Both local and American artists play this surprisingly cozy bar nightly. The bar is open till 1am, and Saturdays are devoted to acoustic acts, while jam sessions take place every Sunday and Monday.

Drinks: Disrepute

4 Kingly Court, Carnaby, London W1F 9RR, UK

Image: Unsplash

Enjoy delicious cocktails in the stylish setting of Disrepute

Though a member’s bar, non-member walk-ins are possible before 11pm if you speak to the doorman. The decor is luxe and Gatsby-esque and the cocktail list fittingly mysterious. Booking recommended.