London: Clerkenwell & Environs
SEE Geffrye Museum 136 Kingsland Rd., 20/7739-9893, geffrye-museum.org.uk
One of London's hidden gems, the Geffrye was set up just before WWI as a museum of interior design to train craftsmen working in London's furniture industry nearby. Now it's a greatest hits of decorating, showcasing period rooms from the 1600s to the present day--there's even a minimalist '90s loft. Tues.--Sat., 10 a.m.--5 p.m.; Sun., noon--5 p.m. Free.
The unofficial headquarters of the artsy Cool Britannia movement, thanks to the White Cube gallery and a raft of artists such as Rachel Whiteread snapping up studio space. Spend an afternoon browsing the dozens of independent galleries along Charlotte Road, then grab a drink at one of the restaurants that rim the square.
SEE St. John's Gate St. John's Ln. at Clerkenwell Rd., 20/7324-4073, sja.org.uk
Medieval priory once home to the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, better known as the Knights Hospitallers, who defended the Holy Land. All that's left is this stone gate at the southern edge, which houses an intriguing museum of Middle Ages ephemera describing the history of the voluntary first-aid organization the St. John Ambulance. Mon.--Fri., 10 a.m.--5 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.--4 p.m. Free.
EAT St. John Restaurant 26 St. John St., 20/7251-0848, stjohnrestaurant.com
A pioneer in reviving the derelict neighborhood of Smithfield, St. John's whitewashed walls and rugged wooden fixtures are a nod to its past as a smokehouse. Nowadays, expect to eat a hearty selection of all-English cuisine: plenty of offal (spleen, brains, and liver are staples), plus long-neglected desserts like Eccles currant-filled puffed pastries. Closed Sun.
EAT Smiths of Smithfield 66-77 Charterhouse St., 20/7251-7950, smithsofsmithfield.co.uk
Warehouse-style, four-floor eating megaplex serving traditional British grub: snacks and beer on the first floor, champagne and cocktails on the second. There's a brasserie on the third floor, and a swanky, pricey restaurant at the top. Brasserie and champagne bar closed Sun.
DRINK Cargo 83 Rivington St., 20/7739-3440, cargo-london.com
Hip Shoreditch hybrid bar/club/restaurant: late-night live acts are reliable and eclectic, while both food and drink are Latin-inflected street snacks like tangy quesadillas and freshly made caipirinhas.
DRINK Loungelover 1 Whitby St., 20/7012-1234, loungelover.co.uk
Campy, over-the-top lounge, decked out like the love child of a pawn shop and a brothel, with red velvet drapes, mismatched stools, and huge chandeliers. Allow time to browse the 16-page cocktail list; if in doubt, try the Mrs. Robinson (Cognac and Drambuie). Closed Sun.
DRINK Match EC1 45-47 Clerkenwell Rd., 20/7250-4002, matchbar.com
Sleek steel bi-level cocktail bar that's buzziest in the early evening with the after-work crowd. Order a Dark and Stormy or a classic martini--cocktail king Dale de Groff was behind the drink list. Closed Sun. SHOP Family Tree 53 Exmouth Mkt., 20/7278-1084, familytreeshop.co.uk Artsy and eclectic boutique: The owners and their friends make much of the wares, which includes sleek jewelry, hand-screened T-shirts, and handmade purses. Closed Sun.
SHOP Microzine 66-67 Colebrooke Row, Islington, 20/7704-6667, microzine.co.uk
Take a short Tube ride north into Islington to find what's likely the hottest store in London: the men's megastore known as Microzine. It's a hybrid boutique and magazine: Its stock changes every month like a new issue, and everything is for sale, even the fixtures. Open Mon.--Fri., 11 a.m.--6 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.--7 p.m.; Sun., noon--6 p.m.
SHOP SCP 135-139 Curtain Rd., 20/7739-1869, scp.co.uk
A contemporary furniture showroom that commissions big names such as Michael Sodeau but also stocks products by local artisans working in the Hoxton studios. Stop by to browse for big items, or pick up more-affordable goodies like lighting, books, and accessories.
SHOP Spitalfields Market 103-117 Commercial St., at Lamb & Brushfield Sts. 20/7247-8556
This historic, wrought-iron market building is bustling again after falling into disrepair in the 1980s. These days, the stalls are individually owned and heavy on crafts--dyed sheepskin rugs, handmade clothes, and lashings of aromatherapy-inflected home products. General market Mon.--Fri. and Sun., 10 a.m.--5 p.m.; fashion and art markets Fri., 10 a.m.--4 p.m.
PLAY Fabric 77a Charterhouse St., 20/7336-8898, fabriclondon.com
Onetime meat cellar turned superclub, a mecca for dance music snobs: Its three separate spaces are inventively programmed. Nostalgic types should head for the warehouse-like space that resembles a late-1980s rave. Fri. and Sat. only.