We don’t know when a return to normality for the economy will appear, but like the rest of you, there’s one key indicator we’re in the habit of checking: the high street.
Green shoots and all that, there’s a good deal of movement to report in the last few weeks… not least the re-opening of the pubs and cinemas. The replacement for Monkey Nuts appeared, Allora Hall, offering gin and casual space for your laptop, whereas the people behind Chicken Shop are trying something new at 46 The Broadway: Soho Studio, a members’ space for more hot desks and cold gin (we think). Meanwhile, it’s a sad farewell to Irvin’s restaurant, but welcome to Kalimera; and a few takeaways too: vegan Ready Burger, Roast and Greens, an Algerian rotisserie, Wenzel’s the Bakers, Snog Frozen Yogurt at 62 Crouch End Hill, and Yoobi Brazilian Sushi at 86 Park Road (online only we’re told).
Image: Allora Hall
Rumours of other co-work spaces abound, and we can’t help but notice a distinct Covid signature: the marked expansion of takeaways and suburban casual workspaces. At least, you may say, Crouch End is evolving and seeking new opportunities. We wish the entrepreneurs well. Incidentally, the ex-Santander is let, which should improve the appearance of The Broadway.
You may say we have too many cafes and takeaways. You’d be right, we also have too many coffee shops and charity shops, or perhaps it’s just the right number. The trouble is, we think convenience shopping has reached its limits and comparison shopping is unlikely to make a comeback anytime soon (treasure what we have). Banks are going (Nationwide, Santander) with surely more to follow. Even nail bars are losing their lustre, so what else? Much flexibility and diversity is required, and we really need to do something about the traffic.
Lastly, the Town Hall developers are installing a new marketing suite into 26 Broadway (the ex-Pera, ex-Middeys unit, recently acquired by HTH), which may also brighten things up. Be awhile before the hoardings come down I’m afraid – but if you get the opportunity, check out the repatinated and cleaned up bronzework on the Town Hall.