Travel

Six places to check out in trendy London, Ontario

Underneath its conservative veneer pulses a surprisingly vibrant city with a burgeoning indie-music scene and an explosion of foodie delights.

London's Thames River

London’s Thames River

Once known foremost as a college town (and, perhaps not coincidentally, home of the Labatt brewery), London is fast becoming Southern Ontario’s hippest spot to hang out. From the late-night music lovers to early-morning market-going brunchers, there’s something for everyone.

1. Delish kitsch

Walking into the Bag Lady Variety is like being transported into Doris Day’s kitchen. Pop by for brekkie, a brown-bag lunch or homemade baked goods to go. The Mojo is a must-try: crunchy peanut butter, honey and banana sandwiched between two pieces of cinnamon French toast. Yum! 474 Pall Mall St.

2. Savvy shop

Lolita draws in the fashion forward crowd with its hot trends and fab trinkets. Find the perfect Pink Martini dress or Simon Chang handbag or a pretty necklace by B.C.-based jewellery designer Harriet Grey. 533 Richmond St.

The Early Bird

The Early Bird

3. Retro dining

The Early Bird is a throwback to ’50s-style diners, with an eccentric twist to its decor (think Elvis busts painted as members of Kiss) and elevated comfort food. Stop by for lunch and try the Popper, a spicy take on grilled cheese, or the mouth-watering Braised Duck Sliders. 355 Talbot St.

4. Artist attraction

On a mission to promote local artists, the Arts Project provides performance, exhibition and studio space, art classes including informal drop-in drawing sessions and mentorship for budding artists. Not that creatively inclined? Then just come to enjoy a cool exhibit or stick around for a lively theatre show. 203 Dundas St.

Milos' Craft Beer Emporium Photo by Laura Janecka

Milos’ Craft Beer Emporium
Photo by Laura Janecka

5. Local brew

Keeping it close to home, Milos’ Craft Beer Emporium features a wide selection of regional beers and locally sourced food. We recommend the Warm “Eventurel” Brie with rhubarb compote appetizer, paired with Neustadt’s Sour Kraut beer. 420 Talbot St.

6. Happy hour

Call the Office is one of the longest-standing bars in the city, hosting live performances and weekly retro club nights. Catch a local band or enjoy popular Canadian artists in the intimate space — past acts include Yukon Blonde, Buck 65 and Elliot Brood. 216 York St.

FILED UNDER: