Clerkenwell local Julian Linley has long since fallen for the area’s welcoming charms. He might even have found his Cheers – that sacred sanctuary where everyone knows your name.
Hello Julian, how long have you lived in Clerkwenwell?
This is my seventh year – I moved here from Bloomsbury, and to begin with it felt as if I’d moved to the suburbs, which I loved after a decade of living next to noisy student accommodation and budget hotels. Clerkenwell is so peaceful in comparison.
What first drew you to its fine shores?
My first proper boyfriend lived here (still does – we’re now great friends) and the neighbourhood instantly felt like home. I suppose for that reason, it’s always felt like a happy place to be. Plus, it’s the perfect balance of urban and residential, yet a 15-minute bike ride from everywhere important: Soho, Shoreditch, Kings Cross, Ottelenghi’s on Upper Street.
Where’s your favourite local spot?
It’s less of a spot, and more of a stroll that takes in several favourite bits of Clerkenwell, through the New River Head Estate in the North of Clerkenwell: Exmouth Market, Wilmington Square, Lloyd Square (where my Lottery win house would be), Cumberland Gardens, Great Percy Street, Amwell Street… I just love being nosy and looking in people’s windows… by which I obviously mean looking
at the architecture.
We’re on a night out, where are we eating?
My happy place is sitting at the bar in Moro – I’m trying to turn it into my Norm from Cheers place. No other food can make me say ‘Oh. My. God’ out loud every time I visit, which is every single week. And the staff are proper experts – you can tell they really care about what they do. Also, a big shout out for the Sunday lunches at The Wilmington Arms – everyone I take there agrees it’s the best roast in London.
Where would we go for post-dinner drinks?
I’m really hoping that in a few months’ time, it’ll be whatever is replacing Filthy McNasty’s, which is in the process of being revamped for the trillionth time – I’m desperate for a proper local. Ideally with a jukebox and dancing. Until then, it’s probably the bar at Bourne and Hollingsworth, The Easton or – a new discovery – the Sekforde Arms
What’s Clerkenwell’s best kept secret?
That an IS-A residents’ parking permit stretches all the way form Pentonville Road down to Clerkenwell Green. A life-changing discovery I made last year, which means I can now park opposite Waitrose on St John Street. Should I have said something about a secret crypt underneath Sadler’s Wells Theatre here?
No that’s fine. How does Clerkenwell differ in the summer?
It’s an outdoorsy place all year round, with people opting to stand outside of bars, restaurants and coffee shops regardless of the weather, because it’s easier to see and be seen that way. In the summer, it’s that but on steroids – I love walking down Exmouth Market on a summer’s evening, it’s buzzing with this really warm energy and happiness
Who’s the most famous person you’ve seen in Clerkenwell?
I saw Grayson Perry as Claire walking down Exmouth Market a few years ago – I have the biggest mind-crush on him. I also see Jon Snow (the news reader, not the Game of Thrones character) with such alarming frequency that I’m worried he might be stalking me.