La Sera – Seafood and Parties

Isn’t it funny how you can live in a place for 10 years or so, and still there are locations you haven’t explored properly.

La Sera has always been one of those places for me. Tucked in between the Coach & Horses and the 24/7 Turkish supermarket, two of my favourite haunts in Stoke Newington, this seafood restaurant has gone unnoticed in the eight or so years of its existence - at least to me. I occasionally hear that the food is quite good actually, and Luca, the manager, is certainly one of the friendliest people in the Coach a lot of nights, but I’ve never made it inside.

But recently things have started changing, and now La Sera has the potential to become one of the more interesting locations in Stokey. You might have seen tables appearing outside, and every once in a while a large crowd of people seems to appear from out of nowhere. So I just had to ask… and Luca was more than happy to show me around.

The club below La Sera

The owners (who also run the Bricklayers Arms down in Shoreditch) have recently made some changes… opened the place up so that the downstairs bar is accessible from the restaurant, added a few nice touches like a big sofa in the front… and very soon now, with its new late license, you will find that there are some rather interesting club nights going on down in the bar. Well, actually, there have been a couple already… the Urban Voodoo Machine had a NYE party down there, and last Saturday Julien from Loser Superhero kicked things off with a Latin Rock party. Read More »

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Stokey Smoked Salmon

Just when you thought we had it all… along comes a man from Norway and starts offering salmon smoked in our own backyard.

Hansen Lydersen Smoked Salmon in Stoke Newington

Ole  Hansen-Lydersen has recently set up his smokehouse in Shelford Place here in Stoke Newington, carrying on a family tradition that has now lasted four generations in his native Norway. He and his wife Flora have a plan to provide London with affordable, fresh and perfectly smoked salmon, and they are off to a good start. Their salmon is delivered straight from Loch Duart in Scotland (though Norwegian salmon will be on offer in the future as well). It’s from a sustainable source, never touches plastic, never gets frozen, and (I had a chance to try some straight from the kiln) it really is divine. Read More »

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Tin-Tone’s Magical Guitars

All photos by Ben Hopper (http://THEREALBenHopper.com)

I’ve always loved guitars. Even though I can’t play to save my life I just can’t help but stop in front of music shops or any other collection of those beautiful shiny instruments. Imagine my surprise then to find a collection of the strangest and prettiest little guitars I have ever seen in a random window on our very own Church Street.

A selections of custom guitars at Jon Free's Tin Tone

A selections of custom guitars at Jon Free's Tin-Tone (photo by Ben Hopper)

Here lives and works Jonathan Free of Tin-Tone, who has been a musician with bands like Gin Palace, Penthouse, Country Teasers and The Cesarians for over 23 years, a live sound engineer for 10, and who has been building and repairing guitars for a very long time. The window in question is where you find his workshop, and what I found there was a little guitar magic…

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Desperately seeking… Tony & Annette Paul

[Press Release] In early 1960 a brand new fountain was installed by Hackney Council on Stoke Newington Common.

The fountain was dedicated to Florence duVergier, the very first woman to be elected Mayor of Hackney, during the war in 1943. Originally a teacher, Florence duVergier was elected to be a Hackney Councillor in 1928 and mayor in 1943. Altogether she was a councillor for twenty-five years (1928 -53) and made a significant difference to the lives of Hackney people. She started the youth club on the Kingsmead Estate, and undertook substantial work in the fields of public health, housing and older people.

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See it roar: New beginnings at The Lion

You might have noticed the light. Over the last couple of days Church Street has been lit up like a Christmas tree… The Lion is back!

The Lion on Stoke Newington Church Street

Well, almost.

After well over six months of refurbishment, severe water damage that completely destroyed the new hardwood floors, and more refurbishment, The Lion is re-opening on Saturday, 12 June, in time for the first England match in the World Cup. I had a chance to look around and get the dirt on what’s going to happen.

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The Hackney Gentlemen’s Racing Club – From Church Street to Mongolia

Hackney Gentlemen's Racing ClubWhatever plans you have for summer, chances are they won’t be quite as wacky as those of the Hackney Gentlemen’s Racing Club, a group of local residents who are competing in this year’s Mongol Rally, an automotive endurance race to Mongolia.

In July, the four friends from Stoke Newington who make up the team will attempt to drive a third of the way around the world, from London to the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, in order to raise thousands of pounds for charity.

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Tallulah Rendall and the art of independently producing an album

Tallulah RendallLast year we interviewed Tallulah Rendall about her first album, Libellus, which turned out to be a bit of a beauty. Now she is back at work on her second offering, and to finance it she has found an ingenious way of mobilising her fans and support a charity on the side. We caught up with her to find out how it’s going.

I wrote the second album, which is sounding much rawer and more up tempo than the first, whilst we were on tour in Japan, and in June we will go into Hookend Studios to record. This is being funded through profits from the first album. However, there are lots of additional costs that we are raising money to cover, hence I got involved with Pledge Music. All kinds of things are up for grabs, from signed CDs and a chance to be in our video to private gigs and personalised songs.

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Calling all artists…

Basket House Village Universe, the newly established gallery in Leswin Place, have just announced their new summer show Open ’10, an extravaganza of art for everyone, and they are giving all you artists out there a chance to be part of it.

Whether you work in painting, printing, photography or sculpture, this is your opportunity to have your work displayed. Visitors will also vote on their favourite artwork and the winner will be awarded a one week solo show at BHVU in 2011.

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What do you love most about Stoke Newington?

Stokey means a lot of things to a lot of different people. Which areas, things, places or characters do you love about living here in Stoke Newington, and what do you dislike, hate, avoid or feel is ruining it?

Becky Ford, a local resident and freelance graphic designer, is working on a project to create an alternative map of Stoke Newington as part of her Graphics Design MA, one that captures the spirit of the place through people’s experience of the area, rather than traditional landmarks.

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The Drop Opening Night

Phew… so only a couple weeks after the Butchers closed its doors to be turned into yet another gastro pub we now have a new late night venue in Stoke Newington. And, fear not, my gentle friends, I’m glad to be able to tell you that it is nothing at all like that fiendish place used to be.

The Washington Rays at The Drop opening night

The Washington Rays

The Drop is located just below the Three Crowns, just turn left instead of right once you get inside. It’s a bit of a box of a room with seating along both sides, a stage on one end and a bar on the other. There you have it, easy enough… you won’t get lost in here.

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