Say hello to LoHo: Islington’s coolest new hotspot

Loho Holloway shop

The bottom of Holloway Road, just past Highbury Corner, leading up to the Nags Head junction, was once known as Lower Holloway. The term, however, fell out of use over the past two decades. There is now a growing campaign to bring the name back.

Leading the charge of rebranding the area is the ingeniously named LoHo team. They describe it as “a fun hashtag for the cool area of Lower Holloway, with its friendly cafes, interesting shops and funky fashion boutiques”.

Every nook and cranny of north London is getting its own Twitter page and dedicated following (Canonbury Fodder anyone?). Lower Holloway, or #LoHo as it’s now affectionately known, is the latest area to get this special treatment.

But the real LoHo is not online, but on the streets. Everything here is about renewal. An upcoming florist gets a lick of paint, while even the traditional fruit and veg shops have had a revamp. Moonlight Supermarket switched up their old décor for a midnight blue sign, helping to set the new tone of the street.

Restocking the rainbow of fruit stacks out front, supermarket worker Mizrap says:

I didn’t realise people were calling it LoHo, but I have noticed a change in the area. If people are happier and coming to us – not chain stores – it’s always a good thing.

Lower Holloway Organic Natural Shop

It might sound like it’s just in the name, but the comparisons to Soho are impossible to ignore. There’s Big Red, which takes the very self-aware step of declaring itself a ‘dive bar’ with a mock seedy atmosphere.

Then of course there are the more risqué stores – Zeitgeist and lingerie hotspot Atsuko Kudo.

Holloway had a brief period of resurgence during the early 2000s indie scene, where it used to be the stomping ground of Pete Doherty and a band named – unsurprisingly enough – The Holloways.

Since then, it has increasingly become a hotbed for talent.

In 2010, Hollywood actor and Holloway resident Carey Mulligan was evicted from her flat for throwing too many noisy parties.

Far from becoming the new Dalston, LoHo still clings to its far-reaching diversity. A Ladbrokes, the Holloway Mosque and Festac nightclub all sit comfortably alongside each other.

Then there’s the eclectic shop names. A kitsch café called The Hope Rooms, the infamous Ooh-La-La! antique store, a discount shop optimistically named Paradise, and the ‘Vivienne Holloway’ for vintage dresses, all feature in the area. There’s even a Snow White dry cleaners.

LoHo feature - photo 1

Dog walker Matthew Meylan sent in a photo of a woman pushing a pram filled with dogs, believing it sums up the new attitude of the area. He remarks: “It’s just another amazing day on Holloway Road. The woman was amazingly patient with the dogs and I just had to take a photo.”

Eleanor White, a resident and enthusiast of the up-and-coming area says:

I think it’s fantastic that some life is finally being breathed into Holloway. I used to have to go to Essex Road for a health shop and now there’s one right on my doorstep.

piebury corner shop

Forget East End pie and mash, LoHo is now home to the UK’s only committed pie deli, ironically named Piebury Corner. Paul and Nicky Campbell started selling grub from their front garden to hungry Arsenal fans, but turned the hobby into a business with a new shop at the bottom of Holloway Road, helped by manager Julie McKenna.

The LoHo campaign is about more than just new businesses opening, London bandwagons and organic trends.

It’s all to do with supporting and being passionate about where you’re from, and a community coming together to revive itself. If this means we get the new Soho on our doorstep then that can’t be such a bad thing.

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