Where to Shop, Eat, Drink and More During the Olympics from FashionEtc's London Editor!

Photo: Getty Images

The 2012 Olympics Rings

Whether you're off to support Team USA (never mind those made-in-China outfits) at the Summer Games or just want to get a glimpse of Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell at the Closing Ceremony, a trip to London isn't complete without a little tourist action. But because we know you deserve more than a fanny pack (er, bum bag), Oxford Circus' claustrophobic crowds, and a table for two at Planet Hollywood, FashionEtc's very own London-based correspondent has assembled a curated cheat sheet of the locally loved places to eat, drink, shop, and more. Just be sure to pack your umbrella .... alas, British weather is one thing we can't help you with.


Photo courtesy of V&A 
Nicholas Kirkwood & Simon Perition "Dissecting Waltz" for V&A "Britain Creates 2012"

Want to go beyond Big Ben and Parliament? Squeeze in a trip to the Tate Modern's Damien Hirst exhibit (Bankside), where you can take in the British artist's most celebrated/reviled works. Further west, the Victoria & Albert Museum (Cromwell Rd., South Kensington) is showcasing frocks from the likes of Alexander McQueen and Erdem as part of its "Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950" show. The museum is also hosting "Britain Creates 2012: Fashion & Art Collusion," in which designers like Mary Katrantzou, Giles Deacon, and Nicholas Kirkwood have partnered with leading visual artists on works ranging from video to sculpture.


Far be it from us to steer you away from high-street favorites like Topshop, River Island, and Office. But for a more comprehensive taste of London fashion, allow us to point you toward these "top shops." For vintage: East London's Brick Lane and Commercial Street, home to oldie-but-goodies at Beyond Retro, Blitz, Rokit, and Absolute Vintage, plus the stalls at Spitalfields Market.

Photo courtesy of Selfridges
3.1 Phillip Lim pop-up shop at Selfridges


For all-you-can-shop designer wares: Selfridges (400 Oxford St., Mayfair) whose Karl Lagerfeld in-store boutique and epic shoe department help you see why it's regularly ranked as the world's best department store. For envelope-pushing fashion: Dover Street Market (17-18 Dover St., Mayfair), packed with innovative installations and designer exclusives from the likes of Comme des Garçons. For indie labels and killer accessories: Wolf & Badger (32 Dover St., Mayfair), where you're guaranteed to discover something completely unique. Last but not least, don't forget to pencil in a stop at Opening Ceremony's new London pop-up boutique at 31-32 King St.  


For a taste of Britain's national dish (that'd be curry, not fish and chips), bypass Brick Lane and head a few streets over to Tayyab's (83-89 Fieldgate St., Whitechapel), a Punjabi restaurant that's earned cult status among Londoners. It's BYOB, and there's a queue most nights of the week (reservations can be made online), but the spicy lamb chops and tinda masala are more than worth the wait and a quick trip to the off-license.

Photo courtesy of Tramshed 

Open daily throughout the Olympics, Borough Market (8 Southwark St., by London Bridge) is a must for fresh produce, grab-and-go snacks like falafel wraps and veggie burgers, and free samples of gourmet cheese and chutney. For a big night out, save your sterling for dinner at 34 (34 Grosvenor Sq., Mayfair; reservations strongly recommended), a see-and-be-seen spot that's been visited by the likes of Keira Knightley and Guy Ritchie. If you're the indecisive type, however, seek out Mark Hix's Tramshed (32 Rivington St., Shoreditch), which has narrowed down its menu to simply chicken and steak, as evidenced by the cow/cockerel Damien Hirst artwork inside.


Given the workout lifting a pint glass will give you, it's a wonder drinking didn't make the cut as an Olympic sport. This is a city that loves its ale, and though you'll be glad to know that drinking outside is allowed here, you'll want to raise a glass at these drinking holes too.

Photo courtesy of Jacqueline Tarlier
 Art at Commercial Tavern


Commercial Tavern (142-144 Commercial St., Shoreditch) is perfect for plying your favorite jock with wine while taking in the whimsical surroundings (fact: we'd move in if we could). A few doors over you'll find the Ten Bells (84 Commercial St., Spitalfields), which is known as the "Jack the Ripper pub" because two of his victims reportedly liked to drink there. Bar-goers can indulge in old-school cocktails and live music at the speakeasy-style Nightjar (129 Old City Rd., Shoreditch), or head to The Box (12 Walker's Ct., Soho) for up-all-night antics and jaw-dropping performances—the squeamish and conservative need not apply.

Don't forget to send us a postcard!