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“County Kilburn”, though very multi-cultural nowadays, is known as the capital’s little Ireland – where you can step off the streets of north-west London and into a bar with all the sounds, tastes and banter of deepest Eire.
Time was when you couldn’t find a pub round here without tricolours flying, folk music fiddling away, superior Guinness and back in the 80s, a tin passed around “for the cause”. But the march of progress caught up with Kilburn a few years ago and now many of these atmospheric old haunts have either been face-lifted into generic gastro-pubs (although some, like The North London Tavern, are great) or transformed into Australian sports bars and the like.
Look hard enough and you can still get the full experience in the likes of the ‘gentleman’s bar’ of the Kilburn Pub & Kitchen (307 Kilburn High Road, 020 7372 8668) and the rough-and-ready Sir Colin Campbell (266 Kilburn High Road), though cultural tourists should note that these are very far removed from the ‘Plastic Paddy’ culture of O’Neill’s et al – Irish pubs in Kilburn are the real deal, so don’t expect a warm welcome if you turn up wearing cricket whites and speaking with a cut-glass British accent.
The Tricycle Theatre (Kilburn High Road, 020 7328 1000, www.tricycle.co.uk) is an important political fringe theatre, cinema and gallery - hard-hitting recent productions have highlighted injustices in the likes of Guantanamo Bay, the Stephen Lawrence murder and Bloody Sunday to widespread critical acclaim, and there’s a good cinema attached.
An interesting landmark in Kilburn High Road is the Grade II listed Art Deco Gaumont State Cinema, designed by George Coles and opened in 1937.
The Tricycle Theatre is a well respected arts centre, including a gallery, cinema and theatre and can be found in the High Road Kilburn.
Though still somewhat unappealing to look at, Kilburn seems to get more culturally diverse and energetic by the day: The Luminaire (311 Kilburn High Road, 020 7372 7123, www.theluminaire.co.uk) perhaps best sums up the new Kilburn, a fashionably divey bar with nightly live music from up-and-coming global acts voted Live Venue of the Year by Time Out and Music Week recently.
Kilburn tube station is on the Jubilee Underground Line, Kilburn Park and Queen’s Park are served by the Bakerloo Line, and Brondesbury/Kilburn High Road stations are served by the overground rail network.
|West Hampstead Station||2||Jubilee||0.75 miles|
|Hampstead Station||2||Northern||1.09 miles|
|Finchley Road Station||2||Metropolitan - Jubilee||1.12 miles|
|Swiss Cottage Station||2||Jubilee||1.64 miles|
|Belsize Park Station||2||Northern||2.00 miles|
|West Hampstead Thameslink Station||0.51 miles|
|West Hampstead Station||0.69 miles|
|Finchley Road and Frognal Station||0.75 miles|
|Brondesbury Station||1.11 miles|
|Cricklewood Station||1.49 miles|