Seven Dials is located just two minutes from Covent Garden station tube, yet the area feels like it's in a world of its own...
The area's local owners are shooting for spit shine originality, including ventures from many Londoner entrepreneurs who have turned acute knacks into cash.
Clothing stores often feature styles from local designers, some working on-site to create their products by hand, while chain stores feature trendy upper-middle market fashions, including Urban Outfitters, Foot Locker and Birkenstock.
However, it's the stores with stories that show: fashion designer Pauline Burrows own designs in-house designs, custom graffiti from globally renowned urban artists between and within the buildings, and homemade ingredients inside each blueberry cheesecake muffin at C'est ici are just a few examples.
Independent and small-time companies have boastable specialties, catering to the unisex t-shirt, the globally conscious organic greens, or money toting surfer kids. Indie record shop Rough Trade celebrates its 30th year in business this year. The Walk-In Back Rub offers a quick stress relieving service for those too on the go or too hard on cash to spend it on a full message.
For a drink or a bar bite stop by the Crown Public House for more traditional brew or Box Bar, voted London's most popular gay bar two years in a row. The candle-lit tunnels and rooms of traditional Moroccan restaurant Souk Medina can make for a wondrous evening meal.
It is rarely an effective business plan to target to college students, but certainly Seven Dials is finely tuned itself to appeal to a young post-degree crowd of Londoners who have had a bit of success and a heaping disposable income.
The Seven Dials website, www.sevendials.co.uk, is updated regularly, featuring a sign-in option that provides special information concerning updates and offerings.
- Seth Graves
Photo by Flickr user Kradlum, used under a Creative Commons license.