Marylebone’s gorgeous Georgian streets, filled with design-led boutiques and plush restaurants, provide a welcome sanctuary from the overwhelming bustle of Oxford Street and the constant traffic jam that is Marylebone Road. Even the area’s charming station has become London’s most calm railway terminal.
Marylebone may be renowned for it’s connection to the world’s best loved detective and the queues out-front of Madame Tussauds but dig a little deeper and you’ll find a much more rewarding stretch of laneways and shop fronts, from the famous Chiltern Street, packed with A-listers, to Marylebone High Street’s Edwardian Daunt Books and a slew of great bars, this is one of London’s most underrated postcodes.
Breakfast & Brunch
Mornings in Marylebone are all about the light and modern cafes. Pop into The Monocle Café on Chiltern Street for a global insight to breakfasting, from Scandi-dishes to Japanese style morning meals. Be sure to grab a sweet treat from their cake and bakery section as well, the cinnamon buns are better than a hug on a moody London morning. The Natural Kitchen on Marylebone High Street is another DrinkUp favourite, and one that’ll start your day off with a hit of health. Think quality ingredients, fresh produce and delicious juices and smoothies.
While The Providores and Tapa Room will feature across our guide under several categories, it is perhaps best appreciated as Marylebone’s best spot for a long brunch with pals. Book the upstairs Providores for weekend brunches or swing by on weekdays for the Tapa Room’s excellent breakfasts of Turkish eggs, French toast, organic oat porridge, granola, smashed avocado and the mouth-watering fry-ups.
For something more quaint and traditional come the weekend, we’d be remiss for not recommending Hardy’s, a family-run brassiere and wine bar. Opening at 9.30am for brunch on Saturday and Sunday you’ll be lavished with traditional Parisian décor and white linen tables and a menu of classic egg dishes, bacon sandwiches, Swedish waffles and Scottish smoked salmon.
On the run? Swing by the Nordic Bakery for a coffee and pastry on the go.
Long wine-laced lunches in glamourise Georgian streets may be a thing of the past elsewhere, but in Marylebone they’re still very much an everyday staple. We adore time well-spent at The Providores and Tapa Room (so long as we haven’t already had breakfast there). Book upstairs for a menu of flavourful salads, fresh and imaginative mains and some irresistible desserts, paired with a wine list that boasts Europe’s largest selection of premium New Zealand wines. Downstairs at the less formal Tapa Room dig into sharing platters, cheeses, cured meats and small but delicious plates.
Beast on Chapel Place is a favourite for lunch, located in a cavernous informal dinning hall and specialising in steak and crustaceans. Dine on crab claw, lobster and beef while selecting from their excellently curated wine list. For something lighter, head to the bright and stylish 28°-50° Wine Workshop and Kitchen on Marylebone Lane to enjoy a daily-changing menu of modern European food, seafood and charcuterie, served alongside the restaurant’s traditional and eclectic wines available by the glass, carafe and bottle.
During the summer Orrery’s terrace is the best place to lap up the rays whilst enjoying the exceptional food. Even during the darker months this serene and elegant restaurant serves some of the areas most delightful dishes and is open for lunch from midday until 2.30pm.
Shopping & Culture
One of Marylebone’s best known secrets it the stunning Daunt Books, with a beautiful three-level back room complete with oak balconies, viridian-green walls, conservatory ceiling and stained-glass window – home to row upon row of guide books, maps, language reference, history, politics, travelogue and related fiction organised by country.
The Wallace Collection is also one of the area’s main cultural destinations. The house, built in 1776, contains an exceptional collection of eighteenth-century French furniture, paintings and objets d'art, as well as an amazing array of medieval armour and weaponry.
With the addition of Bar Termini Centrale on Duke Street, specialising in their tasty Negronis and Bellinis, cocktail hour kicks off in Marylebone with style. The area’s main attraction for tipples is the historically impressive and beautiful Chiltern Firehouse. Dinner here books up months in advance but the bar usually has a spot and the bartenders here craft some of London’s best drinks.
Sitting on the north-end of Marylebone you’ll find Dry Martini, the London outpost of Barcelona’s best-loved cocktail bar. Here it’s evolved into a dimly lit, glamorous, old-fashioned space within the Melia White House Hotel. And of course the Martinis are exceptional. And for something slightly more exotic Pachamama on Thayer Street boasts a list specialising in pisco and mezcal mixed drinks.
Venturing back towards Oxford Street Jason Atherton’s Social Wine & Tapas is one of DrinkUp’s favourite spots to graze on impeccable dishes, accompanied by weird and wonderful wine. Plates include raw Orkney sea scallops with grapes, cobnut and verjus or roast mallard breast served with liver toastie, kumquat and Jerusalem artichokes.
Enjoy proper Italian trattoria at Briciole with rustic Italian cuisine at its most honest and inviting. Try the wildly popular Lebanese canteen Comptoir Libanais for its mesmerizingly good hot dishes of cinnamon-spiked pumpkin kibbeh and pomegranate chicken.
Looking to splash the cash? If you can get a reservation at Chiltern Firehouse it’s well worth it with exceptional cuisine in a majestic setting. Equally pricey but decidedly worth it is Dinings, conceived by Nobu alumni Masaki Sugisaki and Keiji Fuku, it displays plenty of Latin flair along with other innovative flourishes. Finally, Galvin Bistrot de Luxe is a traditional and luxurious dinner choice with dark wood panelling and a focus on beautifully-cooked meats of duck, port, pheasant and venison.
Marylebone spoils you for choice when it comes to wine, with excellent outposts of both Iberica and Vinoteca. The first is a great Spanish Tapas chain that stocks the country’s most fantastic reds and whites. Vinoteca puts the entire spotlight on the wine in its W1 venue, with walls groaning under the weight of the wine shelves. Far from pretentious with some unusual finds, tasty food and best yet you can grab a bottle to take away as well. Drop by 28°-50° Wine Workshop and Kitchen for tipples in the evening, and the sleek and stylish Clarette, a new French wine bar on Blandford Street for a dose of Beaujolais.
Keen to keep the party going? We’re heading to Burlock where the tunes keep going until 3am come the weekend. This 1920s Cuban-themed rum bar stocks up to 200 rums and certainly celebrates it most nights.