The Great British Brand Swap

Written by: Violet Myers

When was the last time KFC bought you a beer, Amazon helped you move or Google gave you a reach around? We’re guessing that, unless you’re George Osborne, never.

It’s been proved time and time again that big goliath brands are not really our friends, so why remain so loyal to them? Way back in 2012 it was revealed that Google, Starbucks and Amazon weren’t paying their fair share of tax in the UK. The good people of the UK were understandably outraged and yet their profits continue to rise, while the communities they exploit suffer.

We think that needless big brand loyalty is a bit sucky. Instead we want to encourage you smart cookies to support the reams of incredible, tax paying, local businesses we’re lucky enough to have here in North London. From your daily coffee to your weekly hangover cure, we show you how to dump big brands and get chummy with the locals…because, in the words of baggy trousered lady band All Saints: “I know where it’s at.”

The Krispy Kreme VS Glazed Doughnut from Bird

Those iconic glistening rings have ruined countless diets over the years, but maybe it’s time to let a new local lovely into your life and destroy those skinny jean dreams once and for all, with curves like this we say let them! Bird’s yeast risen bad boys are freshly hand prepared every day and change their glaze on the daily. Krispy who?

Bird, 81 Holloway Rd N7 8LT + 21-22 Chalk Farm Road NW1 8AG

The Starbuck’s Frappucino VS Iced Mocha from Coffee Circus

Starbucks has slowly transformed into a caffeinated McDonalds for adults. It’s fast, it’s easy, it almost entirely runs on the West’s addiction to processed sugar, which makes the famous iced Frappucino Starbuck’s equivilant to the Happy Meal. But the Frappucino isn’t the only ice queen that will be cooling us down this summer, Crouch End’s Coffee Circus is right on our doorstep and offers an iced mocha worth raising our blood sugar for. Add homemade vanilla syrup for an extra hit.

Coffee Circus, 136 Crouch Hill, N8 9DX

Subway VS Max’s ‘What Is Neil Gill’s Beef All About’

We’ve all been there: waiting in the Subway queue going over our order in our head, when we finally reach our turn and the bored looking, cap wearing sandwich ‘artist’ (this is literally what Subway calls their employees) looks at us expectantly. The pressure gets too much and we panic “olives!” we yell, “lots of olives! and… mayonnaise!” we don’t even like olives and we have a rare yet deadly allergy to mayo. Sometimes too much choice can be overwhelming, that’s why we’re sticking to local favourite Max’s for all of our sandwich needs. Try the braised beef with sauerkraut and creme fraiche, hold the mayo.

Max’s Sandwich Shop, 19 Crouch Hill, N4 4AP

Budweiser VS Gamma Ray from Beavertown

Binge drinking is as British as The Royal Family (BBC not OBE). Piling out of work with a couple of squashed sarnies, some overpriced strawberries and a six pack of beers to desperately squash into the 8 minutes of sunshine us Brits get over summer is not just a national tradition but a god given right! But instead of reaching for a Bud, why not support an awesome local business and kill your brain cells with Beavertown beer, which is brewed in our very own Tottenham Hale.

Beavertown Brewery, Tottenham Hale, N17 9QP

Pizza Hut VS the Al Capone from La Saporita

Pizza Hut for a nine year old is like frickin’ Vegas. There’s balloons, an unlimited ice cream factory, pots of spicy chilli corns you can double donkey dare your mates into snorting…heaven. As soon as you start paying to live in your own house the allure of this sticky tabled hell hole becomes a mystery. Yes the icecream is unlimited, but who’d want an endless supply of something that tastes like watered down cardboard? Save your bus money and walk leisurely to La Saporita, one of N4’s tastiest pizza places.

La Saporita, 174 Tollington Park, London N4 3AJ

Chipotle Burrito VS King Prawn Burrito from N4 Street Burrito

The American chain has snuck its way across the Atlantic and stuffed its monster wraps into our dainty British hands and we can’t get enough. Chipotle boasts an increasingly loyal fan base who’ll happily queue for their favourite fast food fix. We’ll be honest, the burritos are tasty, affordable and rather girthy (and we don’t love a bit of girth) but for the same price you could be wrapping your paws around Street N4’s equally well endowed treats. Plus Chipotle doesn’t offer a mouthwateringly good king prawn burrito, which has us waving our local flag once again!

Street N4, 8 Clifton Terrace, London N4 3JP

The McFlurry VS Chocolate Honeycomb from Udderlicious Ice Cream

God knows what could have been cultivating in McDonald’s big pot of McFlurry pieces over the years. Odd bits of sugary remnants, pulverised Smarties and limited edition ‘seized as ongoing evidence’ shards litter the tops of this tasteless ooze, so sweet it makes us miss Pizza Hut’s ice cream factory. Why not treat yourself to a scoop of Udderlicious’ udderly organic, udderly grown up chocolate honeycomb ice-cream? No pulverised nasties guaranteed!

Udderlicious Ice Cream, 187 Upper St, London, UK N1 1RQ


Photography + excessive gluttony + inventive use of props by: Mike Barry

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Eat & Drink

Open Doors: Beer Tasting at 40FT Brewery

40FT microbrewery of Stokey / Dalston are opening up their Tap Room doors today for a sunny afternoon of refreshing beer tasting. Tucked just behind Dalston Curve Garden in the Bootyard, this beautiful courtyard of hops awaits for the most discerning of beer hunters.

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Eat & Drink

Get Your Unusual Seafood on with Trawler Trash

If there ever was a way to strike the perfect balance between modern serenity and sham shackle beach hut chic, then Upper Street’s Trawler Trash have found it. The new seafood spot serves nothing but the ocean’s finest, but with a twist, they’re giving less well-known fish a platform to be experienced and gorged on by ravenous locals, hence the name ‘Trawler Trash’, because they literally ‘turn trash into treasure’.

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Market Road Gallery: Just Add Yourself

Spirited away from the hubbub of the city, sitting on the bustling boundaries of Islington and Camden, a 65 metre wide gallery resides hidden behind the Attic Self Storage building in Kings Cross. Market Road Gallery is a newly opened space for everyone to contribute to. It is London’s first bookable open air public gallery. Everyone, from the neighbourhood cat to a fancy pants established artiste, can create artwork for the space.

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Top Four Ways to Survive the London Heatwave, Solstice Style

Today Britain will relish (moan) in 16 hours and 38 minutes of daylight, with the sun rising at 4:43am and setting at 9:31pm. It’s set to be a record breaking 33 degrees in London. I for one am going to need all the help I can get not to disappear like the wicked witch of the West into a sticky puddle on Stroud Green Road. Here’s our Solstice-worshipping, Pagan inspired tips for surviving the hottest and longest day of the year in London.

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Celebrate Summer with Drum n Bounce at VeloPark

It’s time. Time to bask (complain) in the sun and ask why god why when will it end?? Yes, Summer is officially here for the week, the hottest week in the last 20 years. This Friday, Drum n Bounce are coming all the way down South to help us celebrate this fact, as healthily as possible. Right in the middle section of VeloPark (link) you can take part in uplifting and limbering flow yoga with Tammy’s Yoga before 45 minutes of energising drum n bounce aerobics. This is basically getting hot and fit and dancey to your favourite tracks before you head off in to the night (or bed) with a massive sweaty smile on your mug.

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"It's Not a Party" Black Books Pub Quiz

Next Friday night, ignore your mounting list of life admin and venture outwards into the ether for a misanthropic wine a plenty. It’s the Black Books pub quiz at The Duke of Wellington as part of their couch potato themed quiz series. Entry is a meagre £2 but you can win some cold hard real cash if you’re up on your Dylan Moran / Tamsin Greig / Bill Bailey shaped references.

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Holy Crap! Who Are The Heather Brothers?

Who are the Heather Brothers? It’s a question that’s been keeping me up at night. Ever since I was asked to review their latest musical, Holy Crap, I’ve been trapped in something of a Google wormhole. To begin at the beginning: the Heather Brothers are, depending on who you ask, a musical writing duo/trio/quartet. Born in London, they grew up in Zimbabwe, where they spent their teenage years performing in a fraternal rock band. Again, depending on who you ask, they were variously known as: The Chequers, The Three People or Quiet World.

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Film Screenings for World Refugee Day, Crouch End

“Arriving back in the UK, after a long time away, there seemed to have been a swing towards xenophobia and the dehumanizing and vilify of both migrants and refugees was happening at the highest levels. I wanted to create a short that would address this trend.” Director Daniel Mulloy

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The Emotional Lives of Cucumbers: World Cucumber Day

The gin enthusiasts down at Hendricks have decided to take these cucumber celebrations a slice further with their Cultivate the Unusual campaign. Encouraging gin fans to grow their own cucumbers over the last few months in preparation, Hendricks are asking us to bring said veggies to participating pubs and bars this Thursday 15th June. The Canonbury Tavern for example, will light up if you walk in with a cucumber and will proceed to exchange it for a free gin and tonic. Can you imagine?

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The Art of Run DMC at Hang Up Gallery, Stoke Newington

Hang Up Gallery have some pretty hush hush news. And it goes a little something like this: Darryl ‘Run’ DMC McDaniels will be popping up in the Stoke Newington gallery this month to launch his new collection of works, The Art of DMC. This is the icon’s first London exhibition, showing new and unseen collection of ‘Darryl Makes Comics (DMC)’ Fine Art, a body of signed limited edition prints showcasing his underlying passion for comics.

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Eat & Drink Events Lifestyle

Summer of Love Local by #ShopStroudGreen

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the original Summer of Love ’67 where freedom of expression, art and love reigned supreme. #ShopStroudGreen are celebrating the fact with a Summer of Love Local weekend festival this June. Celebrate artistic expression and support local independent traders and makers with a weekend of live art, workshops and music (with a few special discounts, tasters and freebies for good measure).

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Oh Snap! Top Five Free Election Night Covfefe

Oh snap! Another general election looms. Whether you’re hopeful for a landslide win or a surprising wild card outcome, wipe the bitter disappointment from your tastebuds with some gins, ales, burgers and strong covfefe. Because let’s face, it will be neither of those results will it really? Find the perfect place for you to receive the bad news in good company.

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London, A Bigger Picture: Film Screening with Live Music

Get a different perspective on the city you live in this June. Film London are holding a screening of archive footage of London’s outer boroughs through the decades, underscored by live music accompaniment. The best of London’s Screen Archives hugely successful project, London: A Bigger Picture will be shown, funded by Heritage Lottery three years ago.

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Off The Record: Snowy the Harringay Station Cat

We caught up with Snowy the Harringay Station cat to talk Twitter, working life and his unsavoury friendship with Gus the fox. Summer is coming and, in North London, that means it’s time to hit the train stations. So we took Snow the Haringey Station Cat and photographer Mike Barry tumbling across one of them: the undergrowth of Haringey Station. Then we sat down with Snowy for a raw conversation about how to move forward after things fall apart.

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Choppin' for Chazza at Rocket Barber Shop, Stokey

“You grow it, we mow it” might be their blasé catchphrase, but Rocket’s attitude to your haircut is far from casual. These guys are serious about hair and the person that grew it. Rocket Stoke Newington are holding a day of free beer and entertainment with your cut in aid of Men’s Mental Health Sunday this 12th June. Also known as “Chopping for Chazza”, there’ll be talks on mental health, stand up comedy and more from 12 - 5pm.

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Find The Perfect Volunteering Vacancy, Islington

Unless you’re already working for charity or regularly ‘do your bit’, that £6 monthly donation to The Dogs Trust might not be doing enough to quash your conscience / save the world. Whether you’re doing it for experience, to reset your karmic balance or generally give back and help out, there’ll be a role out there for you. On the Volunteer Centre Camden’s website for example, there’s a handy search page that lets you filter through hundreds of opportunities by location, interest and activity.