It starts with a whisper and crescendoes to a buzz . . .These four up-and-coming districts—in Tokyo, Sydney, Chicago, and London—are suddenly the talk of the town

Ebisu Tokyo

By Erika Lederman

The area around Ebisu train station is finally living up to its name. According to Japanese folklore, Ebisu is one of the seven gods of good luck, and the statue of this fat little man at the entrance to Ebisu station is said to promise prosperity. Considering the rate at which swanky restaurants and boutiques have been emerging from the shadow of the old Sapporo brewery, His Saintliness appears to be working overtime of late.

Industrial Ebisu has always been a sort of no-man's-land. Despite a busy station serving rail and subway lines, with the defunct brewery looming in the background, developers wereslow to move in. For a long time, the area was populated mostly by shopkeepers, solid middle-of-the-road ones; at night it was desolate. Meanwhile, nearby Daikanyama took off as the city's trendy round-the-clock destination. But Ebisu's cheap rents and proximity to one of Tokyo's best fashion-design schools have attracted young and colorful settlers who are turning it into the city's most exciting enclave.


Wasabiya2-17-8 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku; 81-3/3770-2604; dinner for two $38. Young trendies can be spotted dipping into basement-level eating places such as this one, where the new mukokuseki—"no boundaries"—cuisine is being dished out. An appetizer of silky black sesame tofu complements a main dish of salty grilled chicken with leeks.

Yo! Teko2-3-15 Ebisu-Minami, Shibuya-ku; 81-3/5725-1030; ramen for two $17. Grab a stool and slurp up the house specialtabeteko:kimchi, pork, and sprouts floating in a ginger-laced broth.

Matsu Sushi 1-2-4 Ebisu-Minami, Shibuya-ku; 81-3/3711-4364; dinner for two $190.You'll find this serene and spare sushi bar hidden behind a rough façade. Go with the omakase (chef's choice) and let someone else make the decisions—you won't be disappointed. After a few cups of cold sake, you won't balk at the bill.

Good Honest Grub1-11-11 Ebisu-Minami, Shibuya-ku; 81-3/3710-0400; dinner for two $48. Serving a great selection of healthful fare, including vegetarian and vegan dishes, this is the best of the many Western restaurants sprouting up in the neighborhood—always a sign of gentrification in Tokyo.

Pâtisserie Madu3-3-8 Ebisu-Minami, Shibuya-ku; 81-3/5721-9761; lunch for two $11.Tucked into a small side street, this is one of the first upscale cafés to open in the area. Tarts and pastries are displayed like jewels in a showcase.

After Dark

Café Guest 1-29-9 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku; 81-3/5458-3855. A spare storefront space with an art gallery upstairs, where the area's original bohemians hang out. The light fare includes a passable Caesar salad—though nobody comes here for the food.

Keiru1-13-4 Ebisu-Minami, Shibuya-ku; 81-3/3770-2218. There's usually a gaggle of models loitering at this wine bar's windowside tables. Don't miss the unexpected shrine across the street.

Spacepunch1-13-5 Ebisunishi, Shibuya-ku; 81-3/3496-2484. A narrow alley of a bar, lit by blue neon, where young trendies congregate. Continue along the length of this tiny street and the one perpendicular to it. Both are lined with izakaya (Japanese tapas) bars, where you can graze on small dishes of sashimi, shredded daikon salad, and yakitori.

The Shops

Hall M3-4-16 Ebisu-Minami, Shibuya-ku; 81-3/3719-2466. A wonderful gift and housewares shop with an eclectic mix of handmade pottery, books, and contemporary lacquerware with Pucci-like patterns. Hand-dyed throw pillows are the draw.

Gallery On Collection Tiki (1-9-10 Ebisu-Minami, Shibuya-ku, 3711-8678) epitomizes contemporary Japanese design with stone floors, wood slab tables and a changing roster of shows that usually feature utilitarian objects such as carved bowls or handblown glassware. The gallery also operates a traditional teashop.

Time-Space-Art (3-21-1 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, 3400-4440) A narrow post-modern concrete sliver on the outer fringes of the area that specializes in handmade washi and hashi (chopsticks). The most simple set of sticks are shiny enamel, the most outrageous gold with gemstones.

Aise Puis (3-5-7 Ebisu Minami, Shibuya-ku 3791-0231) Ignore the French name, the Japanese-designed women's clothing is a direct descendent of Yohji Yamamoti's. To go with the avant garb, you might choose a hand-made handbag at Michiru Abe (B1F, 1-30-16 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuyu-ku 5489-2544).

Mr. Craft (1-7-4 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku, 3461-2689) A five-story toystore catering to all the neighborhood's new families. You'll score big here if you have a Power Ranger fan—there's a whole floor devoted to morphable figures. My son loved the top floor, which has racks and racks of collectible cards. I came home with a British set with images of Mr. Bean.

Ebisu Garden Place (Ebisu 4-chome, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 5423-7111) On the site of the former brewery, this neo-mall promises a "stroll through pleasant open squares and walkways full of greenery." The reality is, unfortunately, a rather unimaginative complex with much more brick than greenery. It does, however, offer many shops and restaurants to recommend it. It's branch of the upscale Mitsukoshi Department Store, (5423-1111) has a housewares department that verges on nirvana. I've spent an afternoon just fingering the pottery. Surrounding the center atrium of the complex are outdoor cafes and food boutiques. There's even an over-the-top Bourbon-style chateau, home to the Tokyo branch of Taillevant (5424-1338), the restaurant. You'll also find a Westin hotel, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, (1-13-3 Mita, Meguro-ku, 3280-0031) with a fine permanent collection that spans from the Meiji restoration to the present.

EBISU MUST-HAVE On weekends, the neighborhood is assaulted by shoppers who come from all over the city in search of the perfect pillows for their sofas at the store called Hall M.

Surry Hills Sydney

By Maggie Alderson

Right next to the city's central business district, Surry Hills has been on the verge of becoming Sydney's next happening neighborhood for about 20 years, but thanks to a tenacious assortment of homeless people, garment factories, druggies, and brothels, it has held on to its raffish atmosphere. As a result, rents are still low enough to allow interesting businesses to open up, and the chain stores have yet to arrive.

Mixed in among auto shops and rag trade wholesalers are tree-lined streets with charming, if dilapidated, Victorian terrace houses (the curly-whirly wrought-iron balconies are reminiscent of New Orleans's). They provide cheap lodging for arty young things who appreciate the buildings' historic character—and the easy walk to the city center and the watering holes of Oxford Street. Some of the terraces have been tastefully gussied up, but many postgrad group shares remain. The youthful creative spirit is palpable.

And there is a lot of groovy stuff here now. Expensive warehouse conversions (some very disappointing) are almost an epidemic. But Surry Hills' grungy edgeexcites a sense of discovery in the intrepid chaser of cool. The flea market on the corner of Crown and Foveaux, held the first Saturday of every month, is still among the best for funky junk. Nowadays, there's something new to see every week.

For the time being, most of the good stuff is clustered around Crown Street. For an overview, start by investigating the quirky clothing stores at the Oxford Street end, and continue on to Cleveland Street, which has a gritty but colorful mix of Turkish restaurants (some with belly dancers), Indian sweets shops, pubs, and rough-and-ready neighborhoodstores. A few stretches of Crown are a bit bare and boring, but keep going. On a warm summer day, you'll enjoy the walk in leaf-dappled sunshine.


Longrain 85 Commonwealth St.; 61-2/9280-2888; dinner for two $38. A great bar and restaurant in a renovated wooden warehouse, serving a fusion of Australian and Thai food on smart communal tables. A no-tie zone.

Uchi Lounge 15 Brisbane St.; 61-2/9261-3524; dinner for two $32. Downstairs it's part lounge, part café, serving great Japanese food and good coffee. It's always busy, and the coming-soon upstairs restaurantwill surely attract even more of the hip crowd.

MarqueShop 4, 355 Crown St.; 61-2/9332-2225. One of Sydney's new breed of smart contemporary French restaurants. The kitchen is intent on mastering the classics, but don't expect a stuffy atmosphere in the coolly modern dining room.

Bills 2 359 Crown St; 61-2/9360-4762. The younger brother of Sydney's best breakfast spot (Bills) is a great neighborhood bistro serving modern Australian food. Try owner Bill Granger's famous ricotta pancakes, or the steak sandwich with roasted garlic cream and rocket salad It was Ralph Fiennes's hangout when he was in town making Oscar and Lucinda. Sensible fellow.

MG Garage 490 Crown St.; 61-2/9383-9383.When it first made the Sydney Morning HeraldGood Food Guide (the local oracle), this glamorous spot earned a rating of three hats, which placed it among the top five restaurants in town. With no formal training, Greek-born Janni Kyritsis cooks like no one else. His food is an audacious mix of complex classic techniques, Australian ingredients, and Mediterranean bravado. The room is elegant and buzzy—and the MG cars on display are actually for sale.

Fuel 476-488 Crown St.; 61-2/9383-9388. Right next door to MG Garage, Fuel is a designer food store and great café also under the direction of Janni Kyritsis. This is the one place in Surry Hills where you're likely to see the four-wheel-drive and chino-pants brigade who come in from more sedate suburbs.

Prasits Northside On Crown 413 Crown St.; 61-2/9319-0748. Really great Thai food in a sleeker environment than the average corner Thai (though some of us prefer the more casual Prasits Northside Takeaway, just up the road at 395 Crown). Grab a high stool at one of the Formica tables and swoon over green mango and crabmeat salad with kaffir lime, mint, garlic, and loads of chili. As you eat, you can eavesdrop on gossiping Opera Australia backstage boys (the Opera Centre is in Surry Hills).

Clock Hotel470 Crown St.; 61-2/9331-5333. A big converted pub with a surprisingly chic and cozy restaurant serving food way beyond pub grub, but with the comfort factor intact. The whole roast "chook" (chicken) for two is yum (as Aussies say).

The Shops

Chee Soon & Fitzgerald 387 Crown St.; 61-2/9360-1031. The first store in Sydney to deal seriously in mid-century furniture and artifacts, and still the best. The guys here know the difference between a real piece of Murano glass and a piece of seventies tat from someone's Aunty's beach house; a lot of the other dealers don't. They specialize in Marimekko fabrics—vintage and new—and have original Jim Thompson silks and Japanese wallpapers in stock.

Norman & QuaineCommonwealth St. Touting its own great designs, this sleekly modern furniture emporium is the place to buy a perfect sofa or lamp.

Zoo Emporium 332 Crown St.; 61-2/9380-5990. A retro store with a great sense of humor. There's always a good selection of hilarious sunglasses and other accessories.

Mister Stinky 482 Cleveland St.; 61-2/9310-7005. Handpicked vintage clothing, plus "new" garments made from recycled fabrics. Not for the corporate dresser.

YPV314 Crown St.; 61-2/9332-4090. Three of Sydney's edgiest labels—YPV, Pigsinspace, and Mooks—in one cool space. A word of warning to the normally proportioned adult: These clothes are cut so small they should be reported to the board of discrimination.

Wheels & Dollbaby 259 Crown St.; 61-2/9361-3286.Camp retro glam rock clothes and accessories. Very L.A., with an Aussie twist. Michael Jackson is rumored to have shopped here when he was last in Sydney.

WANT TO BLEND IN? Dress down! In Surry Hills, both sexes wear pretty much the same thing: cropped pants, Birkenstocks, short-sleeved T's over long ones, courier bags, the odd piercing.

Lincoln Square Chicago

By Jill Harrington

Long the Rhoda to the Mary Tyler Moore that is Lincoln Park—Chicago's more famous neighborhood named for the former prez—Lincoln Square has quite the show of its own these days. It's about 25 minutes northwest of the Loop (accessible by the Brown Line on the El) and is now the city's destination du jour, helped in large part by the relocation of the Old Town School of Folk Music and the ensuing hordes of students. The neighborhood was full of gems just waiting to be discovered by the rest of the world.

German-Americans were the first to set up shop here (the main artery, Lincoln Avenue, wasalmost renamedSauerkraut Avenue), and their beer halls and delis still contribute to the area's old-world feel. Many store owners are Lincoln Square natives who have put heart and soul into their ventures: from a classic toy store to a laid-back teahouse, from an organic wine store to an alternative apothecary, Lincoln Square's one-of-a-kind businesses are a delight in this age of increasingly homogenized neighborhoods. The Square is ready for its prime-time slot.


Café Selmarie 4729 Lincoln Ave.; 773/989-5595; dinner for two $40. It's a tempting thought to camp out in the bakery and try one of everything on offer: raspberry marzipan torte, fresh breads, apple strudel. A single bite of the famed rum ball (the size of a baseball) and you, too, will be reciting the "Ode to the Rum Ball," a painting-poem created by local artist and devotee Jenny Steinman.Recently expanded, Selmarie also serves lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch.

Daily Bar & Grill 4560 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773/561-6198; dinner for two $40. Though martinis are the big draw here (seven kinds of vodka, three types of stuffed olives), be sure to try the food as well. The grilled salmon with bacon-and-chive mashed spuds is delicious. And save room for honey-vanilla ice cream like you haven't had since childhood.

La Bocca della Verità 4618 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773/784-6222, dinner for two $60. Named for the stone landmark that the movie Roman Holiday made famous in America. Take a holiday of your own by sampling the classic southern Italian recipes kept intact by owner (and Rome native) Cesare D'Ortenzi—spigola al sale (sea bass encrusted in salt) and ravioli anatra (freshpasta stuffed with duck and sage and served in a tomato cream sauce.

Villa Kula 4518 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773/728-3114. "Tea is the most important meal of the day," claims Martha Voss, owner of this distinctly casual teahouse, named after childhood fictional heroine Pippi Longstocking's house. Take an afternoon break and order the tea service for two: a three-tier tray of tea sandwiches, scones and pastries, and two pots of tea. Or come in the evening Thursday-Sunday and listen to live jazz piano. And buy some tea: the bestseller is Earl Grey ($3.50/ounce); the rarest variety is delicate Silver Needle white tea ($23 per two ounces) made from the top down-covered buds of the plant and harvested only two days a year in China.

Taste of the Teutonic

Chicago Brauhaus 4732 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773/784-4444. The liveliest of the neighborhood's German brauhauses. The proof?Co-owner Guenter Kempf says he goes through about 150 kegs of Oktoberfest Spaten beer during the annual three-week fall celebration. Serving German beers year-round, the Brauhaus has live ethnic music daily, but things get uberfestive in October, with yodeling and dancing contests and hats with a feather for $1.50. Not to be overlooked is the hearty German fare (schnitzel and bratwurst) brought to you by waitstaff in lederhosen. It's campy, but undeniably fun.

Meyer Deli 773/561-3377. Lincoln Square's reigning German deli since 1954, is a cheap way to feel like you've been to Europe; Meyer carries eight different types of fresh liver sausages; Lieberkase, a German-style meatloaf; German coffees; Austrian jams; German beers such as Spaten and Hofbrau; European cheeses and chocolates; 15 types of rye bread—and it will ship any of it all over the United States.

After Dark

Nervous Center 4612 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773/728-5010. A coffee house with the feel of an artist's crash pad, the Center roasts its own coffee and has a huge selection of newspapers and 'zines to read while you sip and contemplate the sometimes strange sounds coming from the basement. Co-owner Richard Syska (in partnership with his brother Ken) admits they like "screwing with people's preconceptions. We are not here to give people what they want." A tip: if you're noncommittal about the evening's music, sit upstairs where there's no cover charge.

Old Town School of Folk Music (4544 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773/728-6000) Always wished you could play the washboard?The Old Town School can help. They also offer lessons in playing the guitar, saxophone, or djembe drums, as well as gospel singing and Flamenco and hip-hop dancing, to name a few. Housed in a former library, the school has has only been open a year, and its impact on the hood can be measured by the hordes of guitar-packing pedestrians and the crowded restaurants before and afterconcerts, which are held every weekend. Recent headliners include guitar great John Prine and Barbarito Torres of Buena Vista Social Club fame. In town for just a few days and feel like jamming?Call ahead and see what's going on; depending on availability they may let you observe a class or rent an instrument and join in. Also check out the Different Strummer, the school's music shop, which sells new and used guitars, amps, percussion, sheet music, stands and world music CDs.

The Shops

Museum of Decorative Art (4611 N. Lincoln Ave.: 773/787-4310) More shop than museum right now, the building features an ornate exterior facade of glazed terracotta tiles, designed by Louis Sullivan in 1922. Inside, owner Carol Schmidt stays true to the Art Nouveau roots, selling new and antique jewelry (check out her extensive collection of lockets), prints by Karl Blossfeldt and other artists, new and used books, vintage furniture, and new women's clothing—all reminiscent of the period 1870-1930.

Fine Wine Brokers (4621 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773/989-8166) Chicago's organic wine connection—a growing trend in wines, says co-owner Gary Rohr. "People used to be skeptical—they would say 'oh, it's organic. Is it any good?' That's changing." For those who remain dubious, take note: the shop carries non-organic wines as well. Rohrhand-writes his own description of nearly every wine for sale. "I'm right often enough that people keep coming back for more." he boasts.

Gene Douglas Decorative Arts & Antiques (4621 1/2 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773/604-5540) Douglas, a Lincoln Square native, opened his formerly just-for-wholesale showroom to the public a few years ago. Lucky us. The ever changing showroom is a visual treal. Assembled with the taste and forethought of a museum exhibition displays may include sterling jewelry, furniture, Chinese rugs, decorative lamps, a funky quilt, or a Josef Hoffmann arm chair.

Timeless Toys (4749 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773/334-4445) "No 'fast-food' toys here," promises owner Harry Burrows, who opened the shop with his wife, Martha, when their son hit toy-playing age and most mass-market options left them cold. Here you'll find wooden rocking horses and stoves, books for all ages, and hand-sewn Halloween costumes.

Merz Apothecary (4716 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773/989-0900) Can you say "common cold" in seven languages?The diverse staff at Merz can, drawing a multicultural clientele through its doors. Founded in 1875, making it one of the city's oldest, continuously run businesses, this European-style drugstore carries an awe-inspiring range of European toiletries. Current owner Abdul Qaiyum, a native of Pakistan, travels the world looking for quality products—nothing, he says, "that you find at the local Walgreens." Qaiyum has also been dispensing homeopathic advice for years. "I'd be doing it even if it had never become so popular."

WALK LIKE A LOCAL Carry a guitar or a djembe drum over your shoulder and you'll look just like the hundreds of students who go in and out of Lincoln Square's Old Town School of Folk Music.

Shoreditch London

By Philip Watson

Five years ago Shoreditch, just east of the City, was little more than a wasteland of derelict warehouses and boarded-up shops. Today it's London's most vibrant neighborhood, a playground for dedicated barflies and bohemians. Shoreditch is modern London at its most appealing. It's hip and happening but doesn't take itself too seriously.

Geographically defined by the Old Street roundabout to the west (farther on is trendy Clerkenwell), super-cool Hoxton Square to the north, the studio shops of Brick Lane to the east, and buzzing Spitalfields Market to the south, Shoreditch may not be half as pretty or populated as many areas of the capital—but it certainly is more fun. This district is egalitarian, not exclusive, and about artists rather than celebrities; it's an attitude-free neighborhood where real Londoners come for their edgy urban kicks.


Cantaloupe35-42 Charlotte Rd., EC2; 44-207/613-4411. The bar that jump-started the whole Shoreditch scene. A busy pub with wooden tables and benches and draft beerleads through to a chill-out area with armchairs and leather sofas, a designer back-bar with cocktails and loud music, and a good restaurant. This is the place where after-work City businessmen mingle with East End trendoids.

Home 100-106 Leonard St., EC2; 44-207/684-8618. You'll find ugly furniture and beautiful people at this basement lounge and ground-level canteen that's a cross between Central Perk from Friends and a student-union hangout. Ironic domesticity and the seventies distressed-sofa look reign. On weekends, expect late-night queues.

Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen2-4 Hoxton Square, N1; 44-207/613-0709. With its sand-textured concrete walls, exposed ventilation ducts, Philippe Starck-like lights, and secondhand furniture, this is the basement bar/café as high-style Eastern European bunker. The food consists mostly of snacks: a quiche made with goat cheese, butternut squash, and basil; a plate of Spanish hams and cheeses with toast; and an assortment of sandwiches and salads.

Shoreditch Electricity Showrooms 39A Hoxton Square, N1; 44-207/739-6934. Big, bare, and huge-windowed bar in a former (you guessed it) electricity showroom. Big white walls, laid-back vibe. Also has a café and club-space basement.

Vibe Bar Old Truman Brewery, 91-95 Brick Lane, E1; 44-207/247-3479. Modern aluminum chairs, studded leather sofas, Sony Playstations, a graffiti-style mural—oh, and great cocktails and sounds, "from Latin lounge to Afro-funk."

Bricklayer's Arms63 Charlotte Rd., EC2; 44-207/739-5245. Before the Shoreditch bar scene took off, this was the traditional "artists' pub" in which to sup pints and hang out. It still is. There's a new contemporary restaurant on the first floor.

The Bean126 Curtain Rd., EC2; 44-207/739-7829. Hard to miss: a large red Plexiglas arrow hangs above the entrance. It points the way into a pparsely decorated coffee bar that offers Internet stations and "complete caffeine solutions."

After Dark

Fabric 77A Charterhouse St., EC1; 44- 207/490-0444. This huge new superclub in nearby Farringdon, with three dance floors, an industrial-style interior, and a 2,000-person capacity, claims to have the best sound system in London.

Brick Lane Music Hall134-146 Curtain Rd., EC2; 44-207/739-9996. An East End institution that's the traditional home of Victorian vaudeville, old-style comedy, and Christmas pantomime. From $49 a head for a basic three-course dinner and a show.

Comedy Café66 Rivington St., EC2; 44-207/739-5706. Converted side-street warehouse featuring open-mike sessions on Wednesday, more established acts on Thursday, and big names on Friday and Saturday.


Great Eastern Dining Room (54 Great Eastern St, EC2; 44-207/613 4545) A minimalist, dark-wood paneled, noisy restaurant that serves wholesome, rustic Italian food at good prices (it has a policy of including nothing on the menu over £10). There's also a sleek and stylish high-ceilinged bar, and a chill-out basement bar/club.

Club Gascon (57 West Smithfield, EC1; 44-207/253 5853) Located about half a mile away in nearby Smithfield, this newish French restaurant is the one restaurant for which it's worth breaking away from Shoreditch. The chef champions the cuisine of Gascony in southwest France (liver, foie gras and pate are staples). It won Time Out's Best New Restaurant Award for 1999, so book weeks ahead.

Cafe Naz (46 Brick Lane, E1; 44-207/247 0234) Serving delicious contemporary Bangladeshi food, Cafe Naz is the best of the new generation of Indian restaurants along Brick Lane. The look is bright and modern—from the outside it looks more like a nightclub.

Beigel Bake (159 Brick Lane, E1) A famous 24-hour bakery popular with chirpy Cockneys and hungry clubbers. Smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel a steal at 95p.

Viet Hoa 72 Kingsland Rd, E2 (44-207/729 8293). Revamped budget Vietnamese canteen popular with the frugal fashion crowd.


Old Truman Brewery (Dray Walk, 91-95 Brick Lane, E1) This 11-acre former brewery site has been converted into a nest of workshops, studios, offices, and retail outlets for innovative, small-scale art, fashion, and housewares and home furnisings businesses. Head to Global Gypsy (Unit 2; 44-207/247 3434) and Junky Styling (Unit 12; 44-207/247 1883) for original clothes for men and women; and Eat My Handbag Bitch (Unit 6; 44-207/375 3100) for household furniture and objects from the 50s to the 80s.

Same (First floor, 146 Brick Lane, E1; 44-207/247 9992) Undisputedly the trendiest contemporary interiors and accessories emporium in London these days.

Hoax (8-9 Hoxton Square, N1; 44-207/729 6262) Funky space selling witty, paradoxical, limited-edition household and fashion designs that border on art. You might find "I Love Joyriding" bumper stickers (£12, in an edition of 300), "Bruised and Bruisers" t-shirts sith skin bruises painted on (£25, in an edition of 300), or "What is History?" a pair of nine inch high resin busts of Monica Lewinsky and Osama bin Laden, for use as bookends (£495, in an edition of 100).

Bernstock Speirs 10 Columbia Rd., E2; 44-207/729-7229. Relaxed, dazzlingly colorful (they have a "no black" rule) urban women's wear.

Sh! 39 (Coronet St, N1 (44-207/613 5458) At this "women's erotic emporium," men are welcome only as guests of their female friends.

SUNDAY MARKETS Forget the overcrowded and over-commercialised weekend mêlées in Camden and Notting Hill—head to Spitalfields market on Commercial Street for vintage clothes (very in right now—from Victoriana to Sixties hippy) and its "International Food Village"; Brick Lane for anything from army surplus to new lace; and Columbia Road for flowers, perfumes and secondhand clothes.