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Hoxton and Shoreditch, London

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England's insider take:

The neighborhood of Hoxton, in the city's northeast, has had more influence on cutting-edge art, music, and fashion than its small size and homely appearance might suggest. In the early 1990s, it was home to the likes of fashion designer Alexander McQueen and pop musician Jarvis Cocker, and generally a stronghold of the YBAs (Young British Artists), who lived in the warehouses. The pub-and-club scene along Curtain Road was the haunt of everyone who was anyone. News spread, property prices soared, and the artists moved. While no longer part of the vanguard, it's still a good place to hang. Try Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, a concrete and glass place typical of the area's urban style with a clientele of grown-up hipsters (2-4 Hoxton Square, Shoreditch, N1, 44-207-613-0709). There's a small terrace from which you can watch the goings-on in Hoxton Square, once the epicenter of the scene and still a bustling area with a patch of much-needed greenery in the middle. It's where you'll find Jay Jopling's contemporary gallery White Cube, which represents Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, among others (48 Hoxton Square, Shoreditch, N1, 44-207-930-5373, These days, locals tend to lump Hoxton under the general heading of Shoreditch, a larger neighborhood that's retained its edge…for now.

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