A Meander Around Mayfair
Using the N.Peal boutique on Burlington Arcade as a starting point, Benedict Browne takes a salubrious stroll around Mayfair's most interesting spots
Whether you're a tourist or a Londoner, you're spoiled for choice when pottering about Mayfair. From rarified treats, history and architecture, to high crafted menswear, it has it all. What's more, N. Peal's store at the very top of Burlington Arcade provides you with a great starting point.
Across the top of the Burlington Arcade runs Burlington Gardens, and at the eastern end, you'll find Savile Row - a street name you've no doubt heard of before. It's the cradle of bespoke tailoring and no other major city in the world has anything near its importance in artisanal apprenticeships and handcrafted garments. Keep to the east side of the street, though, and stop outside Number 3. On the 30 January 1969, The Beatles played their last ever gig on this building's roof - a memorable lunch break if there ever was one. Continue walking and peer into Henry Poole. Founded in 1806, it's the oldest tailor on the street, which famously invented the dinner suit for Edward VII.
There's not much beyond Poole so take a left along Clifford Street. There's an unassumingly great and simple deli called Morris's if you need a caffeine fix, but I've always been a sucker for their salt beef sandwiches (as is Mayfairite, Bill Nighy). You're practically on Bond Street by this point, with every high-fashion luxury house battling over who has the biggest flag. Stores alongside this street have never had much appeal to me, however, the Churchill and Roosevelt Allies sculpture outside the Patek Philippe boutique is a charming reminder of two of the 20th century's most inspiring leaders.
Moving away from Bond Street's chaos, you should head to Bruton Place, a small and fairly secluded street. There are two restaurants there that are worth mentioning: Bellamy's, which HM The Queen is quite fond of for its steak tartare; and The Guinea Grill, a gastropub that always has a convivial atmosphere. As it's a quiet street, everyone spills out onto the road with their drinks. I've always thought that's a very London 'thing'.
Berkeley Square is at the end of the road. It's easily one of London's most glamorous squares, underlined by Jack Barclay Bentley - the marque's flagship showroom. There are some incredible feats of human engineering in there with even more history of British motoring. If you're into fashionable restaurants and like to be seen in them, there's Annabel's and Sexy Fish on the square and the length they go to in designing the exteriors of the building is very impressive. To the north of Berkeley Square is Hedonism Wines, which is a fantastic place to buy some very rare spirits and wines for every budget. It's hard to believe but there are even some bottles of cognac and whisky locked away for the price of a small two-bedroom flat in central London.
The further west you go, the more Mayfair becomes residential - however calling it residential is somewhat of a disservice. It's worth the wander though, and you can tail it off by looping back towards Piccadilly and entering Burlington Arcade from the southside. Here, Baudoin & Lange, a Belgian footwear brand, has recently opened. Its slipper-like loafer shoes are becoming increasingly popular now that dress codes have relaxed significantly. Lastly, just before you arrive back at N. Peal, there's the Vintage Watch Company, which has one of the most coveted collections of vintage Rolex in the world. And then on to N. Peal to discover the perfect cashmere cuff to display your wristwatch against.
Benedict Browne writes for Robb Report, Gentleman's Journal and The Rake