Holly's Cowgirl Guide To London
For those who have followed Melbelle for a little while, you will have come to recognise the face of Holly Perez-Nino, aka @staywild_cowgirl. One of our first official Melbelle Brand Ambassadors, she shares her passion for all things western fashion and lifestyle through her Instagram account and over recent weeks, has been busy working behind the scenes on this blog post for you all to enjoy…
When I think “Western” my mind automatically takes me to Tennessee, Texas, Montana, Wyoming etc etc. Essentially, it’s always somewhere in AMERICA. Some of these places I’ve been fortunate enough to visit whilst the rest are still on the (very long) to do list. But when I am not stateside, I’m forever trying to find my country fix here in the UK.
I live in Kent, about 45 mins outside of London, with my husband. We decided on Kent for its accessibility to London to support our regular gig-going lifestyle. Over the last few years, we’ve spent a lot of time in London and today I wanted to share some of my favourite places to get a little bit Country.
COUNTRY GIRL SHAKE IT FOR ME
For years I had no idea just how much country music could be found in the UK. The scene is growing rapidly at the moment. As a result, more and more artists have been coming over. I listen to Absolute Radio Country and keep an eye on their social channels; it’s the best place to keep up-to-date with events coming up. The next huge event coming to London will be the Country To Country Festival in March, but what about the rest of the year?
The Dukes of Highgate is London’s first and only Honky Tonk. Over 100 different bourbons on offer, incredible vintage western décor throughout and incredible live music from local and international country artists. The venue has such a cool vibe, good food and is where you want to go if you are looking for a really authentic outlaw night out.
Above: The Dukes of Highgate
London is also home to the Buck’ N Bull Saloon, where you’ll find regular country music party nights. Hosted at Electrowerkz, an old tube carriage warehouse converted into a unique live music venue. At a Buck’ N Bull event you’ll be able to see live artists, ride rodeo bull, take part in line dancing lessons and dance to your favourite country songs till the early hours.
YOU KNOW I LIKE MY CHICKEN FRIED
And I really do. So here’s a few of my favourite places to find some good BBQ soul food in London. First up there’s the BBQ and Crabshack chain Big Easy London, with locations in Covent Garden, Canary Wharf, Chelsea, Stratford and Bluewater. Serving up BBQ food, live music and a country and blues aesthetic. One of the few places this side of the ocean I’ve been able to find Hush Puppies on the menu.
Above: The Big Easy London
Next up is Bodean’s BBQ bringing Kansas City BBQ to Covent Garden, Fulham, Clapham, Soho and Tower Hill. This is my go-to hangover stop after a big gig or country party. The Memphis style Nachos are incredible, I’ve tried recreating a recipe for the chilli con queso sauce they serve here and nothing is ever as good. If anyone from Bodeans reads this, it’s time to bottle it up and sell it please. (Top tip – download the magic stamp app for freebies)
Above: Bodean’s BBQ
A new London eatery I have to shout about is The Korean Cowgirl and it actually started in Kent. Having recently opened in Camden I am buzzing to be able to include it in this round up. The menu is Texas BBQ with Asian fusion and it is insanely good. I’ve eaten a lot of BBQ food, in a lot of places, Korean Cowgirl wins. Hands down. I’ll let you know if this is still the same after my trip to Texas next year 😉
Above: The Korean Cowgirl
STOP DRAGGIN’ YOUR BOOTS
It took me AGES to find anywhere that sells western clothing in London. Which is why I mostly shop online or in the states. But I did it. I found not one, but two locations. Each offering a completely different experience and product.
Jessie Western sits on the famous Portobello Road. It’s a treasure trove of jewellery, cowboy boots, accessories and fashion. Some of the most beautiful boots I’ve ever seen. Every item is beautifully handcrafted and exquisite. The higher price points reflect that, so it’s just window shopping here for me.
Above: Jessie Western
A very different shopping experience in Covent Garden is PICKNWEIGHT, a vintage kilo store full of hidden gems. Pre-loved thrift shopping has become one of my favourite ways to find individual one-off pieces and PICKNWEIGHT is perfect for finding something unique. The store itself is full of old traffic lights and pinball machines which just add to the fun you’ll have searching the rails.
A huge thank you to Holly for putting this special blog post together exclusively for Melbelle! For more from Holly, you can find her on Instagram here.
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