The London Guide by Reza Merchant

Reza Merchant, founder and CEO of co-living pioneer The Collective, @thecollective_living
London-based Reza Merchant is founder and CEO of co-living pioneer The Collective (, @thecollective_living)

"London to me is a city of ultimate diversity and choice from all perspectives - people, the languages you hear on the street, food, music, architecture and atmosphere"


What to explore
Shoreditch - take a walk down Redchurch Street for an eclectic mix of shops. I love hanging at the pool at Shoreditch House and nearby Humbledough makes the most delicious vegan cookies. 
Head down Brick Lane for a lively combination of Bengali curry houses, bagel houses, independent shops, restaurants and food markets. I also love 93 Feet East for a drink, and the markets around The Truman Brewery.
Walk along the canal in Hackney Wick, there is a wonderful concentration of the largest number of artist studios in the area. Number 90 Bar & Kitchen, Hackney Bridge & Stour Space (cafe & gallery) are great fun.

Some walks in London are really special, a source for much inspiration and a window into how things are constantly changing in a city so well thought out from a modern architectural point of view.

Walk through the City of London, up Bishopsgate, past Liverpool Street to Bank and then along the River Thames to the South Bank, where you can admire the view from Westminster/ Waterloo Bridge.
I also enjoy travelling by foot from Hackney to Camden, along the canal and up to Primrose Hill for sunset.
When walking through new developments in Kings Cross, I'm always amazed to see how much this area has changed. Granary Square, Dishoom and Caravan are some of my favorite spots.

Where to shop
Soho - Carnaby Street and the surrounding streets such as Kingley Street and Berwick Street all have a great atmosphere, new eclectic food concepts and unique shops constantly popping up. This is a great place to get outfits for Burning Man. 
My favorite brands, not necessarily from London, are Rick Owens for clothes and Le Labo for fragrances.
Where to relax
For a relaxing day at the spa, I love the 20th floor at The Collective Canary Wharf which has sweeping views of London. I often follow it with a few cheeky dumplings on the ground floor from Dumpling Shack.
For music, I love Printworks in Canada Water, and miss the curated house music experiences The Collective often hosts in London.

Where to eat & drink

I love Farmacy and Jusu Brothers in Westbourne Grove.

Pop Brixton is one of my favorite concepts in London: it's a street food market with a lot of soul and purpose, made up of mostly local independent operators.