What does Newsweek know?

`The world's coolest city' they tell their readers this week, and offer the map below as evidence. So are they hipsters or loons? We tell you
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Spot on. Six years old and still as hot as a spanked bottom. This is where the Saturday night/ Sunday morning gay clubbers go-go when all the other parties have pooped. Wear: lots of muscle. Take off: your white T-shirt. Music: Techno, Techno, Techno darling.

Every Saturday and Sunday a seething mass of people descend on NW1 and numbly shuffle from one end of the High Street to the other dropping litter. This is the real "world famous" Camden Market, mecca to tourists, barrow-boys, bad-girls, goths, punks and back-of-the-van traders. Want to buy a dodgy Rolex and mouldy vintage Adidas trainers? Go to Camden. Want to buy fabulous second-hand clothes? Join the early risers at 7am on Fridays in Portobello Market, W11, or (even earlier) on Sundays in Brick Lane in the East End.

New (and Old) Bond Street can easily be interchanged with Madison Avenue in New York and Via Della Spiga in Milan. The roll call of stores includes Donna Karan, Valentino, Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Chanel, Tiffany, Gucci, and DKNY, soon to be joined by Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. This is where rich tourists go to get the "London experience"; real Londoners only window-shop there.

The mould-breaking, minimalist Japanese noodle canteen has been much copied, but both branches (one strategically close to the British Museum, the other in Soho) represent the apogee of groovy, good-for-you fast food. It brought Japanese-style food (but not sushi) to people on a budget. Others have tried to imitate it, none with such success. Newsweek got this one right.

As a once-grand dance hall, this had a certain shabby appeal. Now, revamped with swathes of hotel carpeting and a sound system you can't see, a tiresomely expensive menu and a complicated hierarchy of supposedly privileged admission, it has little to recommend it.

They cannot be serious. Great gallery, perplexing shows, nice bar (late licence); shame about the theatre, a versatile space almost exclusively dedicated to wildly esoteric "performance" work. They'd be much better off trying the Lyric Hammersmith, the home of intelligent rethinks of neglected classics, cutting edge music-theatre, lesbian and gay work and a whole lot more in two theatres.

If Newsweek is in touch, it must be with the other side. Hip only in the sense of arthritic, this huge black hole underneath the Arches at Charing Cross is now less a landmark, more a profitable relic, attracting the gay equivalent of Essex Lad. It's good dirty fun, but everyone knows it's too scene to be a place to be seen.

The West End writ small. Fringe theatre for those who don't like slumming it. The darling of the (sometimes blinkered) critics. But chiefs Sam Mendes and Caro Newling have an unerring instinct for programming hits and, like the equally interesting Almeida Theatre, have the knack of luring stars enticed by their enviable record of West End transfers.

Once hot, now not, though debby gels, sad boys and those fresh from regional universities continue to turn up at the door thinking it's in. Not with music that can't decide whether it's House, Handbag, Euro- Cheesy or whatever, it isn't. And as for the dance floor - do the fashion police have a SWAT squad?

They've got it right on this one. Thanks to director Richard Eyre the quality of work in all three auditoria has been unusually high. Certain critics have moaned about the lack of European work, but the hits here have been so big they've even transferred to Broadway. With Guys and Dolls returning for Christmas, they should be prepared to queue.

The riverside landmark has been renovated and the eighth floor is a restaurant run by Harvey Nichols. The view is magnificent and among mega-restaurants in London, it is the dernier cri (until the next opens). The struggle to book a table is supposedly part of the cachet, but the food is disappointing and expensive and the service haphazard; flashy, monied customers make it look like an Eighties throwback. Newsweek missed Coast (W1), St John (Clerkenwell) and the River Cafe (Hammersmith).

The Wooden "O" opened briefly for business this autumn but after four hectic weeks, when more than 40,000 people saw Two Gentlemen of Verona, it closed for the winter. At present its half-timbering, thatch, hand- made bricks and an exhibition on the theatre's genesis are all that is to be seen. Bankside, home of the new Tate, is at an even more embryonic stage of development, looking exactly what it is, a redundant power station in an advanced state of decay. Not until you reach Conranopolis on the far side of Tower Bridge, with Sir Terence's Design Museum and restaurants housed in refurbished warehouses, does the future begin to look real.

Broadgate

Odd idea, sending Americans to Broadgate: it's the most accomplished piece of urban Americana in London, with its stepped, circular piazza, its ice rink, its massive iron steel sculpture by the American Richard Serra, its slickly confident corporatism. What would be more typical of London? The comic book megastructure at Charing Cross? The blighted Sixties pedestrian precinct at Paternoster Square, next to St Paul's, where Prince Charles's antiquarianism smashed into the imperatives of modern commercial development? The arrogance and crudity of Centrepoint, which has now been listed? Sadly, all of the above.

One of the most user-friendly shopping areas in London - Neal Street and the Covent Garden Piazza are all pedestrianised. It's the retail home of Paul Smith and a bevy of menswear design companies such as Catherine Byrne, Burro, Nigel Cabourn and Daniel Poole as well as specialist designer boutiques. Even the street entertainment revives the most jaded of Londoners.

"Spruced-up Labour is good for the neighbourhood" suggests Newsweek - but even with the Blairs and their Islington cronies, the lure of this tatty inner suburb of north London is one of the city's more bewildering mysteries. Crime-ridden, short of open space and with the worst secondary schools in the country, Islington's most persuasive claims to fame are the Almeida Theatre (formerly run by an American), and the King's Head, where foreign visitors can experience the thrills of LSD: it's probably the only pub in Britain that continues to defy metrication.

Visitors to this site will need vivid imaginations: the 1,265ft building is still no more than a gleam in Sir Norman Foster's eye.

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