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'Two walls of windows shed plenty of light on the tall bar-style tables and chairs'

Hunky Dory manicure at London Grace

The blurb:

London Grace is a new sort of nail bar—one that’s actually a bar bar as well, open late in the evenings so you can head there after work to meet friends for catch-up drinks, nibbles and nail upkeep, or even after dinner for some drinks and beauty treatments to round out your evening.

The London Grace ethos is sociable fun alongside elegant, classic quality. In their words, they only offer treatments they believe ‘create lovely looking and healthy nails. You won’t see anything that involves excess cuticle cutting, abrasive filing or fakery such as extensions.’

These high standards also extend to their products, from the polish—which is formaldehyde-free—to the organic milk used in coffees, the carefully sourced food, and high quality wines, spirits and beers (these are, as much as possible, local London brands, from Sipsmith gin to Hackney-brewed beer and cider).

The process:

Taking advantage of London Grace’s convivial atmosphere, my sister joins for the visit. We’re welcomed by charming founder Kirsten, who exudes warmth and enthusiasm for her business and shows us around the building. Downstairs there is a prettily outfitted area available for parties and private hire, the Grace Space, but the focus is the ground floor, where full advantage is taken of the corner location, two walls of windows shedding plenty of light on the tall bar-style tables and chairs.

Having nibbled on charcuterie and antipasti downstairs, it’s at one of these tables that we now sit next to each other with slices of cake and cocktails. Our nail technician, Fabiana, swiftly gets to work on Gina’s hands as we all chat, discerningly filing and shaping before applying a neutral taupe, Graham (sweetly, polish colours are named after Kirsten’s family and friends who supported her as she set up London Grace—Graham being her father).

Next my nails are up for a Hunky Dory manicure using Amy, a metallic green. Time flies as conversation bubbles and drinks flow, and almost too soon both our manicures are complete. You’re welcome to hang out for drinks and food alone at London Grace though, which we do for a bit longer.

The results:

The UV-set topcoat did the trick and both our manicures lasted over a week, mine almost two—and I’m a nail abuser, constantly using them for inappropriate tasks! Underneath our nails were healthy and I was particularly pleased that they weren’t flaking at the tips, as sometimes happens when I shape and file them myself.

I must also sing the praises of the eponymous London Grace polishes; having taken one home with me, all I can say is that it is my favourite polish I have ever used. It excels on all fronts—goes on like silk, spreading itself across the nail with barely any help, and dries before you’ve even noticed you’re waiting for it.

In all, London Grace is the sort of place you not only enjoy, but want to become a regular at, become part of the community. There’s no doubt where I’ll be coming for nail care in future!

The details:

Manicures from £9 to £23, pedicures from £11 to £25. Gel manicures and pedicures £27 to £35.

Open Mon—Wed 9am—9pm, Thu—Sat 9am—10pm, Sun 10am—4pm

London Grace, 26 Putney High Street, London SW15; 020 7349 8722; and 183 New King’s Road, London SW6; 020 8789 1267; www.londongrace.co.uk

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