Alex Shebar is constantly reminded that he’s an American. This is what happens when you move to London but haven’t quite given up the accent (he does spell “favourite” with a ‘u’ and says, “rubbish,” though). Born in Boston (and Yelp’s former Community Manager of Cincinnati), Alex emigrated to The Old Smoke in 2012 and never looked back. He now enjoys bad films, strong gin and his brightly coloured Instagram account. We catch up with him at his home in Stoke Newington, where he lives with his lovely British girlfriend and American dog.
What did you do before you worked for Yelp?
In my past life, I was a cops and crime journalist for a major newspaper in Ohio. This meant going out to crime scenes to report on what happened. Not the most glamorous job, but it did connect me with the city and taught me to talk with people, both of which I do a lot of now. Also, I got a random call from rockstar Peter Frampton about his Obama campaign signs being stolen once… but that’s a different story for a different day.
What’s your favorite thing about representing London on Yelp?
London is massive. I’m talking twice the size of New York City, and that’s only London proper. With this much space, there are so many undiscovered spots that are just waiting to be talked about. And that’s what I get to do every day – talk about them, show them off, bring new people to them. For a guy who loves the local and the amazing, this is the dream job.
What’s your most recent local business discovery?
So remember in the last question when I talked about undiscovered local London spots that are a little farther out? Let me introduce you to God’s Own Junkyard, a neon sign factory, warehouse and showroom that is covered in neon from top to bottom. Just walking in makes your eyes go wide. Plus, if taking all those pics there makes you hungry, they have a cafe called The Rolling Scones! So British, so wonderful.
How would you spend a perfect Saturday in London?
Ok, perfect Saturday in London. I begin at The Good Egg for breakfast in my neighbourhood, which is truly amazing. Then, a walk through Clissold Park with my dog. Lunch, I’d spend at Borough Market for some of the best eats in the city (and get a Kappacaein raclette toastie.) After that, board games plus drinking (or maybe just drinking) at Draughts or a throwback film at The Prince Charles Cinema. And finally, a burger at Bleecker St. and a cocktail at my favourite cocktail bar in London: Lounge Bohemia. Get the Holy Smoke or Russian Breakfast cocktail… you will not be disappointed!
What local celebrity would you take to lunch and where would you go?
Tough call, man. I’d probably geek out a little and want to take England’s favourite modern literary son, author Neil Gaiman, on a tour of London to see if I could introduce him to sights he’s never seen before. I think he’d enjoy Powderkeg Diplomacy for the food, for the drinks, for the atmosphere and of course for the name. I’m betting he’d like it.