Craft beer, vintage shops and eclectic markets: the “East End” is arguably London’s trendiest neighborhood offering everything a culture enthusiast could ever dream of – and way more. Discover where to mingle with artsy locals by reading our top picks of hipster hang-outs…
Head towards East London and enter the vibrant zones of Shoreditch, Dalston and Hackney to discover the following thrills.
ART NO MATTER WHAT
Once you get lost in this part of the city, it shouldn’t take you more than a minute to realise you’ve just stepped into some seriously artistic hang outs. Walls are covered with graffiti, art galleries burst out of every corner and pretty much everyone is on point with their fashion sense. Get lost in the streets of Shoreditch to peek on some killer street art and keep your radar on for the small quirky ones that hide in unexpected places.
Hot tip: Every first Thursday of the month, locals love going to the art galleries located in the area since they stay open until 9 PM and offer free booze.
The popularity of Brick Lane market is no secret: it’s a paradise for bargain hunters, the home of hip food eateries and a sanctuary for thrift shop lovers. Pop there on a Sunday and walk along the crowded street, and don’t miss out on the underground vintage market, a real cave of wonders. For a cheap deal, head to the food stands after 4 PM as the market is closing and grab an entire meal for 1 – 2 pounds.
If you’re more into local atmospheres, there’s no doubt Broadway Market is where you should be heading. Located by the Regent’s canal (a MUST hang-out place on sunny days), this food and craft market is the perfect plan for a Saturday when you’re craving a badass meal outdoors. Walk along Kingsland Road towards Dalston Junction if you’re looking for mighty fine charity shops or second-hand/vintage stores – we recommend TRAID and BEYOND RETRO. If not, then head to Shoreditch, the home of original independent boutiques, especially located on Redchurch Street, Shoreditch High Street and Curtain Road.
The Best Food in the Neighborhood
The markets aren’t the only place where you can stuff yourself: brunch at Café 338, a local favourite, boasts a homely atmosphere, fresh orange juice, fluffy pancakes and menus for a fiver that will fill you up for a week. For lunch, try out Save the Date’s peculiar concept: this unique restaurant creates meals out of “surplus” food (donations from restaurant chains or supermarkets) and runs on a pay-as-you-feel system. Volunteers create delicious vegan food (meat is occasionally on the menu) and the overall experience is truly heart-warming. In the evening, try out one of the Vietnamese restaurants located on Kingsland Road, or take your pick of giant slices at Voodoo Ray’s tasty pizzas.
Grab a Drink
Amongst the endless possibilities of places to drink tea or coffee in East London, Ziferblat is by far the one that stands out the most. This eclectic and colourful cafe offers a real feel-at home experience and the perfect hideaway to chill with friends, play board games, practice your guitar skills or refill your drink as many times as you want since you pay 3 pounds during the first hour of your stay, regardless of your consumption (It goes up to a fiver after but this also means you can stay the whole day) . Too bad they don’t serve anything a little stronger…
The coolest spots to sip on alcoholic bevvies (now we’re talking) in Shoreditch are Kick (cool bar filled with table footballs), Far Rockaway (share the 18″ pizza and check out the tons of skateboards covering the ceiling) and BrewDog, the ultimate king of weirdly named craft beer. To hang out with the local crowd, head Hackney bound and check out the People’s Park Tavern near the massive Victoria Park which has a small art gallery as well as one of the sexiest gardens in the whole city.
For the Night Owls
Get grooving on the dance floor of the cultural centre Passing Clouds, an alternative venue that hosts all styles of live music, from Reggae and Funk to Jazz or Samba (+workshops, film screenings and much more). The vibes there are so positive and contagious that you’ll feel overwhelmed with love for your fellow humans – we’re not even kidding. Don’t miss the free Jam sessions on Sundays from 9 PM where anyone is welcome to join in.
If you’re a fan of Blues music, definitely hit up the Blue’s Kitchen where bands often play live in this retro setting. Otherwise, the trendy Number 90 in Hackney Wick is the ultimate hot spot to listen to House beats till dawn and chill by the canal (their terrace is superb).
Sunny in London?
First off, pop the champagne to celebrate this rare event. Then rush towards the best place to hang-out on this occasion: the Nomadic Community Garden, tucked away behind Brick Lane. It is fair to say that there is no other spot like this one, not even slightly close. Described as a “hippie commune” by the locals, this garden makes you feel like you’ve entered a time-capsule and gone back to the 60’s. What to expect? A massive communal outdoor space where people get together to create art work from trash, plant seeds to grow crops, but mainly take the time to get to know each other, share a moment with a stranger or a laugh with new mates. Get down there on a Sunday for their weekly bonfire night and listen to the locals jam together or join in!