A Story of Home Shoreditch Area Guide
In the late 90s and early noughties, Shoreditch was rebranded from an infamous part of town to a creative playground, a place with its own urban culture. For the generation who flocked to live there, Shoreditch and Hoxton was a place of private film screenings, pubs that spilled out on to the street, and all night warehouse parties. It is different today – but it still has the magic. And it’s still cool.
Now Shoreditch is all about world class cocktails, found in some of the best bars in London. The pubs are also excellent, with authentic East End boozers with drinks menus full of craft beer. Plus, some of London’s best restaurants can be found here, often in interesting reclaimed spaces. Shoreditch may have smartened up its act, but its creative energy still pulses through the cobbled streets and warehouses.
Here is the SoH. guide for all that’s hip in Shoreditch.
Sunday is a big day in Shoreditch. Columbia Road hosts one of the best markets in London, the instagrammable flower market which takes place every Sunday (8am until 3pm) sandwiched between artsy, independent shops. Our top tip get there early to beat the crowds, and then sit outside one of the coffee shops to watch the market fill up and the world go by. The weekend is the best time to visit the vintage shops, found down the side streets off Brick Lane. Duck through doorways for hidden markets selling vintage gear, or seek out the classier interiors and vintage boutiques on Cheshire Street.
Columbia Road, Shoreditch, Hackney, London E2 7RG
A MEAN BREW
Start the day with a caffeine hit at Origin, the coffee house on Curtain Road. At this minimalist gallery-type space, the beans are treated with po-faced reverence, but the outcome of its cold brew really is a piece of art.
PAINT IT BLACK
Shoreditch was the playground of the great British artists of the 90s. The East End remains home to some of the best London exhibitions, galleries and contemporary artists essential to the city’s creative spirit. The most interesting, in our opinion, is Victoria Miro, with its VIP list of star exhibitors.
LADIES WHO LUNCH
The red-brick streets of the Boundary Estate house two lunch only local institutions. Leila’s on Calvert Avenue is a real gem, and we would eat here every day if we could. The food is home-cooked, and English-rustic. The service is excellent and the whole experience has a feeling of authentic creativity. Around the corner, hidden behind a gated wall, is the Rochelle Canteen, one of London’s best restaurants. The owners have created an informal space where they serve lovely food: steak tartare, devilled crab, deep and rich fish stew with chickpeas and rouille. It is unlicensed, but you can bring your own bottle.
ALL YOU CAN EAT
Shoreditch’s restaurants just keep getting better, and The Clove Club and Lyles are amongst the best. The former is situated in the grand Shoreditch Town Hall, where McHale serves his five-course set menu. Locals tip, prop yourself up the bar as the snacks come à la carte.
I’LL HAVE A PINT PLEASE
The Bricklayers Arms and The Owl and Pussy Cat are still amongst Shoreditch’s best proper pubs in the area.
Bricklayers Arms, 63 Charlotte Rd, Hackney, London EC2A 3PE
SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED
Over on City Road, the prohibition-style speakeasy, Nightjar plays live jazz and swing most nights, and has an excellent cocktail list. The short but inspired cocktail list includes cult favourites such as the ‘Tokyo Collins’, and a twist on the traditional Dark ‘n’ Stormy, the ‘Perfect Storm’.
The star of the Shoreditch bar scene is, Happiness Forgets, a small, speakeasy bar in a tiny low-lit basement.
Members’ clubs Shoreditch House and The Curtain are home to some of London’s best rooftop bars. The buzzing Queen of Hoxton, has an impressive roof terrace, which is kitted out with a teepee in the winter, and this place has no membership rules.