Home to hipster beards, trendily odd garb, here-today-gone-tomorrow nightclubs and tech-savvy start-ups, Shoreditch has in recent years firmly established itself as the most happening, with-it and – at times – intriguingly weird area of London. Sometimes compared to the more out-there bits of New York’s Brooklyn, it’s flavoured by an East End edge, for sure, but also something else – a creative buzz, a spirit of independent style and something almost intangible too. Here are some of its best bits to discover right now…
View the street art…
One of the most popular facets of Shoreditch, embodying its youthful vigour and colourful vibrancy, is its art. But unlike other parts of the capital where you step inside a gallery to check out artworks, here you stroll about the area, discovering them on the brick walls, under bridges and down alleyways. Shoreditch’s street art is renowned throughout the world among enthusiasts and it’s best to walk from slap-bang in the centre of the district to Brick Lane in the East End proper to get the full effect – the best graffiti’s arguably to be found in and around Redchurch Street. And for those who prefer something a little more conventional (a tour of the artworks, that is), download the Yplan app for a street art-themed walking tour.
… then eat the street food
After goggling at all its graffiti, you may want to take the über-urban experience further by trying some of Shoreditch’s street food. The best examples include Food Village (187 Shoreditch High Street), famed for its brilliant burritos and stonking steak sandwiches, and the Pump Street Food Market (168 Shoreditch High Street), which not only offers a thoughtful seating area but also a diverse range of grub, such as Japanese hot dogs. Yes, that’s right; Japanese hot dogs. There’s also Boxpark (2 Bethnal Green Road), of course, which was the world’s first ever pop-up food stall and has proved such a hit that it now also offers shopping and drink. Indeed, in addition to the street food and alcohol, it vends everything from popular and unusual brands to organic juice for those of a healthy disposition.
Treat yourself to boutiques
To get the most out of the Shoreditch shopping experience, it probably helps if you’re something of a modern aesthete (read: a hip, young thing). That’s because the majority of the outlets are small boutiquey places catering to stylish accessories and alt lifestyles. Redchurch Street (again) is a real haven if this sounds right up your, er, street, filled as it with shops selling cutting-edge, contemporary fashion as well as intriguing perfume labs. Granted, not all of us are hip, young things, but its shopping is just one of several major reasons to visit the area and experience the London Shoreditch attractions – especially if you’re curious and if you’ve made your base during a trip to the city accommodation near Brewery Road London City.
Dip into independent cinema
Shoreditch cinema’s is about as far away from the multiplex experience as you can get. You may well have visited laid-back art-house cinemas before and, while the area’s offerings aren’t dissimilar to many of these, some boast that ‘Shoreditch something different’ – that is, they also double as performance spaces. Take Richmix (35-47 Bethnal Green Road), for example; which offers very comfortable cinema seats, while also being a platform for emerging artists. Alternatively, the Electric Cinema (64-66 Redchurch Street) is all about luxury – couches, bottles of wine and, yes, even blankets – definitely the way to catch all four epic hours of Lawrence of Arabia, surely?
Nightlife like nowhere else
Traditionally speaking, Shoreditch has always been something of an entertainment area. Being this is the down-at-heel East End, that used to mean theatres and brothels, like it or not; nowadays, though, it means quirkily weird and wonderful bars and clubs such as The Book Club. A little oddly, there are no books in The Book Club (100-106 Leonard Street). Instead, this restaurant/ café-cum-bar/ club offers up table tennis and terrific cocktails.
Meanwhile, the more fittingly named Bar Kick (127 Shoreditch High Street) is the place to head for watching that big football (or soccer) match on a huge plasma screen. However, it’s no traditional sports bar – testament to that’s the delightful presence of fussball tables that make for a fine half-time distraction. Finally, if you’re up for some proper late-night clubbing (which, maybe surprisingly, isn’t actually all that easy to do in London) then 333Mother – at 333 Old Street – is the mother of late-night venues, rarely closing before 4.30am. Rave away!