London has a strange mix of adoration and disdain for Shoreditch, an area often associated with hipsters and expensive coffee. And yet...tucked inside the triangle of Shoreditch, and its surrounding squares and streets, is a world away from Westminster’s gothic and Soho’s tourism. Shoreditch may no longer be the home of excessively cool alternatives – they were priced out years ago – and the chains are certainly peppered through its streets, but it has a very distinctive and loved vibe all unto itself.
Forget the nightlife of bottles and balloon canisters littering the streets - Shoreditch is another world at 9am. FRAME’s power yoga starts at the break of day while Curtain Road has the unmistakable scent of roasted coffee beans and the florist’s freshly cut stems permeate the air outside the Ace Hotel.
Hungry? For a fresh start relax at Lelia’s Shop off Arnold Circus with sublime fresh juices, go light with some granola and yoghurt at The Book Club, head to Clutch for all your poultry and egg needs or discover the utterly scrumptious breakfast naans at Dishoom. On weekends head up Hoxton street and dive into one of 100 Hoxton’s weekend brunches.
Caffeine, Pastries and Wifi
Shoreditch takes its caffeine hit seriously, from early risers to bartenders stocking up before their night shifts. There are ample places to grab a Flat White on the go or meet friends over iced lattes in the summer. Try Allpress Espresso Bar on Redchurch Street, Origin Coffee Roasters on Charlotte Road or Slate on Curtain Road. Emails to send? Nestle down at Fix 126 on Curtain Road for some outstanding coffee and a good work vibe or the Ace Hotel’s lobby which has quickly become a hub of freelancers. The only caveat being everyone has a Mac. Everyone.
8 Hoxton Square
From light bites and healthy salads to hangover cures and foreign cuisines, Shoreditch at 1pm has plenty to offer. Make weekday plans for Rochelle Canteen with its short daily-changing menu of dishes such as squid, fennel and rocket stew or courgettes, oregano and polenta. On the Bap serves up great Korean street food - don’t leave without trying the yangyum chicken with crushed peanut or their specality ‘on the buns’ with meat or vegetable filling inside a soft doughy casing. 8 Hoxton Square is a superb little restaurant which throws its doors open come summer and boasts a killer wine list or head to Andina which makes some of the best ceviche and small grilled dishes this side of the equator.
The party is over, the bridge and tunnel Saturday night crowd have gone home, leaving only their dignity and a few crushed cans behind. Sunday sees Shoreditch locals re-emerging for lazy sessions and generous helpings of good food. Booking is always recommended for the best pubs and you’re going to want to head to either the Well & Bucket or the Owl & Pussycat. Forgot to book? Eat downstairs at the Owl & Pussycat where it’s often quiet. Sure there’s no table service but it’s the same scrumptious meat, Yorkshire puddings and veg and you’re almost guaranteed a table.
Not on the high street
There’s a decided lack of Top Shops and Urban Outfitters in Shoreditch, instead wander along Redchurch Street for some designer boutiques and the hugely addictive T2, check out Glassworks for one-of-a-kind pieces and explore the changing trailers of Box Park.
As you walk the streets, particularly Redchurch Street, Rivington Street and Wheeler Street, stop and admire the impressive and ever changing street art.
Chicken, Steaks and Michelin Stars
Tramshed on Rivington Street
Fresh light seafood, heapings of warm creamy pasta, charred tender steaks, and wonderfully aromatic cheeses – dinner is served.
Hoi Polloi at the Ace Hotel is a great bet for modern British food or you can take your meat with a side of art and sit under Damien Hirst’s cow and chicken at Tramshed. Authentic Italian dishes are served at the atmospheric Bottega Prelibato and for stunningly cooked meats take a table at Jones Family Project. However Shoreditch’s beacon of cuisine has to be the ever brilliant Clove Club where a mouth-watering tasting menu will have your taste buds in rhapsody.
If you can blag / afford a membership at Shoreditch House then all power to you, the rooftop is incredible and you'll be able to enjoy that Aperol spritz beside the pool, lapping up any rare London sunshine. For everyone else it's queues at Boundary Rooftop which packs out very quickly on sunny afternoons. But it's completely worth the wait once you're seated on those plush sun chairs, bubbles in hand.
Shoreditch does food, art and shopping well but its calling card for the last five years has been cocktails. Go quirky or classic, boozy or light – whatever you’re after east London’s bartenders can and will deliver.
Keep things classic at the locals favourite Happiness Forgets, disappear through a wardrobe and experiment with flavours at the consistently great Callooh Callay, order quirky drinks at Cocktail Trading Co, or hunker down in one of Portside Parlour’s booths. Over at Joyeux Bordel the sound system is unparalleled and the Manhattans are sharp, or head to NOLA for some southern hospitality and American whiskey. Strongroom Bar & Kitchen, Howl at the Moon and Merchants Tavern have all your beer needs covered but if it’s a tight space crammed with fellow imbibers all throwing back copious amount of tequila and verdita then there’s only one destination; Casita.
Up All Night
Shoreditch throws one hell of a party if you learn to avoid the queues to Cargo. Get wild at London Cocktail Club, dance to live bands at Bedroom Bar or the Blues Kitchen (with a bourbon in hand), fantastic DJs at Joyeux Bordel or party to cheesy music at Barrio East. You'll have to pay to see awesome DJs at XOYO as they often book the best names in town, or go hang with the cool kids at The Book Club.