Somewhere along the main road that runs straight from Shoreditch all the way up to Seven Sisters, the neighbourhood shakes off its chaotic Dalston vibes and eases into the more peaceful, grownup streets of Stoke Newington. Here, stretching towards the up and coming Clapton and down the well-established Church Street, is a community filled with independent pubs, cocktail bars and cafes.
For new businesses Stoke Newington is still very much on the rise, and for each old and weary shop that closes its doors you can be certain its replacement will be a bar or restaurant with a bit of capital behind it. As the area fills its apartments and terrace rows with an increasingly young and professional population, living here has become the peaceful option within east London’s creative mecca.
Breakfast & Brunch
Start your morning off in Esters, a bright neighbourhood coffeehouse, with a well-made Flat White or Americano and slice of something sweet. Moments away The Good Egg is another excellent choice with a New York and Middle Eastern influenced menu of eggy treats and veggie delights from the house beef salami hash to their homemade granola. We’re also a great fan of the Green Room Café, simply squeeze yourself through the florist at its front and you’ll find a cosy back garden with a short and sweet menu, perfect for those cravings of pastries and poached eggs and avocado. There’s also something completely charming about enjoying a lazy breakfast surrounded by stunning flowers.
A great spot to grab a sourdough sandwich or eggs and chickpeas on focaccia is Finger’s Crossed, a small café perched on Amhurst Road. Post 11.30am the Haberdashery turns into a great lunch destination as well, selling beautiful salads, delicious Scandinavian meatballs, soups and tasty sandwiches.
At the weekend you must go past Apollo, one of the area’s best pizza spots, and also very possibly one of London’s. Think beautiful fresh ingredients, an independent business run with lashings of passion and some of the best pizza you’ll find outside of Naples. It’s only open on the weekends for lunch but will serve you each night of the week as well and luckily there’s also a Franco Manca up the road if it’s 12pm on Monday and you’re craving a slice of Margherita.
The Prince on Kynaston Road is another of DrinkUp’s favourites. This gorgeous pub works with great local suppliers and small batch producers, and offers wonderful seasonal food that hits the spot each and every Saturday lunch.
Pub culture is what Stoke Newington does best. The Jolly Butchers is perhaps the most well known, lauded for its incredible beer selection and great homemade pub grub as they affectionately call it. Sticking true to the beer-theme however you’ll find many of their guest beers and ciders end up in the kitchen, from the cider sauce for the chicken or the beer and honey glaze for the pork belly. There’s plenty of choose from here come Sunday, including lamb shank, rib eye, roast chicken, pork loin and even a nut roast, all served with Yorkshire pudding, broccoli, fine beans, carrots, red cabbage, roasted potatoes and home made gravy.
The White Heart is another of the area’s best loved Sunday Roast spots, with even more veggie options including their wild mushroom and stilton wellington. Meat eaters can feast on beautifully roasted chicken, Waveney Valley pork belly, Hereford Topside of beef or a Welsh leg of lamb.
More great pizza from Stoke Newington, this time from the wonderful people at L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele. The original in Naples you may remember from Eat, Pray, Love when the character played by Julia Roberts declared after just one bite that she was "having a relationship with my pizza.” This Stoke Newington outcrop may not be an exact replica of the Italian site but it comes in at a close second, and this from Neopolitan Ludovica Attanasio, a self-professed pizza lover who’s visited the original many times, and who rated London's take against the first “temple of pizza” for the Evening Standard.
Escaping the Italian culture that seems to have spread across the neighbourhood, there’s a tasty selection of Spanish / Catalan cuisine available at Escocesa on Stoke Newington Church Street. Whether it’s a selection of super fresh prawns or oysters served at the counter or a big serve of paella, served with a bottle of wine or a tasty G&T from their extensive drinks list, you’ll find this small restaurant makes a great dinner spot with pals. Along the same street is Rasa, focusing on South Indian culture and food. You’ll find unique dishes a million miles away from your average Korma, and it’s a brilliant take away option of locals as well.
Situated on Cazenove Road you’ll find The Lacy Nook, a real favourite of DrinkUp’s, serving dishes inspired by flavours from the team’s travels. Think harrisa smoked aubergine, sweet soy marinated chicken and beef cevapi. The Lacy Nook also doubles as a great destination for wine, with a list carefully selected to match their dishes and enhance the delicate flavours with every sip.
It wasn’t all that long ago that Stoke Newington had little to recommend itself for ardent cocktail lovers. Today that story has completely changed and for those lucky enough to live here there’s some serious world class talent right on your door step, starting off with the incredible Mint Gun Club. Opened by a stellar bartender named Rich Hunt this beautiful spot opens as a stunning tea parlour during the day before starting on the well-crafted aperitifs and finishing the night with some seriously delicious, and at times punchy, cocktails. Plates and nibbles are equally worth investing in.
Across the road you have Original Sin, sister bar to Hoxton Square’s famous Happiness Forgets. This basement space is moody, elegant and boasts one of the finest pool tables in the area. Head down for booth seating, great classic cocktails and of course, a round or two of pool. Back down the main road you’ll discover Fontaine’s, a glamorous and decadent art deco bar serving boozy historical classics that keeps the mood swinging until 1am come the weekend.
Late Night / Party
This may not be Dalston but Stoke Newington isn’t shy of a party or two. Victory Mansion is the place to be till 2am come the weekends, with some banging drinks, tunes and plenty of fun locals to meet. Once the party is over however there’s always Stoke Newington’s 24-hour bagel shop to help you on your way home.