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I moved to London from NYC in September 2015. I was happy to find that my new neighborhood was the London equivalent of my old home: the Lower East Side in Manhattan.
I was immediately fascinated with the cool hipster stores, the graffiti art (be sure to check out Rivington street to see a Banksy — although there are multiple around the area!), and the sheer amount of bars and clubs. In comparison to the suburbs I knew from growing up in West London, my flat in Shoreditch felt like living in the heart of the city.
Bars, pubs, clubs and trendy young hipsters are what Shoreditch is known for. We found our local pub and sports bar quite quickly. Down the street we could go for a nice Guiness at the Corner Shop
, or if we fancy watching a football match in a crowded sports bar, Bar Kick next door is always lively.
Fancy a nice date? Joyeux Bordel
is a lovely French bar with great cocktails and an intimate speakeasy feel. Or if you want to do something a bit more upscale, the rooftop of the boundary hotel is a beautiful place to get food and drinks.
But if we want to properly go out, we are blessed with an array of options to fit our mood. Heavy club night? XOYO or Village Underground.
XOYO has the feel of an underground club, with newer to more mainstream DJs playing, whereas Village Underground (the spot where Drake played a surprise performance after the Brit Awards 2016) really mixes it up with the type of music and crowd attending. The Golden Bee is also a great mixture of a bar/ club with a nice rooftop and good music playing until quite late.
Where to eat
Now speaking of food (because nothing beats traveling with your stomach): you also have a plethora of options in Shoreditch. Blues Kitchen, which is part of a small chain in London, offers some of the best barbecue food you can find this side of the pond. It also features live bands at nighttime for a fun night out. But if you feel like mixing it up, Smokey Tails
in Hoxton square offers amazing fried chicken and Southern comfort food. Fun fact: The restaurant is owned and operated by famous DJ Seth Troxler (who sometimes even DJs in the back!).
and Dinerama are two outdoor/ indoor eateries with a variety of pop up food stands. You can also get a drink or three inside and be treated to a nice bit of music or performances by locals.
Dishoom, also part of a small chain in London, is phenomenal for a nice Indian meal. But if you crave a cheaper option for rich Indian spice, Brick Lane, just a short walk away, is famed for their balti houses. Locals debate over the best, with my vote falling for Aladin
*Quick interlude from Nathan* —
If you’re in Brick Lane, get a salt beef bagel with mustard at Beigel Bake
. Say hi to Gerard for me if you see him.
Hows about burgers? Haché
and Patty and Bun split the prize. Pizza? Pizza East and Voodoo Rays almost live up to the New York standard. Italian food? Burro e Salvia
is literally making my mouth water as I type.
If you manage to survive the eating, drinking and nightlife, Shoreditch has become a beautiful area to walk around as well. Originally in an impoverished area, the council has made an effort to make Shoreditch clean and safe. The crowd who have moved in have also led to the area becoming gentrified over the past decade.
I give tourist friends two general walking routes: South and North. If you walk south along Shoreditch high street, you will make it to Liverpool Street, Spitalfields, Leadenhall Market, Bank, and eventually the Thames. The walk to the river only takes around 25 – 30 minutes, and in this time, you can see a lot of touristy sites around the east part of the city. If you walk North of Shoreditch, you will hit Regents Canal, which you can walk along to find cool pubs, restaurants, dogs, bikers and runners. Along the canal, you can either walk east towards Victoria Park and Hackney (where there are some fun breweries), or West towards the bustling areas of Angel and Kings Cross.
*Nathan here* – Also, anything you do in Hackney becomes a clever pun, until it’s not anymore, and then it’s just hackneyed (sorry, had to say it).
Lastly, one would be crazy to speak of Shoreditch and East London without mentioning the famed Columbia Street Flower market. Taking place on Sunday mornings, Columbia street fills with local vendors selling different types of flowers. The market may be packed, but is a fun place to bring a date, buy some flowers and maybe an antique or two from the stores around the market area.
is a relatively new transplant to London, having moved from the US in September 2015. Growing up in San Diego (and going to the same high school as Nathan!) he attended UCLA, graduating with a degree in Economics and Political Science. Post UCLA, he began his career at United Talent Agency in the Beverly Hills office assisting in representing TV actors and actresses. Through UTA, he moved to New York where he spent a year before moving back to his parents home country — England. Sahil now works at Channel 4 on a variety of projects across the company.
tags: things to do in london, shoreditch, cool neighborhoods in london, hipsters, where do hipsters go in london?