Shoreditch is one of London's trendiest, most popular areas, and is even more so buzzing on a night out. It's easy to get overwhelmed and not know where to go, let alone where to begin your night. I'm sharing my fail-safe itinerary that almost always ends up in being a night to remember (and most importantly, free from overly stuffed and cramped venues).
If you want to meet up with friends and start your night out with some good food before a night of non-stop partying, then your night has to start at Blues Kitchen. If the perfect combination of booze and barbecue doesn't get you in the perfect night out mood, then their hand-picked live music acts definitely will. If the stars are aligned, Atlantic Soul Orchestra will be the only thing able to pull you away from your burnt ends and whiskey sour and up onto the dance floor. If reading this, you think this should be the be all and end all for your night, check out my full review on what a night devoted to the Blues Kitchen looks like here.
I've had a few nights at Catch, which you can read about here. While it's not always worth devoting your entire night to (like some of the other places on this list), Catch is the perfect place to down a few drinks, get your body moving, and your energy flowing. The ground floor offers a great transition area with booths to sit in at the front, a bar, and a small dance floor where they play a mix of throwback favourites and Radio 1 jams. If you're ready to full on party, head upstairs where it offers more of a club vibe, with another bar, a more uptempo DJ, and a huge dance floor with plenty room to start dancing the night away! Just be aware that Catch closes a bit sooner that some of the other places in Shoreditch, closing its doors at 2am.
Onward and Upward
The party doesn't stop at Translate
So by now you've had you're taste of barbecue, live music, DJs, and shots, so naturally I'm going to lead you to another stop, perhaps the best of this bunch on a night out. Translate is a mere two doors down from Catch, making it foolproof to get to even if that last shot at Catch has left you stumbling. Translate is the best place to be once you've got a bit of a buzz on. Why? Three key reasons...
Reason number one: Translate has easily some of the best tasting cocktails in Shoreditch. Honestly, its crazy how incredible these taste. Every time I go in, I make sure to order a different drink each time and I have never been disappointed (and to be honest I'm kind of a drink snob, so that's really saying something).
Reason number two: The people (and bartenders) in Translate are the friendliest and most fun group of people you're likely to encounter on a night out. Everything is canteen style so you're definitely going to make a slew of new friends both intentionally and unintentionally. I don't know what it is about this place, but it's the ultimate embodiment of Good Vibes Only.
Reason number three: The DJs at Translate definitely know what they're doing. They don't suffer the awkward transitions a lot of smaller bars and clubs do, instead its a seamless mix of hit after hit of songs you love and songs you forgot you loved. They also are always down to try to work in a request (within reason).
There are two downsides to Translate. The first is that there isn't a real dance floor, there's just a kind of space in the entry way and space between tables, but if there's a will, there's a way, and you can definitely still find space to dance here. Second is that is closes at 3am, but they stop letting people in at 2am. So if you closed out Catch, don't expect to make it into Translate.
Now, depending on the night and your energy level, you have three options. For the first, if you're energy is still high, you can join the heavy grinding and rave-crazy partiers at Cargo (but if this was the scene you were looking for all night you should've just started here). Cargo is a trance and house laden madhouse (in the best possible way) complete with black lights and multiple giant dance floors. But beware, Cargo always comes with a hefty entrance fee. Expect to pay around £20-£30 to get in unless you manage to find a promoter with a wristband to give you.
Your second option is to succumb to the arms of Mother (the bar). While definitely not the best place to go out to, it's one of the only places left open (check out my review here). It provides a good place to chill out with plenty of booths on the ground floor to wind down, have one final drink, and sort out how you're getting home.
Your third and final option, if you're completely drained by the night you have, is to skip Cargo and Mother, and head straight for the nearest night tube, bus, or uber. You will have had quite the night, after all!