The East of London is becoming synonymous with all things trendy, hip, and unusual. Which are the very reasons you should take the time to explore what is on offer. Most people are sceptical of a slightly rundown part of London Town being hailed as the cool place to be- with trendies and hipsters coining it as the place to be it can all seem a little pretentious.
Don't get me wrong, it is a little ostentatious, but London is about variety and what you will defiantly get in Hoxton is new and exciting places that have a quirky edge you just won't find anywhere else.
So, look past all the students and wannabes and go and enjoy the whole day and evening in a cultured and arty part of town. Head on the Northern Line to Old Street and then start your journey- everywhere is in easy walking distance [15 to 20 mins walk max]
The Breakfast Club: We all know that the best start to the day is a good wholesome breakfast. So what better place to have one than the Breakfast Club?! A place that is open until late, so you are welcome to have lunch or dinner but I recommend being a purist and going for breakfast here. It's a diner meets London café. Think cute décor, pancakes and bacon, smoothies and tea. The best way to start your day in my opinion.
Spitalfield's Market: After an extravagant gut-bashing at breakfast you're probably feeling ready to hit the road, stretch your legs and let your pancakes digest. Head over to the Spitalfield's Market. It's pretty much a straight route from The Breakfast Club and will take approximately 13 minutes to walk. At the market you'll find an array of stalls selling vintage clothes, cakes, fudge, books, music and just about anything you can think of. There is also a main high street as you exit the market where you will find the likes of: Office, Urban Outfitters, All Saints and Cath Kidston. Spend a few hours perusing and shopping until you're ready for a rest and a spot of lunch. It's important to remember the markets are not open Monday or Saturday.
You'll be able to find lunch in the markets there is a square in the centre with a Wagamama, the real Greek and a Nandos nearby. You'll also be right next to the delightful Poppie's Fish and Chip shop which I mentioned in another review here. Try out the food stalls inside the market offering a selection of Chinese, curry, falafels and everything in between.
Lounge Bohemia: After lunch head back the way you came from towards where you started at the Breakfast Club. Head up Commercial Street and about 6 minutes up from the market you will find the uber cool Lounge Bohemia. You're now back on Great Eastern Street and in the coolest place in town. Don't bother heading to their website it is rather cryptic. You can call ahead to book a table at 07720707000 or just chance it and turn up at the door- although be polite because they can turn you away. This place is probably the most pretentious on the list but still worth a visit. A Czech modernist bar come 1920's speakeasy will greet you serving the most exuberant cocktails. Suits are banned here to rid of the city vibe- strictly casual. Try out the Bubble Bath Martini which comes complete with a rubber duck and the Old Castro which is served with A Cuban cigar [a fake one] and vanilla candy floss. An eye opening wonderful and weird experience. The ambience is cool, discreet and a little bit mean. Sounds crazy right?
The Book Club: Once you're done with the coolest cocktails in town head north up Great Eastern Street for a 5 minute stroll and you'll find the nerdy named Book Club bar and club. Dubbed the bar, restaurant and general playground for adults you're sure to have some fun here on any night of the week. Open every night until midnight and Thursday, Friday and Saturday until 2am you should check the listing before you go to see what's happening. This place is nonchalant and relaxed day to night you are welcome to eat, drink and chill. The evenings play host to anything from a club night, speed dating, workshops and art exhibitions- choose a night that suits you. Head to their website.
The Breakfast Club [again but different…]: For my last tip I recommend you head back to The Breakfast Club and ask to speak to the Mayor. Wait, I haven't gone mad, this is East London, remember. If you're lucky enough, the Mayor may take a liking to you and led you to the retro Smeg fridge door. If there are enough empty tables or if you have booked you will be lead through the fridge door down the stairs and into the not so secret Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town Speakeasy bar. Majorly quirky once again but very friendly service and a diner style menu if you fancy some chilli fries with your drinks before your journey home. This is another bar where cocktails are a must.
So hopefully I've given you a rough plan of a day of eating, shopping and drinking in some of East London's hidden gems.
Dress casually, the fashion can be try hard in East but its certainly not smart. Look for inconspicuous doors for the coolest bars Refer to google maps if you feel lost Everything is in walking distance