London's rapidly gentrifying East End is home to one of the city's must-go-now neighborhoods: Shoreditch. It's a compelling mix of restored brick warehouses, gritty street art, independent coffee houses, and ethnic restaurants. It may also be the most interesting place in London to shop now—hardly any chains, just a really diverse mix of British design, vintage clothing, young artisans, and more.
Here are the places we feel you shouldn't miss:
GRAB A BITE
Located in a former tea warehouse in the heart of the High street, this popular spot serves up brilliant wood-fired pizzas.
If you're looking for a modern British dining experience, Lyle's is the spot. James Lowe, one of the acclaimed chefs behind Young Turks Collective, is one of the hottest talents in town.
Described as a modern picanteria, Andina serves up Peruvian soul food, including the freshest ceviche, healthy juices, and Chicharron sandwiches. Having grown up in Lima, chef-owner Martin Morales was raised on Andean dishes inspired by his grandmother and the culture of his childhood.
GET A DRINK
Originally a late Victorian warehouse, this revamped space now houses a mix of restaurants, bars, a cafe, 12 guest rooms, and a gorgeous rooftop garden. The Rooftop Bar & Grill features a weatherproof pergola perfect for enjoying a glass of wine and an appetizer no matter how unpredictable the weather may be.
The Redchurch Bar
Punches, cocktails, and craft beers flow at this popular watering hole. Expect great live music on the weekends, comfy seats, and a welcoming atmosphere. You can't go wrong with a Redchurch Mojito or Espresso Martini.
The Old Shoreditch Station
Half cafe/bar and half exhibition/pop up shop venue, The Old Shoreditch Station occupies a former railway station office on Kingsland Road. During the day, the focus is on great coffee; come evening, whiskeys, wines and specialty beers are the thing. (And while you’re there, don’t miss Makers Cafe, a kind of collaborative workspace that aims to make 3D printing and laser-cutting accessible to anyone with a laptop, and Jaguar Shoes Collective, a bar/cafe and exhibition space.)
Allpress Espresso Coffee Roasters
On-site bean roasting is a focal point of this shop on Redchurch, which makes a mighty fine cup of espresso. Don't let the long line deter you—that coffee, paired with a slice of date and ricotta toast is well worth the wait.
This pop-up shopping and food mall on Bethnal Green—built from stripped and refitted shipping containers—was created by BoxFresh designer Roger Wade. There are more than 30 shops and restaurants with an eclectic mix of larger brands and smaller independent ones, including Wandering Minds (up-and- coming labels from the coolest cities around the globe) and Parla (a curated collection of Scandinavian and British jewelery designers).
This eclectic concept boutique on the High street inhabits a tiny 18th-century Clerk's House and showcases design talent from all over the world. From home accessories and art pieces, to shoes and handbags, Milk has its finger on the pulse of emerging design talents and the local fashion scene.
A favorite local hangout, this eclectic shop offers chic indie labels, a cafe, and a vintage beauty station. The "come as you are" atmosphere and friendly clerks invite you in to stay a while.
Labour and Wait
Outfit your home or find an original one-of-a-kind gift in this engaging housewares shop. While most of the goods are as useful as they are well designed, there is also the occasional quirky find, like a pinhole camera kit.
Maison Trois Garcons
The three talents behind the restaurant of the same name opened this decadent interiors shop/cafe on Redchurch Street after a strong showing at Dover Street Market.
Named after the line's British designer, Jason Denham, this Amsterdam-import on Charlotte Road showcases a top-notch denim collection in a nostalgic environment of rickety wooden floors and bare brickwork.
Here are a few more Shoreditch picks if you have some extra time, and you’re not yet walked out.
Only five minutes farther north on High St. is the Ace Hotel, home to the highly regarded restaurant, Hoi Polloi, boutique-style guest rooms, and nightly music at basement-locale Miranda. If you happen to stop by in the afternoon, grab an espresso from Bulldog Edition, the lobby cafe featuring Square Mile Coffee.
Old Spitalfields Market
Open seven days a week and featuring an array of shops and stalls, Old Spitalfields Market is so.much.fun. You'll find an array of indie designers selling fine furniture, textured knitwear, British-made suits, and traditional wooden toys. Come hungry because Old Spitalfields has more than 15 eclectic dining choices. Main market days are Thursday through Sunday.
A neighborhood grocer and a lovely cafe offering breakfast and lunch on bustling Calvert Ave., Leila's is the perfect spot to grab seasonal veggies, marcona almonds, and Chegworth Farm juices. Stop in for an order of rustic eggs and delicious bread at the cozy cafe and then go for a stroll at Boundary Gardens just a few steps away.
The area around Hoxton Square (though technically Hoxton) is the center of Shoreditch street art. Spend some time exploring the the area, and get lost in the White Cube Gallery, Carl Freedman Gallery, and Hoxton Gallery.
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Map illustration by Charmagne Kringstein