London’s East End has always been the infamous side of town. If in the past it was due to Jack the Ripper, today it’s due to the artsy, culturally innovative atmosphere and collaborative creative communities that have settled here. London’s most eclectic crowd chooses to get its creative fix in the hood: Shoreditch, Hackney, Bethnal Green.
The area has been reinvented and is continuously surprising the most skeptics of its critics – the gentrification argument is always used to predict the demise of the area.
But fear not, the East End has kept its toughness and inventiveness since the Huguenots built their elegant houses in Spitalfields and the hipsters settled their barricades of cool hangouts and breakfast bars down Hoxton Square.
The neighbourhood has been gaining an ever greater influx of creatives from around the world and indeed the area is the most exciting to look out for new artists, designs and to source out what is up and coming in urban culture.
With an array of fantastic restaurants, cool bars, boutiques and markets there is an experience to fit every taste and budget. After all, the East End has always had a tradition of welcoming the new – it is an identity so strong that will leave you a little bit more open than when you arrived. That’s the magic of discovering a new neighbourhood, in a new town – it changes you a bit.
The Ace Hotel Shoreditch
The coolest of the hotels has to be in the coolest places in the world and it wouldn’t be different in London. The Ace Hotel branch in Shoreditch is in the middle of the happening. In an industrial building that once was an uninspiring business hotel, the place has been reborn with innovative design, beautiful lighting and an adventurous cultural calendar of events – a trademark of the ACE brand.
Rooms are designed to be luxurious and innovative, taking inspiration from the urban heritage of the building and the area. The hotel counts with a funky boutique, a gorgeous flower shop and the wonderful Hoi Polloi restaurant, from London’s pop-up dining scene entrepreneur Pablo Flack.
Beach Blanket Babylon
A restaurant, gallery and club, Beach Blanket Babylon Shoreditch is a space to see and be seen. With its array of events in the summer, the happenings at the gorgeous marble bar and atmospheric lounge space, you better have your dancing shoes ready for the after dinner party.
In a converted warehouse, the space has an atmospheric Gaudi-esque feel to it. The menu is a British affair, with locally source produce and inventive take on classics, complemented by great cocktails – try the Porn Star Martini, a London creation by mixologist Douglas Ankrah. For the summer you can ‘Host your own Roast’, a feast for 5 to 18 guests, with a bohemian artisan vibe all through it: think bottomless Bloody Marys and live music.
Cereal Killer Cafe
Remember those wonderful cozy mornings when you used to listen to the chocolate rice krispies pop when your mama poured milk on top of your favorite cereal – awaiting eagerly to savior the chocolate infused milk? Bliss!
Cereal Killer Café, the brainchild of quirky and cool entrepreneurs – the twins – Gary and Alan Keery, is the Vatican for cereal lovers. Be on your most nostalgic behavior when you contemplate over 120 types of cereal offerings that can be combined with 30 different varieties of milk and 20 toppings. Well worth a visit just for that!
Imagine yourself back in the 80s and early 90s in this memorabilia filled space full of classics: Rice Krispies, Frosties, Special K and Scooby Doo. Don’t hyperventilate and finish your cereal sweetheart!
LN-CC, short for Late Night Chameleon Café, in Dalston is a concept space curated to showcase not only the best in menswear and womenswear, with brands like Saint Laurent or Givenchy, but also up and coming designers. The store consists of individual product rooms, a library, record store, gallery and club space with ever changing displays and exhibitions. One will always be gladly surprised and stimulated by its commitment to the new.
Visits are by appointment only and the experience is totally personalized – even if it takes a little while for you to find the unmarked store entrance that should be fine – it is part of the charm.
Created by acclaimed set designer and illustrator Gary Gard, the interiors are surprising spaces constructed of raw materials with special attention to the tunnel like entrance that ushers you into a revolution in shopping experience.
With its array of emerging designers, artists and music, the space feels more like a hybrid art gallery fashion store, depending to where you turn your eyes. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, the maze with its tunnels and spaces, as the store is not only for shoppers – you can just come down to listen to music or hang out, an experience like no other.
Written by Francois Correia