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My Favourite Things to Do in East London | It’s Time to Get Weird

Last updated on November 28, 2019

I won’t mince my words here, there’s nothing handsome about East London. In fact, forget everything you think you know about London, East London ain’t that. It’s not even close. But it is grimy and overtly hedonistic in the most seductive of ways.

Truman Brewery Street Food Market, Shoreditch, London

Unapologetically pretentious, it’s a place where graffitied brick walls separate the weird people who live here from the mundane mafia that owns the rest of the city. Think of it as a multi-cultural melting pot that’s been set to boil over a volcano, ejaculating liquid cool all over the place and melting your preconceptions into oblivion.

If that hasn’t scared you half to death, here are a few of my personal recommendations on the best things to do in East London…

1. Keep it Kosher with Bagels and Builders’ Tea

Beigel Bake Begel Shop Brick Lane East London

Brick Lane’s modest and unassuming Beigel Bake has become somewhat of an East London institution. It’s filled with the soulful smells of 24/7 baking and the quiet rumble of happy hipsters and jovial Jews. Splash out on one of these little baked beauties with salted beef and mustard or cream cheese and salmon – hell, have one of each: they’re cheap enough! And be sure to wash it all down with a cup of their proper builders’ tea, which they serve in old-school polystyrene cups, just the way it should be.

Brick Lane Beigel Bake, 159 Brick Lane, E1 6SB
Nearest Tube Stop: Shoreditch High Street

2. Indulge in Global Cuisine and Urban Art

World Food Market in Shoreditch, London

The Old Truman Brewery is a large industrial building, repurposed as a minimalist commercial space where independent retailers and food stalls rule. Not much has been done to soften the building’s haggard appearance and it still has an air of abandonment about it, which only adds to its enigmatic urban chic. Buy a record – yes, a vinyl record – wade your way through piles of vintage clothing and spend some time trying to decide what to eat for lunch at the famous Sunday UpMarket. With dozens of artisan food stalls offering authentic global gastronomy, it’ll probably take you longer than you might think.

The Old Truman Brewery, Ely’s Yard, 15 Hanbury St, London E1 6QR
Nearest Tube Stop: Shoreditch High Street

3. Get Crafty at a Local Watering Hole

Well and Bucket Oyster Bar East London

It’s no surprise that the bearded youth of East London have claimed the city’s booming craft beer movement as their own. The area is now home to some of the best craft beer houses in London, serving international classics as well as local specialty brews. Visit the elegant Well & Bucket pub, tucked away just off Brick Lane, where you can gulp down oysters whilst slurping away on a wide selection of IPAs, stouts and porters. With a monstrous selection of beers from Belgium to Japan, you might be here for some time.

Well and Bucket, 143 Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 7DG
Nearest Tube Stop: Shoreditch High Street

 4. Take a Break and Compose Yourself

Victoria Park, East London

After a day of bagels, burgers and beers, Victoria Park’s plush green lawns offer the perfect excuse to relax and take a quick break from all the sauntering, eating and drinking. Kick back, take a nap, hire a pedalo, it’s time to rest up and prepare for a big night out – East London style.

Nearest Tube Stop: Mile End or Bethnal Green

5. Get Grimy with Live Music in Dalston

Shacklewell Arms East London Live Music

Dalston is, perhaps, the epitome of East London cool. It’s an eclectic mix of dive bars, Turkish restaurants and happenin’ music venues, providing the perfect backdrop for a grimy night out on the tiles. Start your night off with a few jars of your favourite poison in one of the many pubs and bars along the infamous Kingsland Road High Street. Once your morals and inhibitions have been sufficiently smothered, it’s time to move onto a venue where you can listen to live indie bands, weird experimental music or jazz at the likes of The Shacklewell Arms, Café Oto and the Vortext Jazz Club.

Nearest Tube Stop: Dalston Kingsland railway station

Got more questions about East London? Like my Facebook page and ask away, my friend…

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