Dalston and Shoreditch
Photo: Venla Shalin
All Rights Reserved
Gritty and grungy with hidden gems
Word to the wise: The 24-hour 149 bus route is the lifeline of this area. Starting at London Bridge, it passes Liverpool Street, Spitalfields, Shoreditch and Dalston, ending at Stoke Newington, all for GBP 2.30.
Popular plate: Kingsland Road is lined with Vietnamese restaurants selling great budget food with a Bring Your Own booze policy.
Shoreditch became such a mecca for uber-cool, skinny-jean wearing hipster kids that they made a TV series satirising them, called Nathan Barley. These days you're just as likely to find bankers from the City as Shoreditch-ites pouring out of the innumerable bars, pubs and restaurants. Nonetheless, it remains a hub of nightlife offering everything from dress-up-and-dance burlesque parties to dirty underground raves, with the more unusual offerings up towards Dalston.
Dalston doesn’t look like much from the outside – the Kingsland road is lined with Pound Stores, Turkish kebab joints and mobile phone kiosks – but hidden between these are underground drinking dens, music venues and budget eats. Traditionally a Jewish area, it absorbed immigrants from every community, transforming it into a multi-ethnic enclave, now also home to the arty types that were priced out of Brick Lane.
Ridley Road market sums it up: typical East End fruit and veg stands are sandwiched between stalls selling pig’s trotters and giant African snails, while across the road is an underground drinking den.