Tony Blair once said that this bit of Dalston was on ‘the wrong side of Kingsland Road’. But what does Tony Blair know? It’s been 30 years since he lived round here, and these days the quieter half of Dalston has a huge amount of cool stuff going on. Although it’s not half as famous as its noisy neighbours Kingsland Road and Mare Street, anyone bouncing through the area will have found themselves on the long and winding Lane at some point. Back when Dalston was a tiny hamlet this was its high street, and it still follows the same bendy route from Dalston Junction up to Lower Clapton Road, via Queensbridge Road, Ridley Road and Hackney Downs Overground station.
At the Dalston end you’ll find a lively overspill from the main drag. Things get slightly more sedate as the Lane winds towards Hackney Downs, but it’s still peppered with clusters of interesting places, from swanky new wine bars to old-school pubs, all of them serving Dalstonites old and new. Like the rest of Hackney, Dalston Lane has seen its fair share of change over the last few years, including the hotly-contested demolition of a prominent Georgian terrace. But there’s still plenty of real London life going on in this unique corner of the city. Soz, TB – this is the place to be.
As much ibérico ham and raw milk cheese as you can afford at Furanxo: a deli by day and natural wine bar by night.
A hangover-banishing breakfast at hip, all-day greasy spoon Hash E8.
Ottolenghi-style salads, healthy(ish) weekend fry-ups and evening tapas at Café Route, just off the Lane in Dalston Square.
An extreme caffeine hit at Allpress Espresso. This roastery and café roasts its joe onsite and also serves substantial (if pricy) sarnies and pastries.
A pint of real ale over a game of bar billiards at the unpretentious Pembury Tavern.
A glass of Borough-sourced vino at L’Entrepôt, an industrial-chic bar with a formidable list.
A seasonal cocktail or three at Wolfie’s tiny wine bar, a stumble away down Greenwood Road.
Catch some comedy, dance to ’20s jazz, play Scrabble or just have a drink at Farr’s School of Dancing.
Watch TV with a pint and a pub crowd at The Three Compasses. It’s currently showing the new ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Twin Peaks’.
Hear experimental music by a band you’ve never heard of at Cafe Oto, around the corner on Ashwin Street.
Catch a performance at the Arcola Theatre, also on Ashwin Street. Tickets are cheap and there’s always something interesting on.
Beautiful Scandi mid-mod furniture and stylish homewares at Chase & Sorensen. Start saving up now.
Organic veg, locally made peanut butter and non-harmful cleaning products at Healthy Stuff.
Fresh produce grown in the heart of Dalston at Farm: Shop, a mini-urban farm with micro fish farming, a plant shop, workspace and café.
Art books at Banner Repeater bookshop and gallery. You’ll find it on platform one of Hackney Downs Overground station.
And if you only do one thing…
Duck in to Dalston Eastern Curve Garden. At this community space and urban oasis you can learn to garden, eat pizza, drink wine, hear live music or just enjoy the peaceful greenery.