Lucky old Whitechapel. They get to have the gorgeous Genesis as their local. Not only is it cheap, but it's also been beautifully renovated in the past two years by guys who design film sets for a living (try knocking the bricks upstairs on the mezzanine level). The end result is pretty much a perfect local cinema, where you’ll find proper old East End ladies drinking coffee next to cool kids on laptops in the café. There’s a bar upstairs, and if you want to fill your face, you’re in for a treat. Choose between crodoughs from nearby 100-year-old bakery Rinkoffs, or the snack bar with a wall of Pick ’n’ Mix or jumbo hotdogs from World’s Wurst (terrible name, brilliant bangers, from £3.90). Book seats in the Studio 5 boutique screening room with armchairs and a cosy bar for a date.
Recently saved from threatened closure, Shoreditch's independent cultural centre houses three cinema screens alongside exhibition and performance spaces and a cafe/bar. Run as a charity, it's a vibrant arts hub and any given week could see it hosting an assortment of music gigs, theatre shows, art exhibitions, themed festivals and all manner of workshops. Families are well catered for with weekly parent and baby cinema screenings of the latest films, a family cinema club with affordable tickets and the fortnightly Wiggly Jigglers active play session for under-twos. Local residents with a Tower Hamlets Libraries or Ideas Store card get discounted entry to cinema screenings.
Formerly the Aubin, this snug little cinema is now part of the Soho House group (which also owns the gorgeous Electric Portobello). Everything about the Electric Shoreditch exudes luxury, from the leather armchairs and footstools to the cashmere blankets and chic little tables to hold your drinks. We recommend seats in the middle of rows B and C for the best views. And if you’re in need of a manicure or a haircut, this is the perfect venue: it's in the basement of Barber & Parlour, a three-storey preening paradise that opened in October, 2014. On the first floor you can get a mani or up-do at the Cheeky Parlour. On the ground floor, alongside a café selling flat whites, you’ll find barbers Neville.
Grooming rooms and luxury treatment salons open in London all the time, and they’re often excellent ways to blow the best part of £100, if you have the means or occasion. But while London is gradually developing a taste for blow-dry bars and polished nails, we’re still miles behind our cousins in New York, where getting a ’do and a mani is something you’d consider for a meeting, not just your wedding day. But if anything is going to up our grooming game, it’s Barber & Parlour, Soho House’s newest London venture. Crucially, it’s going to do so without boring us for a whole afternoon, or emptying our wallets. It’s fun, fast and cheap. Barber & Parlour takes up a whole building on Redchurch Street, also home to numerous cool fashion stores and a big advertising agency, with Shoreditch House members’ club just around the corner. It fits in perfectly – and the casual ground-floor café with velvet-ey sofas and flat whites on the menu will no doubt be an instant hit. This is where you can also find Neville, a new barber shop and men’s groomers serving up everything from a moustache trim (£12) to a men’s manicure (£15) or a quick haircut (£30). Crucially, it’s walk-in, so men working in the area can just amble over between thought showers. Upstairs, the gals have The Cheeky Parlour (which has been open since this time last year) for rapid, excellent and cheap mani-pedis (£10/£14) – again, available on a walk-in basis. A further menu of waxing and beauty treatments is promised bef
Walking off the grungiest-looking bit of Shoreditch into the former Magistrates Court and Police Station in Old Street is probably not unlike walking through a wardrobe door to discover Narnia, so magical is the scene that awaits you at the five-star Shoreditch Courthouse hotel. Mind you, the outside of John Dixon Butler’s imposing Edwardian civic building is not bad. The large granite and portland stone blocks are grand enough to suggest something special inside, but we’re still blown away by the masterpiece of decorative detailing beyond its doors, where leaded and glazed windows, gorgeous mosaics and fine wrought-iron work are beautifully lit by a coloured glazed dome. Cleverly, the hotel’s design lets all this historical splendour do the hard work, situating the check-in desk to one side so that the wow effect of the lobby isn’t lost on arriving guests. Similarly, the dining room, set in the original wood panelled magistrates court, is another tucked-away architectural treat. Rooms span modern and manly in the new block (connected to the old three-storey block via two walkways), where huge flat screen TVs with Sky (inc Premiere and Sports) are the sole bit of tech… unless you count the tub-facing TV in the bathroom, where an elegant grey colour scheme continues the manly theme from the bedroom. So we head back down to explore the enjoyable basement mini spa (pool, sauna and steam room) and gym, two-lane bowling alley (charged at £45 per hour per lane for guests), 180-s
An east London branch (further east than the Hackney Picturehouse) of this cinema family that tends to show the big movies. Plus silver screen and kids club groups, vintage film Sundays and discover Tuesdays for those who want to be wowed by something they've never heard of.
A striking art deco building from the outside that doesn't let up once you're on the inside either – even the carpet has an art deco fan pattern running through it. This a stunning place to get married in (and many people do), but it's also just a fantastic, Grade II listed building that is used constantly for live music and sporting events, as well as parties.