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Bethnal Green area guide

Discover brilliant bars, quality restaurants and loads of things to do in Bethnal Green

Piers Allardyce / Time Out

Bourgeois? Nah mate, Bethnal Green’s still got that rough ’n’ ready East End flavour. The locals fall roughly into three groups: old-school embedded East Enders, Bangladeshi families an recently arrived professionals. And the best thing is that everyone gets along famously, whether it’s strolling around at Columbia Road Flower Market, partying at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, or eating and drinking at one of the many quality pubs, bars or restaurants the area has to offer.

What are your favourite Bethnal Green haunts? Let us know in the comments.

The best bits of Bethnal Green

16 great things to do on Hackney Road
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16 great things to do on Hackney Road

Despite weaving its way through some of the east’s trendiest bits, Hackney Road was until relatively recently a bit of a nothingy stretch of pavement. You’d only head down if you were looking to walk from Shoreditch to Bethnal Green, or were keen to buy some back-of-a-lorry luggage or wholesale plumbing products. But the nearby Broadway and Columbia Road Markets and the increasingly densely hip suburbs of Hackney, Haggerston and Hoxton have now spilled over and blessed Hackney Road with some art, culture and food to call its own. Though you’ll still wander past any number of ‘unique bag’ stores, and the odd derelict building, such as the abandoned (and soon-to-be-redeveloped) Mecca Bingo, all that radial gentrification from the surrounding areas has started to glam the place up a bit. There are small and intimate cocktail bars sandwiched between secondhand shoe stores and ‘USA Pizza’ takeaways, as well as a few special art galleries, coffee shops, high-end restaurants and even a city farm full of pigs, llamas and chickens. The street art scene has also crept up from Shoreditch. It’s not as pretty as the markets or the nearby Regent’s Canal, but Hackney Road is finally a destination. Take a walk this weekend – you might just be surprised. Do this A post shared by MARIEKE HARGREAVES-MACKLON (@mariekemacklon) on May 18, 2017 at 5:53pm PDT Catch a gig at the Sebright Arms, an old-school boozer tucked away down an alley. There’s a cosy live space down

16 reasons to go to Bethnal Green Road, E2
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16 reasons to go to Bethnal Green Road, E2

Running east from the centre of Shoreditch, Bethnal Green Road is the place to go if you fancy a goggle at east London’s transformation from no-go neighbourhood to hip heartland. You’ll spot plenty of the tensions that often accompany rapid change in a formerly working-class area, like coffee shops and cocktail pubs next door to branches of Iceland and budget homeware stores. But what’s important is that Bethnal Green Road and its environs also show London at its best. Its many watering holes run the full gamut from ultra-trendy to old-man-friendly. While Rich Mix arts centre showcases the best of local Asian and African culture, just yards away Boxpark is at the forefront of new-London cool. If there’s one place that captures the essence of the area (and London itself, to be honest) it’s E Pellicci, a genuine institution in a city that loves to overuse the term. This Grade-II listed caff not only serves up the finest breakfasts anywhere in London – I’ll personally fight anyone who disagrees – but you’re almost invariably forced to squeeze on the end of a table and chat to strangers. It’s awkward at first, but by the end of it E Pellicci manages what no edgy bar could: it makes you enjoy meeting strangers. It’s a riot of energy, a melting pot of people and the food is damn tasty: London in a glorious, greasy nutshell. Drink this   A post shared by The Star Of Bethnal Green (@starbethgreen) on Nov 3, 2016 at 11:43am PDT After-work pints at the Star of Bethnal Gr

15 reasons to go to Cambridge Heath Road, Tower Hamlets, E2
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15 reasons to go to Cambridge Heath Road, Tower Hamlets, E2

Decorated with a cursive script of railway arches and nearly touching the hem of Victoria Park, Cambridge Heath Road is the reason why locals rarely venture far from home on Sundays. It runs all the way through Bethnal Green, from Whitechapel to Regent’s Canal, but just to clear this up from the outset: it’s got nothing to do with Cambridge, and there’s no heath to speak of. Sorry, literal-minded Londoners. Bethnal Green residents have long enjoyed themselves on this short drag, but gentrification over the last ten years has wrought a number of changes. The old town hall’s now a stylish hotel, the railway arches are home to many of London’s enterprising craft brewers and even the local Caribbean food joint couldn’t avoid being turned into an award-winning cocktail bar. Nonetheless there’s still a sense of community and continuity in this corner of the capital. The York Hall, a boxing venue since 1929, is now also a GLL-run gym, the Genesis Cinema, first opened in 1912, is still going strong, and the Victorian mission at St Margaret’s House remains a firm neighborhood fixture nearly 130 years on — thanks, in part, to its brilliant café. So next time you’re wending your way home from Victoria Park or Broadway Market, investigate this under-the-radar high street. Just don’t bother looking for the heath.  Drink this   A photo posted by Georgie (@belleswhisky) on Aug 3, 2016 at 12:33pm PDT   Cocktails at Satan’s Whiskers. This joint is undoubtedly one of the b

11 reasons to go to Roman Road in Bethnal Green and Bow
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11 reasons to go to Roman Road in Bethnal Green and Bow

Gentrification in east london: weep, sigh, moan, etc. The popular image is one of beleaguered enclaves of valiant jellied-eel vendors battling an onslaught of cash-haemorrhaging, craft-lager-addicted professionals. And okay, it’s not wholly a myth. But there are places where the two tribes live in harmony, and Roman Road is one of them. Running for more than a mile between Bethnal Green and Bow, it’s a street that’s earned its place in East End history. A stone’s throw away on Grove Road, the first V-1 rocket fell in 1944. Today, thanks to its grocers, butchers, bakeries, convenience stores, charity shops, boutiques, cafés, restaurants, cash-and-carries and thrice-weekly market, Roman Road is home to a living, functioning community. And yes, the affluent residents and pricy establishments are multiplying. But that’s the beauty of Roman Road: you get the best of both worlds. Take eating out, for example. There’s the whole avocado-on-sourdough thing if you’re feeling virtuous, or a fry-up from one of umpteen greasy spoons if you’re still pissed from the night before. And so far, the road seems to have a pretty strong immune system when it comes to fighting off the usual chains. Prices rise, people move and areas change in this fickle city. Roman Road, I think, though, will do just fine. Drink this Wander up to Old Ford Road for a pint at The Eleanor Arms. In an area where, to be honest, decent boozers are pretty thin on the ground, this cosy Shepherd Neame pub is run by a l

Restaurants in Bethnal Green

Typing Room
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Typing Room

Could Typing Room be the next big thing? It has all the right ingredients. The room – once using for mayoral correspondence, now part of Bethnal Green’s Town Hall Hotel – seems to be a ‘lucky site’. The previous restaurant here, Viajante, was run by Nuno Mendes, who built his reputation in this same kitchen before leaving to head up Chiltern Firehouse in the West End, a place more chock-full of A-listers than a botox clinic’s address book. The new star backer is chef-restaurateur Jason Atherton, current toast of the capital’s dining scene (his hits include Pollen Street Social, Social Eating House and Little Social). If you haven’t heard of the new head chef Lee Westcott, that’s because after earning his stripes at Tom Aikens in Chelsea, he went off to do stints at some of the world’s top restaurants, including Per Se in New York and Noma in Copenhagen before ending up in Hong Kong, where he ran a couple of Atherton’s joints. That’s before he got ‘the call’. So now he’s back, with a menu of his own creation. But this is no ‘Bethnal Green Social’: Atherton clearly has faith in him. Fortunately, that trust has been rewarded. There are plenty of ‘modernist’ food trends on his plates, such as all-the-rage New Nordic: a bit of dehydration here, some smoking there, plus more sprigs, twigs and petals than you can, umm, shake a stick at. This approach is no longer radical, but it’s high fashion food. Dishes are intricate and exquisite; it almost seems a pity to eat them. A silky ‘

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Book online
Ink
Restaurants

Ink

Obscure locations are all the rage when it comes to Nordic cuisine. One of the top restaurants in Sweden – Fäviken – is so remote that an overnight stay is a near-obligatory part of the experience.A trip to Mile End might not sound like nearly such an undertaking, but as we meandered from the tube, through a park, along the canal and on to a residential street filled with building work, it didn’t seem like the kind of place you’d expect to find London’s latest modernist restaurant either.The location’s not the only unusual thing about Ink. Chef Martyn Meid might be dealing in smears, foams and powders, but this Lithuanian chef’s food is cheaper than London’s other modernist menus, with mains costing a reasonable £8.50-£16.Nominally inspired by Scandinavian cooking, Meid creates artistically presented dishes with nods to seasonality. A sculptural starter of seared scallops served on a subtle peach purée, then scattered with petal-shaped charred baby onion layers, specks of crushed crackling and purple pansies was the belle of the ball with impressive textures and flavours to match its beauty.A main of salt cod with ‘tomato textures’ was also easy on the eye, but less exciting to eat, with surprisingly little salt left in the cod or in the accompanying potatoes. A more rustic dish of savoury braised lamb with savoy cabbage made for warming winter fodder.Ink maybe isn’t the kind of place you’d brave mountains and forests for, but if you can manage to negotiate a park and a canal

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
E Pellicci
Restaurants

E Pellicci

If ever proof were needed that all caffs are not equal, this Grade-II listed greasy spoon on Bethnal Green Road is it. The food may not be much more than reasonably above-average caff grub, but the atmosphere and decor are second to none.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Brawn
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Brawn

Brawn is the second offering from the team behind Terroirs (and most recently, Soif), and is nicely pitched to appeal to a hip east London crowd without alienating other diners.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Bethnal Green highlights

Columbia Road Flower Market
Shopping

Columbia Road Flower Market

Join the throng at Columbia Road Flower Market on Sunday. The advice about turning up at 2pm for knockdown prices has long become a victim of its own success, and buskers "entertain" the crowd. But it remains a quintessential London experience.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
V&A Museum of Childhood
Museums

V&A Museum of Childhood

Home to one of the world's finest collections of children's toys, dolls' houses, games and costumes, the V&A Museum of Childhood shines brighter than ever after extensive refurbishment.

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Bethnal Green Working Men's Club
Nightlife

Bethnal Green Working Men's Club

Bethnal Green Working Men's Club has incubated many of London's leftfield performers, from interactive theatre crew You Me Bum Bum Train to trannytastic party Sink the Pink.

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Spitalfields City Farm
Attractions

Spitalfields City Farm

If you spend Sundays munching bagels and rummaging for vintage bargains on Brick Lane, you’re missing a trick not to visit this urban oasis built in a former railway goods depot. There are many rare breeds of animals: stop by and visit characters such as Bayleaf the donkey and Bentley the goat, or pick your own veg. The farm also reaches out to local residents with projects like the ‘Coriander Club’ for older Bangladeshi women, free cookery classes, a young farmers' club and gardens growing produce and herbs.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars

Bars and pubs in Bethnal Green

Satan's Whiskers
Bars and pubs

Satan's Whiskers

The demonic theme doesn’t continue too far past the name, save some Dr Moreau-style hybrid taxidermy. What was for years a closed-down Caribbean restaurant has been transformed into a devilishly dark and welcoming spot.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
King's Arms
Bars and pubs

King's Arms

The Kings Arms is marooned up a  side street, a castaway of 19th-century pub craftsmanship surrounded by 20th-century council estate. Inside, it’s a sight to behold. Wooden panelling lines the walls; Davey brass lamps hang over the bar; butterfly display cases catch the low light cast by red glass candleholders.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Star of Bethnal Green
Bars and pubs

Star of Bethnal Green

A bold red and silver star adorns the wall behind the stage in this intimate boozer, which has fast become the epitome of scruffy East End cool. A young, up-for-it crowd enjoy a laid-back, pubby vibe, but most of them are really here for the music.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Well & Bucket
Bars and pubs

Well & Bucket

Here is one of these born-again boozers – following wilderness years as a Chinese restaurant and a leather wholesaler, the Well and Bucket is once again brimming over with beer. A lot of care has been spent restoring the big room to resemble a pub once again.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars

The perfect weekend in Bethnal Green

Dance: Bethnal Green Working Men's Club
Nightlife

Dance: Bethnal Green Working Men's Club

Enjoy club nights, cabaret, comedy and all kinds of other kooky chaos

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Eat: E Pellicci
Restaurants

Eat: E Pellicci

Scoff proper greasy spoon food at an east London landmark

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
See: V&A Museum of Childhood
Museums

See: V&A Museum of Childhood

Reminisce about the good ol’ days among toys, games, costumes and exhibitions

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Drink: Satan's Whiskers
Bars and pubs

Drink: Satan's Whiskers

Cocktails galore at a relaxed neighbourhood dive bar

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars

Love London Awards: last year's winners

E Pellicci
Restaurants

E Pellicci

If ever proof were needed that all caffs are not equal, this Grade-II listed greasy spoon on Bethnal Green Road is it. The food may not be much more than reasonably above-average caff grub, but the atmosphere and decor are second to none. Opened in 1900, and still in the hands of the same family, Pellicci’s is an east London landmark. It has an almost opulent feel, harking back to a time when caff culture was king. Chrome-lined Vitrolite panels line the outside, and the wood-panelled interior is filled with Formica tables and art deco touches. Food is still prepared with pride every day by Mama Maria – queen of the kitchen since 1961. The kids, Anna and Nevio Junior, serve it up with a wink, a smile and as much banter as you can handle. Fry-ups are first rate, and the fish and chips, daily grills and Italian specials aren’t half bad either. Desserts, from bread pudding to Portuguese pasteis de nata, are worth a punt too. But it’s the vibrant welcome, served with a healthy helping of mickey-taking, that makes the place so special. Check out more of London's best breakfasts and brunches  

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
The Gallery Café
Restaurants

The Gallery Café

Vegetarian and vegan café that’s part of community charity St Margaret’s House. The live events calendar includes film screenings and live music

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Columbia Road Flower Market
Shopping

Columbia Road Flower Market

One of London’s most visually appealing markets, Columbia Road overflows with bucketfuls of beautiful flowers every Sunday. There are bulbs, herbs, shrubs and bedding plants too. Alongside the Sunday market you’ll find a host of independent galleries and shops selling pottery, perfume and the like – many of them are only open at the weekends, and they often shut up shop with the market at 3pm. Turn up as things start to wind down at around 2pm for the best bargains, or as early as humanly possible if you want to guarantee yourself the pick of the crop. Browse more of London's best markets

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
V&A Museum of Childhood
Museums

V&A Museum of Childhood

Home to one of the world’s finest collections of children’s toys, doll’s houses, games and costumes, the Museum of Childhood shines brighter than ever after extensive refurbishment, which has given it an impressive entrance. Part of the Victoria & Albert Museum, the museum has been amassing childhood-related objects since 1872 and continues to do so with ‘Incredibles’ figures complimenting bonkers 1970s puppets, Barbie Dolls and Victorian praxinoscopes. The museum has lots of hand-on stuff for kids dotted about the many cases of historic artefacts. Regular exhibitions are held upstairs, while the café helps to revive flagging grown-ups. Discover more great days out for the little ones

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
See the full results of last year's Love London Awards

Comments

1 comments
Perfektly I
Perfektly I

Please add the best curry house in Bethnal Green called Al Amin along Cambridge Heath Road...Not Brick Lane..come to Bethnal Green for a good curry!