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Clapton area guide

From pubs, bars, restaurants and shops, there are loads of things to do in this east London enclave. Check them out below

As the creatives move further east, so places like Clapton become increasingly popular. And Clapton's quite the place these days, with loads of independent bars, boozers and restaurants keeping its new locals very well watered and fed. If the natural regeneration of areas like this is anything to go by, Shoreditch losing its lustre long ago was clearly no bad thing. After all, you can always rely on the cool kids of London town to find the next best thing.

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

Love London Awards: this year's winners

Sodo Pizza Cafe
Restaurants

Sodo Pizza Cafe

Sodo started as a pop­up at the E5 Bakehouse before setting up shop just up the road, with success spawning sister sites in Hoxton and Walthamstow. I’ve been to this branch a few times now and only once has it not been heaving with typically hairy east London sorts. They’re not here for the decor. Describing Sodo as ‘rough around the edges’ would be harsh on rough edges. It’s brightened up no end by Italian staff with accents as thick as bricks – plus there’s a nice little garden out the back – but Sodo’s certainly not a looker. The pizza, of course, is the draw. Margheritas never have a lot to hide behind and ours here was superb: the Neapolitan­-style sourdough (Sodo, geddit?) base was thin, crisp, delicious, and topped with good­ quality tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil. The ‘winter goat’ was even better, with goat’s cheese, walnuts, caramelised onions and olives scattered liberally but judiciously for a balanced and brilliant combo. Craft beer from the likes of Beavertown and Fourpure keep the beards fluffed.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Chatsworth Road Market
Shopping

Chatsworth Road Market

Clapton’s Chatsworth Road sure is old. In the ’30s it had up to 200 stalls peddling their wares up to five days a week. After the war the market dwindled and finally petered out in 1990 leaving Chatsworth Road slightly bereft. In November 2010, a band of locals and traders aimed to bring back the bustle and campaigned to get the market back on its feet. After two successful test runs, Chatsworth returned regularly with more than 40 stalls selling gourmet foods, vintage bric-a-brac, crafts, cakes and preserves, clothing, jewellery – and more than its fair share of hipsters. You’ll recognise a handful of traders from Broadway Market, but there's also plenty of fresh produce available at the Sunday Morning Market – a few steps away at Rushmore Primary School (www.sundaymorningmarket.blogspot.com) – where you'll find fruit and veg, posh breads, homemade cakes and more bric-a-brac.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Springfield Park
Attractions

Springfield Park

If Springfield Park were anywhere but this slightly forlorn corner of Clapton it would be overrun with joggers, revellers and pram-toting parents; instead, it's so little-known it's like a private garden for locals. Further north than its more famous East End siblings Clissold and Victoria, Springfield Park is a way to leave London for a few hours without the bother of actually travelling. The lack of tube connections is almost a bonus. A scenic wander or cycle along the Lea River towpath is a bucolic way to get there. Beautiful views across the River Lea and the Walthamstow Marshes were an ideal canvas for veteran Victorian park designer and chief officer of parks JJ Sexby, who also designed Brockwell Park. One of the elegant original houses, White Lodge Mansion, survives; it's now the Spark Café and rangers' office.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Crooked Billet
Bars and pubs

Crooked Billet

As relentlessly and inevitably as Aussie wickets, one by one the traditional pubs of Clapton fall to the trendy young incomers moving to this previously infamously murderous part of Hackney. Last year it was the Hart, last month the Windsor Castle, this week the Crooked Billet. I can think of a couple that have so far resisted the charge, but I won’t mention them here. Is this gentrification of the east London boozer a bad thing? I suppose it depends which side you’re on – if craft beers, sharing plates and ironic taxidermy are your thing, then yes, but if you’re a lifelong Claptonite who’s happy with things just the way they are, you’re probably eyeing up that semi in Brentwood even more keenly. But don’t worry – the Billet has room for every generation of E5. The pub has a redbrick, functional handsomeness, rebuilt as it was in the 1950s. Hence the huge car park, which latterly didn’t see much use – that short stroll from the motor to the boozer and back is a path less trodden these days. But new owners have used this defunct space to hugely enlarge the rear garden, installing inclement-weather booths, a ping pong table and acres of decking. There are even deckchairs, for that ‘Clapton-on-Sea’ feel. Nothing like it can be found for miles, and it ensured the Billet was filled to the gills in recent weeks. The inside’s not a bad look either – it’s had a general tarting up, and the beer has been improved greatly. Real ales are well served and there’s a focus on the many variet

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

Restaurants in Clapton

Pacific Social Club
Restaurants

Pacific Social Club

Admiring the Pacific Rim postcards and tiki mask, the wall covered in vinyl inner sleeves (Columbia, Decca, ‘race records’ pioneer Okeh) and a dresser of teacups that seems to have been stolen from a Victorian parlour, we were charmed by this addition to the welter of weeny cafés that have descended on all quarters of Hackney in the last few months. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Eat 17
Restaurants

Eat 17

The Clapton end of Chatsworth Road has been smartening up its act for some time. But if you’d headed over the brow towards Homerton hoping to find organic veg and almond milk, quite frankly you’d have been ’aving a giraffe. Times have changed.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Shane's on Chatsworth
Restaurants Book online

Shane's on Chatsworth

‘Shane’ is Kiwi chef Shane Harrison, who set up this very local restaurant in early 2012 on Chatsworth Road, an up-and-coming high street in up-and-coming Clapton. It’s a lo-fi-looking operation, with lampshades made of pegs, quirky animal sketches on the walls and packed-in tables. 

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Book online
Yard Sale Pizza
Restaurants

Yard Sale Pizza

If you’re wondering whether this is the pizza place where Macaulay Culkin’s band played, then you’d be right. The ‘Home Alone’ star’s troupe did try out some of their pizza-themed Velvet Underground numbers here. 

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

Things to do in Clapton

Springfield Park
Attractions

Springfield Park

If Springfield Park were anywhere but this slightly forlorn corner of Clapton it would be overrun with joggers, revellers and pram-toting parents; instead, it's so little-known it's like a private garden for locals. 

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Redundant Architects Recreation Association
Things to do

Redundant Architects Recreation Association

Check out the workshop, sleeping pod, brewery and cinema in a Shoreditch industrial unit design to provide flexible and affordable workspace for ‘downdrodden creatives’ (architects have been disproportionately hit by the current economic downturn ). 

Bars and pubs in Clapton

Clapton Hart
Bars and pubs

Clapton Hart

No one seems to have informed the Antic group that Britain is in the grip of a devastating recession or that our pub trade is on its knees.

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

Oslo

In case you didn’t know, Scandinavia is cool right now. The food, the fashion, the facial hair – plus the Vikings have invaded the British Museum. All we need next is a healthy economy, a reliable public transport system and a sense of social justice, and London will be indistinguishable from Oslo.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Buy tickets
Hand of Glory
Bars and pubs

Hand of Glory

It sounds like a specialist room in a Vauxhall club involving holes in walls and a lot of trust, but this is the best name for a new pub I’ve heard in years. A hand of glory, according to medieval folklore, is the pickled appendage of a hanged man, which when grasping a lit candle made from the rendered fat of the same condemned takes on dark magical powers.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Windsor Castle
Bars and pubs Buy tickets

Windsor Castle

At Clapton’s newly refurbished Windsor Castle, every inch has been spruced, smartened and straightened up, and it’s almost unrecognisable from its old self. The pool table’s gone; the pub boar is now stuffed and hangs above the bar in taxidermy form. 

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

Comments

1 comments
Emma W
Emma W

Why is there no mention of KO Bloodline kickboxing gym! It's been in Clapton for ten years, right by the pond.  As well as producing world class fighters is a hub for locals wanting to keep fit, has popular kids classes every day and hosts kickboxing events at the Round Chapel down the road. Please give them a mention!  http://ko-bloodline.co.uk