Dalston area guide

Clubs, kebabs, markets and independents of all sorts all make Dalston a great place to explore

Dalston Roof Park
It may not seem the case as you peer out of the Overground station, but Dalston is packed with fun nights out, affordable (delicious) meals and unique bargain buys. Our guide to Dalston's best bits will help you get to grips with an area that's a glorious blend of London's many tastes and characters.
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The best bits of Dalston

18 reasons to go to Kingsland Road, E2 & E8
News

18 reasons to go to Kingsland Road, E2 & E8

Between the hip hubs of Shoreditch and Dalston runs the ever-changing Kingsland Road

12 reasons to go to Shacklewell Lane in Hackney, E8
News

12 reasons to go to Shacklewell Lane in Hackney, E8

Shacklewell lane feels like less of a lane and more of a self-contained hamlet

Restaurants in Dalston

Mangal Ocakbasi

Mangal Ocakbasi

Authentic Turkish snacking

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Tina, we salute you

Tina, we salute you

Here, the magic comes from Square Mile beans

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Jidori
Restaurants Book online

Jidori

A super-cool Japanese venue

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Book online
Chick 'n' Sours
Restaurants Book online

Chick 'n' Sours

High-end fried chicken and sour cocktails

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Book online
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Dalston highlights

Rio Cinema

Rio Cinema

New indie and mainstream releases are brought to Dalston by this friendly independent cinema

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Buy
Dalston Roof Park
Bars and pubs Book online

Dalston Roof Park

Venue says: “Join us every Wednesday this winter as we host special rooftop cinema nights with full cover, drink deals, amazing food and heaters!”

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Book online
Ridley Road Market
Shopping

Ridley Road Market

Located opposite Dalston Kingsland station, Ridley Road Market has been serving the local community since the 1880s

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Arcola Theatre
Theatre

Arcola Theatre

The Arcola Theatre was here before the hipsters 

Users say
5 out of 5 stars

The best bars in Dalston

High Water
Bars and pubs

High Water

If this is High Water, where’s hell? 

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Ruby's
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Ruby's

An artfully dishevelled backdrop with a small but carefully assembled drinks menu

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Book online
Ridley Road Market Bar
Bars and pubs

Ridley Road Market Bar

Last summer a furniture and computer shop in Dalston’s Ridley Road, following a quickie remodel, became home to a very different type of enterprise. Not that you’d know it from the sign: in that knowingly understated east London style, ‘Furniture & PC Sales’ remained above the entrance, reminding those who sought it out they were about to enter a wilfully DIY operation. It traded as a café until a few weeks ago, when a liquor licence turned it into a bar proper. Inside, fake-wood wall veneers clash gloriously with homemade cymbal lightshades, a checquered dancefloor, mirrorballs, a bar made of offcuts, cheapo seating and piles of exotic fruit. DJs play and sometimes there are bands. It’s like a Club Tropicana where strangers don’t take you by the hand and drinks aren’t free – but they’re pretty cheap. The nightspots up and down the nearby Dalston drag of Kingsland Road can be a bit intimidating for those not in leotards (men) or without undercuts (women), so RRMM, although clearly aware of its ironically tacky trendiness, feels brilliantly egalitarian. On our visit, a giant but very friendly bouncer ushered us in; staff were assembling cheerful and uncomplicated cocktails. The short list was displayed on a peg-board menu: the likes of ginger mojitos, or gin with fresh pomegranate, served in plastic pint pots with a straw and piles of crushed ice for a fiver. Beer, appropriately enough for a tropical-themed bar in east London, is Red Stripe. Instead of trying to cram a kitchen

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Untitled Bar
Bars and pubs

Untitled Bar

‘Would you like a wish?’ asked our waiter, with a grin. I’d have preferred a drink – Untitled is London mixology master Tony Conigliaro’s new bar, and I was raring to go on the menu of original cocktails. Instead, I was brought a rose-petal shaped piece of film on a sort-of petri dish, and told to eat it for palate-cleansing effect. It turned into a tomatoey paste in my mouth – a hint at the wizardry to follow. The bar is modelled on Andy Warhol’s Factory: a sterile, minimal setting with silver walls and swathes of grey concrete. But as more bodies join our communal table, things soon warm up. There’s no playing it down: the drinks are works of art. There’s no bar, but rather a couple of work stations where young staff prepare pre-batched concoctions delivered daily from Conigliaro’s nearby lab, the Drink Factory. The menu reads like a Holland & Barrett shopping list: the Sicily is made from ‘citrus, verbena, orange blossom’. Little bits of dried African marigold leaf tickle your nose as you sip, enhancing the tobacco notes in this bitter, vodka-based drink. The Waif was stunning, effervescently pairing rhubarb and rose in a beautiful coupe glass. The yoghurty Ninfeo arrived in a fanny-shaped receptacle, a paper fig leaf perched on top for dignity. Is Conigliaro calling himself the Warhol of booze? I don’t think Untitled is that up itself. But with cocktails like this, he’d be justified.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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The best hotels in Dalston

Kip

Kip

A cool option that’s well placed for Dalston and Hackney shenanigans (ear-plugs provided)

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The Old Ship
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The Old Ship

An atmospheric location on busy Mare Street. Ten funky boutique rooms located above a nineteenth-century pub.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Book online
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The best pubs in Dalston

Railway Tavern
Bars and pubs

Railway Tavern

The Railway Tavern, on a residential street in the fringes of Islington, is essentially a local – but it’s to its credit that drinkers from locales further afield will travel to visit. The owners of the Pineapple in Kentish Town returned this pub to its original name and gave it a thoughtful, mid-century-style makeover, with a few bits of artful railway ephemera here and there. Food is Thai; there’s occasional live music and a quiz. But the beer selection is something special, and served with a dedication that prospective London publicans would do well to emulate. There are six regularly changing real ales on tap, and they’re often made in London – from Redemption, Brodie’s or the East London Brewing Company, for instance. No mainstream sops for the unadventurous sipper in sight, and brews are served in handled, dimpled pint mugs: magic. The RT is a handsome fellow too, with framed vintage tube scenes on the walls and a few tasteful bits of golden-age railway nostalgia dotted here and there. One of the best pubs in London - fact.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Fox
Bars and pubs

Fox

Occupying a sizeable corner spot between Shoreditch and Dalston (you’ve no doubt whizzed by on the bus before), The Fox is a very worthy pub (or, as they’d prefer it, a ‘craft beer house’) that’s much-beloved locally. Ten draught pumps and eight hand pumps serve a rotating selection of fine ales – regularly featured brewers include Dark Star from Sussex, Harviestoun from Scotland and Thornbridge from Bakewell. There’s usually a couple of ciders on, and a proper connoisseur’s depth to the bottle menu: everything from Hawaii’s Maui Brewing Mana Wheat (with tangy overtones of pineapple) to the Aussie stalwart Little Creatures Pale Ale’ (refreshing and satisfyingly bitter). The Fox isn’t cheap for the area, but midweek it’s usually easy to get a table, or a bench on the neat little roof terrace.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Spurstowe Arms
Bars and pubs

Spurstowe Arms

One of the more mature pubs in the Hackney canon, the Spurstowe Arms works a sophisticated stripped-back charm, never trying too hard to impress – which of course just wouldn’t wash in this trendy part of town. The nondescript exterior would have you believe the Spurstowe was a football pub or stop-off for a desperate quick half, but inside features fresh-cut flowers, polished brass and a grand horseshoe bar. You’ll still spot the odd reassuring cobweb up on high though, and, oddly enough, a bathtub in the beer garden. The crowd are mostly large groups of friends in their thirties enjoying a slick indie soundtrack, although you’ll also find young families in for a Sunday roast, given the gastropub bias. These crowd-pleasing plates do a mean trade (despite the £15 price tag), especially alongside a headily spiced but smooth Bloody Mary. For the rest of the week, there are four ales on tap.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
3 out of 5 stars
The Glory
Nightlife

The Glory

A bar and venue co-opened by drag legend Jonny Woo. The Glory will host everything from cabaret to performance to DJ nights. There's a bar for casual drinks and a disco room downstairs for dancing and other events.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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The perfect weekend in Dalston

Eat: Chick 'n' Sours
Restaurants Book online

Eat: Chick 'n' Sours

High-end fried chicken and sour cocktails

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Book online
Shop: Beyond Retro Dalston
Shopping

Shop: Beyond Retro Dalston

Beyond Retro's flagship vintage superstore 

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Explore: Dalston Roof Park
Bars and pubs Book online

Explore: Dalston Roof Park

Venue says: “Join us every Wednesday this winter as we host special rooftop cinema nights with full cover, drink deals, amazing food and heaters!”

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Book online
Dance: Dalston Superstore
Clubs

Dance: Dalston Superstore

This Kingsland High Street hang out is a bit of a face on the east London party scene

Users say
3 out of 5 stars

Love London Awards: 2018’s winners

Hang-Up Gallery
Art

Hang-Up Gallery

Venue says: “Banksy, Shepard Fairey and Shrigley originals meet Nina Saunders sculptures in our Autumn Edition of Hang-Up Collections, not to be missed!”

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Cafe Oto
Things to do

Cafe Oto

A relaxed, light and airy café during the day and a live music space in the evenings – pretty much seven days a week – Oto puts a strong emphasis on the more out-there of underground artists. Expect to encounter everything from Norwegian improv/free jazz/psych-rock power trio Bushmen's Revenge to a talk by minimalist composer Terry Riley.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Andi's
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Andi's

Heading up this pretty little restaurant in Stoke Newington is the chef and broadcaster Andi Oliver, of ‘Great British Menu’ judging fame. If you’re of a certain age, you might remember her as one part of the punk band Rip Rig + Panic. If you’re a millennial, you’ll know her as Miquita Oliver’s mum. She’s great, basically, which makes it more of a shame that the food here really isn’t. The short menu has plenty of creative twists (savoury aubergine ‘baklava’, carrot falafel), but the main problem was that everything was very, very rich. Best of the bunch was a steak tartare served with deliciously bitter, dark ‘marmite soldiers’ and topped with raw egg. The worst were strangely raw cauliflower fritters, which came in a puddle of runny Thai curry, and scarily buttery shrimp and grits. It’s the kind of food that makes you long for steamed green vegetables. Things were remedied a little by dessert, a dark chocolate olive oil cake, which I ate in Andi’s lovely fairy-lit garden. This little green bolthole alone would make a trip worthwhile. Go, but consider sticking to pudding.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Book online
Stighlorgan SLG Store
Shopping

Stighlorgan SLG Store

An Irish fashion company – it's pronounced 'still-or-gun' if you were wondering – that specialises in bags and rucksacks.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
See the full results of 2018's Love London Awards