Shoreditch area guide

Discover the best things to do, see, eat and drink in London’s Shoreditch, from indie shops to tasty street food

Last Days of Shoreditch, press 2016
Some say Shoreditch has had its day, that London’s trendy brigade have moved on. If you go to Brick Lane Market, though, it doesn’t look that way. The weird and wonderfully dressed hordes keep coming to the rough triangle made up by Old Street, Great Eastern Street and Shoreditch High Street, packing into ramshackle bars and independent shops. Despite the spread of affluence, much of the area maintains its original gritty, urban edge; many of the walls and shop fronts are plastered with graffiti. Of course, for many the grime is all part of the appeal – if you want a big garden and posh schools, move to Muswell Hill.
Watch our video below for our picks of the best things to do in this east London borough…

RECOMMENDED: London by area

The best bits of Shoreditch

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The best restaurants in Shoreditch

Andina
Restaurants Book online

Andina

Bored with burgers? Tired of tapas? Then let Andina shimmy up your tastebuds with its Peruvian-inspired ceviches, street food, cocktails, and colourful smoothies. Peruvian food only started to make waves in London in 2012, when a couple of smart, aspirational restaurants – Lima and Ceviche – opened within months of each other in the West End. Ceviche is the more affordable of these two, a Soho bar and diner with a menu of dishes seldom seen on our shores. Andina is Ceviche’s second branch, but rather than imitating its older Soho sibling, it has new tricks, some of them inspired by the food of the Andes. Peruvian food is regionally diverse, but ceviches are enjoyed everywhere. Raw fish is marinated in citrus juice which can then be spiced with chilli or have other dressings or garnishes added. Andina’s ‘Cheeky’ ceviche, one of six on the menu, comprises thin slices of hake and cod cheeks marinated in citrus juice with spring onion, and it’s a proper palate‑cleanser. New World staples are well-represented: the giant Peruvian popcorn snack called cancha is a must-try; and potatoes appear in many forms. A main course of three potato cakes was beautifully decorated – the spicy seafood toppings did a decent job of livening up what would otherwise be dollops of cold potato mash. Unfamiliar names and unusual combinations litter the menu, such as the chupe (seafood chowder) of black quinoa, king prawns, broad beans and giant corn – never a dull mouthful. Andina is as much a bar as

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

Dishoom

In Bollywood, ‘dishoom dishoom’ is the sound effect of blows landing in a classic fight scene, and is usually followed by a hip-thrusting song-and-dance routine. And while the naans are the only things that get slapped about by the Dishoom restaurant group – there’s still plenty of spice, both on and off the plate. This King’s Cross Dishoom, the third, is the best-looking yet. A magnificent three-storey Victorian warehouse has been furnished with sepia prints, whirring fans and an oversized railway-station clock to recreate the elegant feel of 1930s Bombay, while the seating arrangement by the ground-floor cocktail bar looks as if it’s been lifted from Aunty Ji’s verandah. It’s a witty interpretation of urban India, tastefully updated for trendy, spice-loving Londoners. If romancing is on the agenda, we suggest the booths on the dimly lit mezzanine level. But for skewer-wielding action, head to the top floor for a front-row view of smoky kebabs cooking over charcoal. Dishes are affordable and consistently deliver great flavour. Besides the first-class breakfasts, fragrant biryanis and fabulous curries, we love the gingery slow-cooked black lentils simmered with cream, butter and tomatoes. It’s a classic party dahl and a marvellous match for garlicky chargrilled lamb chops and handkerchief-like roomali rotis. Even an everyday mattar paneer, studded with pillowy cubes of fresh cheese and tender peas, is notable for its cumin-scented onion and tomato masala. And, for between

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Lyle’s
Restaurants Book online

Lyle’s

‘Wham-bam, thank you m’am’ – the new normal for London’s restaurants. Book ahead? You’re having a laugh. Queue? Of course. Meals come and go at breakneck speed, and before you can even settle into your faux-distressed school chair, the bill appears and you’re out on your ear, wondering if it was all just a dream. If that’s the kind of fast and furious that floats your boat, then you should probably give Lyle’s a swerve. Dinner here is a long, leisurely affair. You can book (they even have a telephone!) and stay as long as you like, as there’s no turning tables. The pricing is fair: the no-choice menu costs £39, which gets you seven small courses (plus bread, petits fours and filtered tap water), served in a drawn-out procession. The whole thing, from start to finish, takes a languorous two and a half hours or so. The chef is James Lowe, formerly one of the much-fêted ‘Young Turks Collective’ and still one of the most talented cooks in town. We were impressed by a terrific cube of blood ‘cake’ (baked pig’s head, blood, and semolina); mellow braised baby onions; and a hunk of fatty-edged mutton with an intense anchovy cream. Baked washed-rind British sheep’s cheese was lick-the-plate-clean moreish; as was a poached, slightly-tart rhubarb with a rich crème anglaise custard). In short, almost everything we ate was notably good. Only the bitter notes of charred dover sole in a somewhat over-seasoned broth disappointed. But the sweet staff knew their food; and the semi-industrial s

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Book online
Hoi Polloi
Restaurants Book online

Hoi Polloi

The Ace Hotel in New York is deepest hipster territory, with a cavernous lobby used by every Midtown creative for its free wi-fi, Stumptown coffee bar and – for those who can get a booking – chef April Bloomfield’s outstanding Breslin restaurant. I was once marooned at the Ace for a couple of days during a snowstorm; there are few better places to be stuck. Shoreditch’s new Ace Hotel is not, however, a cookie-cutter copy of its Big Apple cousin, and Hoi Polloi – its all-day brasserie – exemplifies this. Access, for instance, is not from a vast lobby, but via a tiny flower shop. Walk straight through and the large restaurant (from the team behind Bistrotheque and Shrimpy’s) reveals itself with a mix of retro and contemporary styling that wouldn’t look out of place on a Scandinavian cruise ship circa 1950. The casual and sneaker-clad service is notably smooth and well informed. The music (a mix of retro ’80s pop and US alt electronic) isn’t too loud, allowing attention to focus instead on conversation – and the food. The menu looks like a college music paper, which gives the curious impression that other diners are reading up on the LCD Soundsystem back catalogue. It covers breakfast, lunch, snacks, cocktails and dinner. Dishes are British, very seasonal and juxtapose flavours in modern but not outlandish ways that will leave you craving more – and wondering why other kitchens can’t manage so deftly. A fresh, vibrant starter of braised celeriac is topped with a tangle of remo

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Book online
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Things to do in Shoreditch

Ballie Ballerson
Things to do

Ballie Ballerson

Venue says: “'The rare moment when something is as fun as it looks on the internet' - Harpers Bazaar”

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
ChromaYoga
Sport and fitness

ChromaYoga

Seriously colourful yoga classes. 

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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The best bars in Shoreditch

5cc Old Street
Bars and pubs

5cc Old Street

Ever been in a pub cellar? Probably not. And you aren’t missing much. There’s the sour tang of spilled beer, the glow of strip lights, lots of things to bump your head on and a crusty old mop in the corner. Mini-chain 5cc has a better use for cellars – turning them into atmospheric cocktail bars. Each 5cc specialises in a different spirit, but all combine a superior level of service with excellent cocktails and a stay-all-night atmosphere. This Old Street branch is hidden below the Singer Tavern, in a building that once housed the sewing machine company’s HQ. The Singer’s not bad (lots of craft beers), but the 5cc below it is the real treat – vaulted, lots of secret corners and some great gin-based cocktails (that’s the speciality here). Bartenders use such rarely seen distillations as Dictador Colombian aged gin. Non-gin-based drinks are inventive but restrained. So if this space is still the pub’s cellar, where have the beer kegs and the dried-up old mop gone? Who cares. It would be great if more pubs did this with their downstairs bits. The Singer has got this one sewn up nicely

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Cocktail Trading Company
Bars and pubs

Cocktail Trading Company

It’d be churlish for an otherwise stellar cocktail bar to lose points just for playing truly awful music, but on a quiet Tuesday evening the new branch of the Cocktail Trading Company came very close. Beleaguered by a Maximum Dad Rock playlist, it was hard to focus on the excellent drinks they kept sending our way. Okay, it wasn’t that hard. This new bar off Brick Lane is the Company’s second follow-up to the closed Soho original. More spacious than their year-old Smithfield branch, the new wood-panelled drinking room is two parts classy cocktail bar to one part comfortable pub, stirred with a dash of wink-wink, owl-heavy retro kitsch. Then there are the drinks: a cocktail list two-dozen-strong at £9 apiece. A rich and gulpable espresso martini proved that they’ve got the classics in hand, but once we got to the weirder stuff, things really started to fly. The Guido Forks came whisky-rich, smoky and sour and served with a small explosion. The One In A Million was sharp and refreshing with a chilli kick and a lottery ticket. The Handy Nightcap used a frozen golf ball instead of ice. I could (and did) go on. Even the menu was a tiny treasure, pocket-sized – according to our friendly bartender – so we could take it home. Which, believe me, you’ll want to do. With its superb booze and constant stream of icebreaking surprises, CTC could well be the best place for a first date in the whole East End. And to be fair, the music offers an inbuilt vetting system: if your partner star

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

Bar Three

Three is the magic number. Or two, for Max and Noel Venning, the bartending brothers behind this Spitalfields bar and its sibling, Three Sheets in Dalston. Their second London venture is a seductive space that borrows plenty of the best bits from the first venture, yet feels like the dark yin to that light, bright spot’s yang. It’s tucked underneath Blixen restaurant – a collaboration with the restaurant’s owners and bar snacks are served from the kitchen upstairs – but has its own side entrance down a sweeping staircase and an identity very much shaped by the brothers Venning. There’s a compact bar at the foot of the stairs as you enter, where smiling staff offered a wave between drink-mixing. It’s elegant, modern and minimal, with tall bar stools populating the first room and low tables for relaxed drinking in the second; that first space is brightened by white stone walls, the other is painted in smart bottle green and navy. French doors divide them and get flung open on busier nights to unveil the second space. Table service was warm and attentive, and our waitress gave enthusiastic recommendations and made us feel at ease when we were being indecisive. A couple of palms and shoots pop out and echo the greenery-decked restaurant up above, while a whopping convex mirror hangs opposite the bar, drawing focus back to the heart of the place. Just as at Three Sheets, the cocktails are so very striking. At a time when we’re told those snowflakes are watching what they drink,

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Happiness Forgets
Bars and pubs

Happiness Forgets

The only problem we’ve encountered here is an excess of popularity: if you haven’t booked, don’t bank on getting a table whatever day of the week it is. Hoxton is not short of a bar or two, but this basement room packs in the punters with a lively vibe, incredible cocktails, and, in our experience, dazzlingly wonderful service. Staff go out of their way to make sure you’re happy. Some drinks have been on the list since the bar opened. They’re innovative but sensible, based on a tight grasp of cocktail fundamentals. Decor is minimal, table lighting is from candles, no standing is allowed. One of the best bars in east London – or in all of London, for that matter. 

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

Ace Hotel London

Ace Hotel London

Ace is a destination in its own right, thanks to its prime location and its own inimitable brand of cool. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Check prices
Hoxton Hotel

Hoxton Hotel

A hip and wallet-friendly hotel with an ace brasserie downstairs. 

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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The best pubs in Shoreditch

The Archers
Bars and pubs

The Archers

On our first visit to The Archers, many years ago, we watched a chap sing a Westlife ballad on a karaoke machine to an audience of three teenage Stella drinkers and an elderly barfly. To say it’s had quite the makeover (the previous manager narrowly escaped a prison sentence last year after safety inspectors found it to be a ‘fire trap’) would be an understatement. Yes, there are filament lightbulbs, and okay, the snacks are gastro rather than pub grub, but this is not a case of Shoreditch wankery. The booze is cheap, the seats are comfy and the staff are friendlier than your average Andrex puppy. As well as a heated cabinet full of teeny but delicious pasties, there’s a short menu of here’s-one-I-made-earlier snacks that are delivered from nearby (considerably flashier) sister pub The Culpeper; our favourite of these was a gloriously buttery pot of duck rillette with fresh crusty bread. There’s only one thing we’d change about The Archers: there were only three cask ales on offer, and two of those were from local if slightly crowdpleasing Truman’s. What they’re pouring is good, though, and a bottle fridge offers a small but fine collection of crafty options from the likes of Lagunitas and Brixton Brewery. On both our evening and afternoon sessions the clientele seemed to be mainly locals of a pleasingly wide age range. Hopefully its down-there-beyond-the-curry-houses positioning will prevent it being flooded by tourists of a weekend so it can stay that way. Gentrification

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

Princess of Shoreditch

Please note, the review below refers to a previous menu. - The Food and Drink Editors, Dec 2016 Up the spiral staircase from the bustling downstairs bar, the dining room at this 250-year-old corner premises is a good-looking, cosy space. A dozen linen-clothed tables – candlelit at night – are served by a small team of young, efficient staff. Choosing from a menu that included wild boar scotch egg, Chart Farm fallow deer and a host of seasonal goodies wasn’t easy, but the kitchen more than fulfilled its remit. Rich ham hock, foie gras and pork knuckle terrine benefited from tangy piccalilli, and sour goat’s cheese was a lovely foil for the sweetness of roasted red and yellow heritage beetroot. Mains of beer-battered fish and chips with mushy peas and tartare sauce, and Cornish brill with pea purée and black pudding were done to a T; the last ingredient slightly overpowered the purée, but it’s a minor quibble. Simple but effective afters might be chocolate fondant with vanilla ice-cream, or an artisan cheese sold by the slice – the Lancashire ‘strong bomb’ is sensational. There’s a choice of wine by the glass and carafe, as well a wide range of bottles (including five rosés), which goes for interesting tastes over establishment favourites and is aware of current trends: the wine of the month when we last visited was from the Lebanon. There are also local beers, such as Wandle Ale from Sambrook’s in Battersea, on tap, and East London Brewery's Nightwatchman. A top-notch opera

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

Wenlock Arms

On an unremarkable backstreet in the Hackney/Islington borders is an old pub with a story. An all-too-familiar story in the world of the urban boozer: developers submit planning application to demolish and replace with residential units. Most of the time this tale has the same ending, and it’s not a happy one for drinkers. The Wenlock was a tap for the nearby brewery of the same name, and poured its first pint in 1836; it closed with its parent company in the 1960s, then reopened in 1994, whereupon it won awards for the quality of its real ale and plaudits for the toastiness of its real fire. But in 2010 the threats of redevelopment began, with many ups and downs, false dawns and setbacks. Wenlock regulars were more motivated than most, launching campaigns to defend it, but things looked bleak. However, in 2012 a sympathetic Hackney Council extended a conservation area to safeguard the pub, and the owners of the Red Lion & Sun in Highgate stepped in and signed a lease. Sleeves were rolled up for a refurbishment which involved a quality paintjob, some new furniture and even more beer fonts. The Wenlock is once again the quintessence of all that is good about pubs – it’s a taproom with minimal decor, minimal food (salt beef sandwiches, own-made scratchings) and brilliant beer. Plus it’s a free house, meaning it can buy from any brewery it chooses. To prove the landlord is anything but snobby, there’s Carlsberg too. The Wenlock Arms has risen while so many others like it have

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Pride of Spitalfields
Bars and pubs

Pride of Spitalfields

Miraculously, this supremely unpretentious little boozer continues to thrive just off Brick Lane, its modest charms seemingly not appealing to the whinnying fashionistas of Shoreditch or the suited-and-booted city curry hunters. The lively mixed crowd in here includes an old guard of regulars, the odd bewildered tourist and some thirtysomething art and music types relieved to find their East End bolthole still as welcoming as ever, while behind the tiny bar, a surprising number of unflappable staff dispense beautifully kept ales without treading on each other's toes. The beer selection is unlikely to be exotic, keeping to familiar British ales from Fuller’s, Truman and some smaller breweries. A little shabby around the edges perhaps - 'A pub with carpet? How quaint' - but this is a London drinker with character rather than an image.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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The perfect weekend in Shoreditch

Eat: Brick Lane Beigel Bake
Restaurants

Eat: Brick Lane Beigel Bake

Refuel on the cheap at this Shoreditch institution. 

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Shop: Boxpark
Restaurants

Shop: Boxpark

Buy some hip new stuff from a shipping container.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Explore: Queen of Hoxton

Explore: Queen of Hoxton

Their huge themed rooftop is one of the best in London.

Users say
3 out of 5 stars
Buy
Dance: XOYO

Dance: XOYO

Groove through the night at one of east London’s top clubs.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Book online

Love London Awards: 2018’s winners

Village Underground
Music

Village Underground

You can't miss Village Underground thanks to the four brightly coloured, graffiti-covered tube carriages, now artists' studios, perched on its roof. The recycled Jubilee line carriages, and accompanying shipping containers, accommodate a community of artists, writers, designers, filmmakers and musicians. Their renovated Victorian warehouse space hosts exhibitions, concerts theatre, live art and club nights. Plans are underway to turn one of the exterior walls, a spot already popular with local street artists, into a permanent exhibition site.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
The Glory
Nightlife

The Glory

A new 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
Kill The Cat
Shopping

Kill The Cat

A very cool little off licence along Brick Lane. This is the kind of place you'd come to find unique craft beers by the bottle or can, with staff who know about every single one. The shop also doubles up as a bar and they hold regular tastings, so look out for those on their website. Beers available range from well-known brewers Partizan, Beavertown and Verdant, to the lesser-known like local Homerton brewers Boxcar and La Franche from the La Ferté commune.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Dennis Severs’ House
Attractions

Dennis Severs’ House

Dennis Severs’ House is a time capsule attraction in which visitors are immersed in a unique form of theatre. The ten rooms of this original Huguenot house have been decked out to recreate snapshots of life in Spitalfields between 1724 and 1914. An escorted tour through the compelling ‘still-life drama’, as American creator Dennis Severs put it, takes you through the cellar, kitchen, dining room, smoking room and upstairs to the bedrooms. With hearth and candles burning, smells lingering and objects scattered apparently haphazardly, it feels as though the inhabitants had deserted the rooms only moments before. The Dennis Severs House tour is unsuitable for children as tours are conducted in silence. Discover more great things to do in Shoreditch

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

More from Shoreditch area guide

Shoreditch pubs

Although Shoreditch may be better known for trendy cocktail bars and cool clubs, there are also plenty of great pubs. From the grand and glamourous Princess of Shoreditch to charming little boozers such as Wenlock Arms, Time Out will show you the best...