Our favourite East London bars

East London Bars: cooler than penguin piddle.

Time was, you wouldn't venture over to East London unless your mum was being held hostage there... AND she had a 3-pack of Walnut Whips.

Things have changed. The East End is now for the cool kids and its thriving nightlife scene of underground clubs, bars and venues open only to those-in-the-know make it the place to earn Brownie Points with a date or chums.

In fact, if you're looking to impress, then your knowledge of East London's nightlife scene is probably higher up the list of requisites than your ability to read and write.

So take a look at our Best Bars of East London and you'll be in good shape. (Ironically, you'll need to be able to read to take in the list. Well, that's life.)

Ruby's Basement Bar
76 Stoke Newington Road N16 7XB
Region: Dalston
Nearest Station: Dalston Kingsland (0.3 miles)

AIL Says: Ruby’s is a cosy, subterranean cocktail bar north of Dalston on Stoke Newington Road. Like its neighbour, Beyond Retro, it attracts a stylish clientele of locals who attend for the excellent blueberry mojitos and the trad-chic interior.

  • OUR REVIEW 9/10
Sebright Arms
31-35 Coate Street E2 9AG
Region: Bethnal Green
Nearest Station: Cambridge Heath (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Brought back from extinction, the Sebright Arms is more popular than ever. The hackney Road pub is secreted down a narrow alleyway but find your way there and you can enjoy the delights of craft beer, Lucky Chip’s gourmet burgers and an eclectic live music line-up.

  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
Shacklewell Arms
71 Shacklewell Lane E8 2EB
Region: Shacklewell
Nearest Station: Rectory Road (0.4 miles)

AIL Says: The Shacklewell Arms is Dalston’s reigning queen of live music. Don’t be fooled by the muddled interior of the pub on Shacklwell Lane, it hosts some spectacular live shows along with live football and gourmet hotdogs.

  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
  • USERS 7/10
The Alibi
91 Kingsland High Street E8 2PB
Region: Dalston
Nearest Station: Dalston Kingsland (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: The Alibi holds a certain dive bar attraction, which seems to make it irresistible to a young Dalston crowd. It’s grimy but that doesn’t matter, it’s all about the music. Expect bashments, dubstep and anything else with a particularly heavy bassline.

  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
The Haggerston
438 Kingsland Road E8 4AA

Nearest Station: Dalston Kingsland (0.4 miles)

AIL Says: Kingsland Road has some good bars but The Haggerston is a cut above. Located a little short of Dalston Junction, the Haggerston is a sizeable lump of pub. Late opening, DJs, fine European beers and the occasional live act. You can’t say fairer than that.

  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
  • USERS 8/10
The Hunter S
194 Southgate Road N1 3HT
Region: Dalston
Nearest Station: Dalston Kingsland (0.3 miles)

AIL Says: Prepare your Hunter S Thompson quotes because the bar staff at the Hunter S in De Beauvoir absolutely love to hear them. In fact, they crave them. Inspired by the late, great writer, the Hunter S is a loving homage to the man. Well decorated with taxidermy and lounge seating, late opening hours and a killer chandelier.

  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
133 Whitechapel Road E1 1DT
Region: Whitechapel
Nearest Station: Whitechapel (0.3 miles)

AIL Says: Indo is without doubt the wildest bar on Whitechapel Road. It’s a fact. The narrow bar has long been the toast of the area’s hip glitterati, along with anybody else that prefers excellent music and stone baked pizza to the less refined pubs on this East End strip.

  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
The Star
359 Bethnal Green Road E2 6LG
Region: Bethnal Green
Nearest Station: Bethnal Green (0.3 miles)

AIL Says: The Star of Bethnal Green once had the greatest bar name in all of London. Sadly though, the Pleasure Unit is no more. However, the Star is way better, making the most of its dual floors. Football, DJ nights, bands and pizza now represent this quality Bethnal Green pub.

  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
Dalston Superstore
117 Kingsland High Street E8 2PB

Nearest Station: Dalston Kingsland (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Dalston Superstore falls somewhere between sleazy club and stylish bar, but nobody’s sure quite where. The Superstore hosts a variety of club nights with LGBT events a regular specialty.

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