The new Shoreditch?

Has Shoreditch become more West End than cutting edge bohemia?

London Focus

Redchurch Street is widely regarded as London’s most fashionable street, Vyner Street is full of art galleries and there are a dozen nightclubs in the same neighbourhood, yet for all its cool Shoreditch has become more West End than cutting edge bohemia. So where must trend-seekers go to next?


Dalston is already seriously hip, as the middle classes and trendies have been priced out of Shoreditch and Hoxton, so the question now is when it will become as highly commercialised at its neighbour? Not having any tube stations makes it a little harder to access, however that hasn’t stopped a new influx of wealth, which has created a bit of a divide between the locals and the new arrivals. Turkish and Afro-Carribbean supermarkets sit alongside wine bars and nightclubs on the busy, perennially littered Kingsland Road. The stalwarts remain though: Ridley Road Market is as buzzy and colourful as ever, with plenty of exotic foods on sale, The Vortex Jazz Club provides all the acts that the more mainstream Ronnie Scott’s doesn’t, and Rio Cinema is one of the few independent cinemas left in London as well as one of the cheapest.

Hotspots: Tiny, in a basement and with a retro theme (old school video cassettes), Visions Video Bar is a Dalston favourite. The Cat & Mutton is the hipster pub par excellence, as it’s located on Broadway Market, formerly a fruit and veg market that now sells posh food and is lined with vintage clothing shops. Café Oto is where to go for experimental, forward-thinking music, and it’s also been named Britain’s coolest venue by Italian Vogue, therefore it’s not surprising it’s filled with fashionistas drinking coffee and tapping away on iMacs during the day, and music nerds nodding their heads to throbbing synths at night.

The New York Times declared Peckham an important cultural destination back in 2009, and it certainly has all the usual trappings of a neighbourhood about to be gentrified: a happening art scene, cheap rents and beautiful houses, particularly when you head in the direction of Camberwell. Rye Lane is full of cheap clothing shops, ethnic food stores and places where you can get your mobile phone unlocked, while Peckham Road is leafy, with wide pavements and pretty terraced homes; in short, it’s ripe for the picking by plucky estate agents. The flipside is that Peckham is still notorious for gun crime, but artsy locals believe this gives them a bit of an edge.

Hotspots: The Bussey Building is an arts complex and café by day, and a warehouse club by night (a term which curiously describes a type of experience nowadays, as opposed to a club being held in an actual warehouse). Frank’s Campari Rooftop Bar is open throughout the summer, serving Negronis and Moscow Mules on the top of a multi-storey car park.


They’ve certainly been busy with their London predictions over at the New York Times, as in 2009 they also rated New Cross and Deptford as being new contenders for hipdom, much to the bemusement of the residents. Perhaps south east London is about to see a sharp increase in transatlantic visitors on a quest to find the next big thing? In any case, thanks to Goldsmiths University this area is gaining new pubs and clubs to cater to the student population, but on the high street pound shops and bookmakers abound. The upstairs of Goldsmiths Tavern in New Cross was where #Meateasy, predecessor to MeatLiquor and spearheads of the current burger craze, established themselves in their initial pop-up format.

Hotspots: The Amersham Arms, where according to their website “industry and media hang out at the creative, student-friendly music bar”. Say no more.
\n\nStoke Newington

As Dalston’s Kingsland Road becomes Stoke Newington High Street when you move north, the upmarket bars and cafes continue to populate this thoroughfare, while Stoke Newington Church Street is filled with expensive boutiques and yummy mummies pushing 4x4 prams. But it’s also home to large ethnic populations (primarily Jewish) which ensure the area remains diverse and interesting. The numerous parks and attractive Victorian houses with ever-increasing price tags making Stoke Newington highly desirable.

Hotspots: The Waiting Room (formerly The Drop) is becoming a hot ticket where electronic music is concerned, with parties by Disco Bloodbath and record shop Juno, as well as hosting Andrew Weatherall and Junior Boys. The amusingly-titled Moustache Bar has everything from house to rock ‘n’ roll but with its kitsch film posters and sceney crowd it’s more about socialising than losing yourself on the dancefloor.

Elephant & Castle

After the ugly, disconcerting roundabout by the tube station the next apparent thing about Elephant & Castle is that it’s practically impossible to move without passing new developments under construction. The shopping centre may still be rubbish, but elsewhere there are gems like East Street Market and London’s oldest herbalist G. Baldwin & Co, a quaint little shop with high counters and shelves replete with jars of herbs. The world’s most famous superclub, Ministry of Sound, also happens to be located here. House prices are relatively affordable, and all these factors are contributing to young professionals moving here in droves.

Hotspots: Warehouse party venue and arts space >a href="">Corsica Studios is dark, intimate and boasts a great soundsystem. Meanwhile restaurants like My Big Fat Greek and Colombian La Bodeguita are raising the standards for dining out.

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