We’ve already shared with you our picks for a perfect day and night in London — and the amazing Burberry wardrobe to go with it! — and now Jetsetter is sharing some of fabulous fashion designer Henry Holland’s favorite things about his neighborhood. Find out what to do, see and eat in Shoreditch, and make sure to download or upgrade the Jetsetter iPad app for information on all the coolest ‘hoods in London, just in time for Olympic fever!
Shoreditch, London’s answer to the Lower East Side, has lost its aggressively hipster vibe in recent years, as escalating rents have driven the artists farther east (hello gentrification), but this street art–strewn hood still knows how to party. And, increasingly, how to eat and dress: Celeb chefs are moving in, and high-end heritage boutiques are replacing scruffy vintage stores. The area is also fizzing with tech start-ups — so much so that its Old Street Roundabout (or traffic circle to you and me) has been rechristened Silicon Roundabout. Oh, and a certain Olympic stadium is a just five-mile cycle ride away. Local resident Henry Holland, Designer, House of Holland , tells Jetsetter just why he loves Shoreditch so much.
“I love this part of town — it’s full of creative types; a real gathering of the weird, the wacky and the wonderful. The restaurant and bar scene is really vibrant: I like Bistrotheque in Bethnal Green, down the road from Shoreditch, for its cabaret nights, Boundary Rooftop for its olive trees and 360-degree views of London, and A Little of What you Fancy for amazing British dishes. And when Rihanna’s in town we drink at the Joiners Arms, a dingy gay bar on Hackney Road.”
Redchurch Street, which was gritty just a couple of years ago, is now dotted with homegrown brands, and there are rumors that upscale internationals like Christian Louboutin and Rugby Ralph Lauren are coming soon. For refined classics, check out Margaret Howell; for perfect T-shirts, hit revived heritage brand Sunspel; for relaxed weekendwear and accessories, Aubin & Wills; and for classic utilitarian housewares, Brown Betty teapots, enamel mugs and polka dot handkerchiefs, don’t miss Labour and Wait.
Although Shoreditch’s sizzling restaurant scene represents just about every corner of the globe, the hottest table is Mark Hix’s very British Tramshed, which opened in May and serves whole organic chicken, sirloin steak and not much else in a cavernous space dominated by a Damien Hirst formaldehyde cow and cockerel. Carnivores will also like Brawn, just off Columbia Road, for its daily-changing French peasant menu (such as pork rilettes, lamb tongue, snails). For ligonberry-smothered meatballs and gravlax hit Swedish restaurant Fika. Pizza East gives New York’s pies a run for their money and draws a creative crew, and if you’d rather spend your pounds on cocktails, 24-hour Beigel Bake on Brick Lane does a mean $5 salt beef bagel.
Shoreditch has bear-hugged the artisanal cocktail trend in recent years. Callooh Callay, named for Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky poem, has an inventive menu that includes the Marmaggedon, made with tequila, lime juice, beer and… Marmite, a British savory spread. For the hood’s answer to the Manhattan speakeasy, try the Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town — you enter via a Smeg fridge door — or the kitschy cool Ninety-Eight Bar & Lounge. And to watch those Silicon Valley girls and boys drinking Shoreditch Twat concoctions and dreaming up the next social startup, head to Book Club, a bar-club that’s open all day and runs events like DJ nights, speed-dating sessions and life drawing classes.
In Bethnal Green, a quick ride on the 55 bus from Shoreditch, Town Hall Hotel occupies a grand Edwardian municipal building with elaborate Art Deco interiors. The rooms are spacious, with midcentury furniture and kitchens, and there’s a swimming pool, but it’s Nuno Mendes’s celebrated Viajante restaurant that’s the biggest draw.