This eclectic pocket of East London could be seen as Shoreditch’s scruffier cousin. Bethnal Green is a true East End gem, from its narrow back streets and pie and mash shops to its hive of local industry ‘under the arches’, it still retains an authentic East End feel. Combine this with the influx of hip bars and restaurants along with nearby Columbia Road Flower Market and Roman Road Market, plus the green open spaces of nearby Victoria Park and not only does makes the perfect playground for those cool cats wanting to enjoy the best nightlife, but also for families and city workers wanting a bit more space for their money with easy access to the City and central London.
Bethnal Green has a diverse mix of property from Victorian and Georgian terraced houses / conversions and ex council flats to more modern canal side apartments, warehouse conversions and new developments. Sought after areas include the Victorian terraced cottages of the Jesus Hospital Estate Conservation Area, The Globe Town Conservation Area and the Grade II listed red brick flats of what was once the world’s oldest council estate – The Boundary Estate.
Bethnal Green Underground Station (Central Line): City 6 minutes approximately. West End 16 minutes approximately. Stratford International 17 minutes approximately.
Bethnal Green Overground Station: Lea Valley commuter line from Liverpool Street up to Chingford, Cheshunt and Enfield Town.
A number of well connected bus routes and numerous Santander cycle stands.
The Common: This is the first stop of the day for us, every. single. day. Roasting Shed coffee and Estate's Dairy milk makes all the difference. Food is also insanely good. All homemade and all so very tasty.
Second shot coffee: Exceptional coffee for a great cause. This coffee house is helping to tackle homelessness by employing, training and supporting the homeless to help reintegrate them back into society. It also has a ‘pay it forward’ system, where customers can pre-pay for food and drink, so someone in need claim a free meal or hot drink. Workshop Coffee and Square Mile are just a couple of the roasters used so you know the coffee is gooood!
Pavilion: One of the few shops to open on Columbia Road during the week. These guys know their coffee and the cinnamon buns are pretty awesome too.
The Well and Bucket: An ale selection longer than Bethnal Green Road, exceptional food (especially for oyster lovers) and a little secret down below!
The Sun Tavern: A traditional pub with a speakeasy twist. Originally established in 1851, the drinks menu is a mix of old and new with a great selection of local ales and some punchy cocktails. You can even have a (once illicit) Poitín tasting.
Going Out Out:
Bethnal Green Workings Men’s Club: Not your average Working Men’s Club! Think live music, comedy, burlesque and cocktails.
The Star of Bethnal Green: Cocktails, Karaoke and a Discotheque! Say no more!
Tickle Your Tastebuds:
Saint Sugar of London: Exquisite French patisseries and artisan bread, lovingly homemade with something for everyone - gluten free, paleo, vegan, raw, you name it, they do it.
Corner Room: Fine dining at its finest and in the beautiful surroundings of Bethnal Green’s Old Town Hall.
Sager + Wilde: Wonderful food and wonderful wine, hidden away under the arches of Paradise Row.
Roman Road Market on a Saturday and Brick Lane Market on a Sunday.
Let’s Do Brunch:
E. Pellicci:This well known haunt has been serving full English breakfasts since 1900! It has even been awarded Grade II listed status by English Heritage. The Gallery Café - this tucked away gem is a non-profit vegan and vegetarian café that will tempts even the most staunch carnivores with its mouthwatering dishes.
Bistrotheque:Hidden away on the first floor of a rather inconspicuous industrial building is a beauitful white dining room with equally beautiful food. Book ahead though as this place gets uber busy, especially at weekends.
Wild And Free:
Victoria Park, Mile End Park, Weaver’s Fields, Bethnal Green Garden, Museum Garden.
V&A Museum of Childhood: Rediscover your inner child at this fascinating museum. One of the world’s finest collections of children’s toys, doll’s houses, games and costumes housed in a beautifully refurbished 18th century building.
York Hall: One of Britain’s most renowned boxing venues and a fantastic day spa with original Turkish baths from the 1900’s.
Shop 'Til You Drop:
Columbia Road Flower Market: Open from 8am – 2pm every Sunday, this eclectic market has a stunning array of plant and flower stalls alongside a host of independent shops and galleries.
Roman Road Market: Open Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays, a traditional East End street market selling women’s fashion, homeware plus a fab selection of independent food stalls. Notable stalls include Stuart’s fabric stall, the donut seller, SuperChefCaribbean chicken and rice stall, and end-of-line French Connection and Top Shop stalls.
Brick Lane: From bagel shops to curry houses, furniture, clothing and bric-a-brac interspersed with art galleries, bars and clubs, this marvellously bustling and chaotic hub has become an East End institution.
Best Kept Secret:
Calvert Avenue: This quiet tree lined street tucked away behind Shoreditch High Street reminds us of New York's West Village. The street is briming with independent retailers selling everything from clothing and coffee to homeware and jewellery, it's a shopaholics paradise.
And while you're there, you must pop down the road to Arnold Circus and dine at another of East London's best kept secrets - Rochelle Canteen.