The essential Shoreditch: inspiring places to visit or revisit in the capital’s most hipster neighborhood ! Local journalist Oliver Horton presents Chapter #1: Hipster til I die!
Cereal Killer Café
Cereal Killer Café is contrived and controversial, but still genius. Contrived: the Brick Lane diner specializes in one unlikely food, breakfast cereal. Controversial: represents the tipping point for gentrification in a once rough-and-ready neighbourhood. Genius: the concept is simple and so successful there are usually queues to enter. Twin brothers Alan and Gary Keery import cereals from all over the world to be sure the offer is more sophisticated than Corn Flakes or Coco Puffs – patrons get to choose from a range of milks, too. It’s breakfast all day at Cerial Killer Café.
139 Brick Lane, E1 6SB
Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium
The cat café concept was imported from Japan. This is London’s first – a place to drink tea, read a book and stroke an array of cats (picking up any feline is banned). Book in advance: this is the real-life manifestation of the Instagram cute cat trend, and just as popular. Spending time with chilled-out cats is supposed to encourage personal well-being – so the Emporium stands as an indictment of stressed-out Londoners, who overcome their jangled nerves by renting an armchair and hoping a kitty will occupy their lap. Retiring cats are adopted by loving fans.
152-154 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6DG, UK
Labour and Wait
The household goods and homewares store sells the type of kitchen utensils you’d find in a Wes Anderson movie (Grand Budapest Hotel, The Royal Tenenbaums) served by denim clad attendants in 1940s canvas aprons. There are functional domestic goods such as whisks and wooden spoons, a small clothing range including work jackets, and retro children’s gifts. The items on offer are comfortingly familiar but difficult to find in such purity elsewhere – with prices to match.
85 Redchurch Street, E2 7DL
Vintage shopping is a quintessential hipster activity, and the Brick Lane area is loaded with stores selling yesterday’s fashions and creating tomorrow’s trends. Beyond Retro is the granddaddy of them all, having occupied its Cheshire Street location since 2002. The space is a former dairy shop; the original mosaic decorates the entrance. Beyond Retro’s soundsystem plays tracks as throwback as the clothes selection – which includes denim, sportswear and outerwear – but this is an influential destination popular with the area’s many, many fashion stylists.
110-112 Cheshire Street, E2 6EJ
Rough Trade East
The original Rough Trade record store opened in Ladbroke Grove in 1976, and birthed the well-known record label. The eastern outpost benefits from space and is a happy browse. These “purveyors of great music” sell vinyl, CDs, books, and the store regularly hosts live shows and signings from up-and-coming musicians. Serves decent coffee, too. If vinyl is your bag, take ten minutes to stroll round to Sister Ray on Shoreditch High Street.
91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL
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