by Leighanne Bent
Believe it or not, Shoreditch was a bit of a no-go zone once upon a time. But since being built up with plenty of quirky places to eat and drink, it’s now known as one of London’s coolest areas, which is why we got in contact with DesignMyNight.
Get ready to enjoy cactus quesadillas in colourful caravans and sip sassy cocktails in secret spaces with their guide…
Nestled in a Grade II listed building with magnificent interiors, venture to Shoreditch and plonk your backside on one of Dirty Bones’ plush velvet sofas, and let all calorie counting go out the window. From mac ‘n’ cheese burgers to cheeseburger dumplings, the food offering here is nothing short of life-changing, and is all inspired by indulgent American flavours.
Nestled in a two-storey Victorian warehouse, Blues Kitchen is one of east London’s coolest hangouts. Their menu offers an impressive selection of Texan BBQ grub; think cajun popcorn shrimp, buffalo burgers and crab donuts (yes, these exist and they’re great). They also have booths, perfect for listening to live music and DJs who play late into the night come the weekend. With over 100 varieties of bourbon on offer, this place will have you returning for more hedonism in no time.
Grab life by the balls this month and head to Bounce in Shoreditch. This basement bar is decked out with bright UV splattered walls and ping pong tables. Although we recommend getting a few games in, the menu here is enough to make you drop your paddle in the bat of an eyelid. Dig into cheesy nachos, drunken wings (which are chicken wings in a bold bourbon sauce) and an ah-mazing selection of stone-baked pizzas.
Shoreditch is one of the most hipster areas going, and there’s one eatery in particular that manages to mirror the area’s creativity: Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes. This ground-level hangout invites in art exhibitions and regular DJ nights throughout the year, keeping its look and vibe constantly fresh. Food-wise, they dish out pizza by the meter and they have four different types of lasagne listed on their Scandi-inspired menu.
With an explosive cocktail menu, killer music and daring interiors, Barrio Shoreditch is one of east London’s best party destinations. Climb into one of their colourful caravans, grab a couple of drinks and fill up on their Latin-inspired menu. Play it safe with a meat-packed taco or go wild and order the cactus quesadillas.
Looking Glass Cocktail Club is a discreet speakeasy bar sitting along Hackney Road and has a LOT to offer. Their mixologists have recently revamped the venue’s cocktail menu to bring forward classic drinks with a twist (one concoction comes with roasted marshmallows!). But this bar has more than just epic cocktails up its sleeve. There’s a large mirror at the back of the venue that leads to a secret space with dreamy vintage interiors (but you didn’t hear this from us, okay?).
NOLA lauds itself as one of London’s top secret bars and although it’s a tad challenging to find, it’s more than worth the Google Maps trauma. This place is New Orleans-inspired and it has an ever-changing roster of live jazz music, candlelit tables to settle into and a tip-top selection of hand-crafted cocktails. Unfortunately NOLA is closed for a short period to do some refurb work, but keep an eye out for the re-opening. It’s sure to blow you away.
Thanks to its ever-changing rooftop, the Queen of Hoxton has come to be a Shoreditch institution. Although their downstairs bar supports eye-catching graffiti, a landscape of benches and decorative ivy, it’s their sky-high space that deserves a round of applause. It changes according to the seasons, with his year’s summer pop-up being Peter Pan-themed. Banarang boasts a pirate ship, mermaid slushies and a Lost Boys’ Bar.
The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town is one of the most unique watering holes you’ll ever step foot in; but being so elusive and all, you need a password to get in. Once you get your hands on it, you’ll be taken through what looks to be an unassuming SMEG fridge, but is actually a secret door. Stomp down a flight of rickety stairs and you’ll be introduced to a dimly lit space with tonnes of character. If you love bloody marys, make sure you lock lips with their house special.
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