Situated between Liverpool Street and Old Street, no other area encapsulates the East End’s changing face more so than Shoreditch. Today, the ultra-hip neighbourhood is a monument to the entrepreneurial renaissance that seized East London in the mid-nineties and remains a beacon that is a draw for the UK’s best creative minds.
The artsy stereotype the neighbourhood has may have been perpetuated since the nineties, but the truth is Shoreditch has long been a draw for creative types of all dispositions – many of whom who took advantage of the deindustrialisation of the area, as far back as the 1960s.
Today, the stoic red-brick facades of the district’s Victorian factories sit snuggly between the cutting-edge glass and metal structures of new-build residential developments, all framed against a starry horizon of The City’s skyscrapers. But while it’s easy to be dazzled by this skyline, the colourful menagerie of hip bars, old-school boozers and artisan food vendors down at street level really have made Shoreditch London’s coolest destination to both live and work.
The world’s biggest e-commerce brand, Amazon, moved their UK HQ to Shoreditch in 2017, into the newly built Principle Place. The 15-story, 600,000 square foot block sits at the bottom of Worship lane and houses nearly a thousand staff working in R&D and operational roles. Game developer Improbable also moved their UK HQ to the area in 2018, with its Spitalfields office now home to more than 320 staff.
A hotbed of creativity, more than 15,000 new businesses set up in Shoreditch and Old Street in 2014 alone – nearly five times the amount in Canary Wharf.
In the area…
When it comes to eating out, variety really isn’t something you’ll struggle with when finding your feet in the area. That means you have little excuse for buying a lifeless sarnie at lunch, especially if you’re looking for more than just ham and cheese. Using your loaf, Kêu Banh Mi Deli on Old Street is the perfect place for a god-tier Vietnamese baguette – we recommend the glazed pork belly – or Franco’s Rivington Street for a proper East End fry-up and cup of Rosie.
After-work dining is truly when Shoreditch comes into its own. From Michelin-starred The Clove Club by Shoreditch Town Hall, to hand-made pasta specialists Burro e Salvia off Redchurch Street, it’s virtually impossible to get from the top of Brick Lane to the bottom of Hoxton without stumbling over a world-class eatery. Honourable mentions include Xi’an Biang Biang Noodles, Blanchette East and Smokestak for a flavour journey that takes you from East to West.
And when dinner rolls into aperitif territory, the neighbourhood certainly has earned its reputation for having perhaps the best nightlife scene in London. Spearheading this boozy index is Happiness Forgets, an intimate no-nonsense cocktail bar on Hoxton Square that cracked the top ten of the World’s 50 Best Bars poll in 2016. Membership at Shoreditch House is a must, too, if you’re wanting to hob-knob with some of London’s leading creatives.
That’s not forgetting there’s something for the ‘specialist’; Bull in a China Shop has more than 100 Scotch and Japanese whiskies behind its bar, while Lounge Bohemia provides a crash course in “molecular mixology” (think Heston Blumenthal, but with cocktails). For a more low-key after-work scoop, you can’t go wrong with classic East London boozer The Bricklayers Arms on Charlotte Road, or The Owl & Pussycat, which is a heartbeat from Shoreditch High Street station.
Xi’an Biang Biang Noodles
Rooftop dips at members’ club Shoreditch House
Shoreditch House, mingle with media bigwigs
Bare bricks and ultra hip
Bustling Brick Lane, on your doorstep
The Clove Club – Michelin-starred British cuisine
Burro e Salvia, for hand-made pasta
Bitesize French eats at Blanchette East
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Want to see what the wider neighborhood has to offer? Why not read our guides for the nearby areas.