In bygone days, its streets were more likely to be filled with with the down and out than the up and coming. East London had a reputation for being dodgy, the stomping grounds for shady characters such as Jack the Ripper and the like. Today, Shoreditch and the surrounds are experiencing a resurgence, attracting creative, edgy types to its wide array of new restaurants, bars, cafes and shops.
For Anna Watts, matriarch of The Jones Family Project, it presented the perfect place for her latest venture. The restaurant opened its doors in 2014, a collaborative effort between a group of friends who shared a passion for good food, good drinks, and great company. It's set itself up as one of the area's most dynamic independently owned modern steak restaurant and cocktail bars, incorporating the local creative vibes through art, design, graffiti murals, and rotating pop-up displays. Pair that with locally sourced foods (they're particularly known for their meats) and a list of 100 wines and 30 cocktails, and you'd be set to never leave.
But if you did want to venture out and explore more, Anna was kind enough to share with us a few of her favorite spots in one of London's hottest neighborhoods.
Where to Stay:
The Hoxton (website)
One of the buzziest addresses in the area, The Hoxton has 210 beautifully designed bedrooms, meetings and event space, and a restaurant that's run in partnership with Soho House & Co. You'd be hard pressed to find a place hotter than this right now.
Town Hall Hotel (website)
This property located in Bethnal Green has many charms, occupying the original town hall building built in 1910 during the height of Edwardian architecture. It's been painstakingly restored, and features two of the most fascinating rooms: The Council Chamber and The De Montfort Suite, which is larger than the average house. A must for history buffs.
M by Montcalm (website)
You'll find the diamond design of this hotel a modern contrast to the other buildings where Shoreditch meets Tech City, an energetic section of the city filled with start-ups and creatives. Built by London-based architect firm Squire and Partners, its façade was inspired by Bridget Riley's diagonal stripe-based abstract painting Nataraja (1993).
The Curtain (website)
Coming in early 2017, The Curtain has more of a warehouse style, and will offer 120 guest rooms, including 6 suites, and a rooftop swimming pool and lounge. It will also bring one of New York's acclaimed restaurants, Red Rooster in Harlem by Marcus Samuelsson, across the pond. With so much character it's sure to be a fast favorite.
Where to Eat + Drink:
This is a street rather than a specific address, and is the go-to spot for locals in search of an authentic Indian curry. Many places offer a great value with set menus.
Chock full of personality, serving cuisine inspired by Bombay's Irani cafés. This place is built on stores – memories of those who know and love the Irani cafés, which are incorporated into their dishes. It's a fascinating spot rich in culture, served with fantastic food.
Typing Room (website)
Located in the Town Hall Hotel, and is named after the space where all of the neighborhood administrative work took place in the early 1900s. Chef Lee Wescott has brought a touch of today to the restaurant through modern, innovative European dishes made from locally sourced and seasonal British ingredients.
The Gibson (website)
A glamorous Art Deco style bar, The Gibson invites you to celebrate the decadence of bygone eras through an elaborately creative list of cocktails. It's small, intimate, and will take you on a time travel adventure that won't just be the booze talking.
Taking cues from the speakeasy culture, this bar is known for live music and, naturally, fantastic cocktails. There's something going on every night of the week they're open (closed on Mondays). They have an impressive collection of vintage spirits as well.
The Jones Family Project (website)
Of course no list of Shoreditch hot spots would be complete without including The Jones Family Project. This is our personal favorite in the area, and the site of our very first Global Creator Pop-Up.
Callooh Callay (website)
The perfect late-night stop after an evening of bar hopping, this award-winning spot was an early adopter for the neighborhood, having opened its doors in 2008. This eccentric favorite has been named in Drink International's The World's Best 50 Bars in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016.
Where to Shop:
Labour & Wait (website)
Shoreditch's Redchurch Street is fast becoming one of the most famous shopping streets in London, and Labour & Wait is a standout amongst the crowd. Filled with curated finds from hardware to clothing, this store has everything you never knew you needed.
Nudie Jeans Repair Shop (website)
A shop that bases itself on the concept of dry denim, and the character that ensues after weeks of wearing. It's a unique spin on a classic wardrobe staple, and yes, they do offer free repairs for your most well-loved pair.
House of Hackney (website)
Patterns take precedence at this store, a collection of homewares and clothing using the most wonderfully bold fabrics. Coordinate your finds here to match, or choose one for a bold pop of British style.
This is the place in Shoreditch to find gifts and clothing items for men. They offer a wide array of items, from clothing to homewares to books and apothecary products.
Located at the bottom end of Shoreditch High Street on Bethnal Green Road, Boxpark is the original London old container shopping village. There are more than 25 different vendors here, and plenty of options for food and drink should you need a recharge after all that shopping.
Tusch & Egon (website)
It's a shop of curiosities and quirky gifts, and the perfect place to pick up something for that friend or relative who already has absolutely everything.
The must-go store for any fan of retro, with a mix of vintage, designer goods, and eclectic gifts. There is also a café and exhibition gallery on site.
What to Do:
Spitalfields Market (website)
Said to be where art and craft meets fashion and food, this market is a mix of shopping and live events, including swing dancing, public art, and tea dances accompanied by the New Covent Garden Dance Orchestra.
Old Truman Brewery (website)
Mainly an event space with a market most weekends, and a few permanent shops. The regular art shows for aspiring young artists are well worth checking out, with the schedule found on it's web site to see what's on while visiting.
The Columbia Road Flower Market (website)
Just a little farther afield, this flower market lights up a Sunday with bright blooms and foliage. There are 60 independent shops along this road as well, with a mix of art galleries, vintage clothing stores, cafes and delis, and garden and antique shops.
Street Art Tours
Shoreditch is becoming more and more famous for its street art, which captures the neighborhood's creative spirit and puts it on display for all to see. Wander the streets by yourself and see where they take you, or join one of the guided tours.
The Jealous Gallery (website)
Featuring the area's young and up-and-coming artists, this gallery is a favorite of both Anna and her husband Duncan. It's a delightfully modern mix of styles, mediums, and creative approaches that celebrates this next generation's forms of expression.
The Geffrye Museum (website)
This museum is dedicated to both the home and history, and takes visitors on a tour of living in the UK from 1600 to the present day. There are period rooms, a garden, a shop and a cafe on site.
The Museum of the Order of St John (website)
This fascinating museum follows the orders history from a military order caring for sick pilgrims in eleventh century Jerusalem, through to its modern-day role with St John Ambulance, the international first aid charity.