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Top 5 East End Bars

Nicky Charlish

Ever since the Young British Artists started colonizing it some 20 years ago, the East End has started to lose its image as a place of poverty and pie and mash. The flowering of the Silicon Roundabout at Old Street and the completion of the London Overground network’s eastern section, giving easy access to the area, have continued this process. It makes for a lively night time scene. If you want a night on the town, or a daytime drink, where’s best 
if you’re going east?

Cafe 1001

Nestling among the creative businesses, independent shops and galleries in Spitalfields’ Old 
Truman Brewery in Brick Lane is Cafe 1001. Open seven days a week, it offers a tempting 
range of fresh food, BBQ and drinks, with outside tables for when the weather’s fine. 
Upstairs, a large backroom is available for parties, gigs, and art and fashion shows. But 
just before you reach it, there’s also a cosy area with comfy cushions and leather sofas where you can hang out to get that important piece of work completed on your laptop, or just chill-out quietly when you’ve pounded the pavements in search of a bargain from the
 vintage fashion shops in the nearby streets.

Dalston Superstore

Thirty years ago, this area was favoured by radicals because it abounded in squats and cheap housing. Now, it’s made steady advances in achieving its place as a top contender in the capital’s pantheon of cucumber cool places. Originally the site of a supermarket, minicab office and restaurant this venue, just along from Dalston Kingsland station, has played a part in this development as well as bringing life to a quarter of the city not originally noted for it. As you enter the ground floor bar, you might be forgiven for thinking 
that you’ve stepped back in time to the New York of the 1970s - the time of Warhol’s glory 
years and films like French Connection - for the grimy-yet-Iurid colour scheme recalls the legendary punky bars of that period, like CBGB’s. In the daytime, it functions as 
a restaurant, with a range of salads, sandwiches and burgers. At night, it puts on its glad rags, and parties with a disco in the basement.

George and Dragon

Although it looks like a relic of Victorian times, this pub has only been in existence for a few years. A leading hang out for fashionistas, you’ve a good chance of finding the miniscule DJ box occupied by the likes of London club veterans such as Princess Julia or Wayne Shires 
(and when things start to hot-up, prepare to get dancing with a lively crowd). Celebs have been known to stop by: designer Jean Paul Gaultier paid a visit around the time his current 
Barbican show opened. Art exhibitions sometimes take place in the pub’s White Cubicle gallery (aka the Ladies’ loo). And when they’re not happening, there’s a fascinating collection of knick knacks dotted all around the bar to keep you aesthetically entertained. But if this sounds too too trendy dahling, this little venue is home to plenty of people who just want a good time. There’s no dress code, so you don’t have to worry about whether your personal style will fit in with any absolutely fabulous things going on when you visit. The bar staff are friendly, and serve reasonably priced drinks

Hoxton Bar and Kitchen

As its name suggest, this is a place for eats and drinks. The frontage is deceptively small but 
the venue is long (including the bar - hurrah), so there’s plenty of space to sit, eat and drink. 
But there’s also a multiple use performance space: it’s a regular venue for bands, both
 British and international - it recently played host to a gig by up and coming Belgian outfit Balthazar which was fully sold out. And it has a place in clubbing history as the home, a few years ago, for the legendary BoomBox club, a place for ardent and dressy young clubbers who’d missed out on the groundbreaking glamour of the capital’s New Romantic scene almost thirty years earlier. Tucked away in Hoxton Square, it’s a haven from the bustling 
traffic of City Road and Old Street.

Queen of Hoxton

This is a veritable palace of delights. There’s a bar of course - but also a games room with 
ping-pong, table-football and vintage pinball. There are art installations, and a basement area for raves and gigs. But upstairs is the club’s real must see attraction, the jewel in the Queen’s crown - the rooftop garden. Open from midday, it’s well worth the walk up a few flights of stairs to reach it. Emerging from its entrance, you find yourself in an oasis of 
booze and food, with potted plants dotted around the cabin-like loos giving the place a homely horticultural touch. You really could be lazing out in your garden. On a warm evening, among the locals and workers from the nearby start-ups, when there’s a gentle breeze wafting the sound of clanking trains from Liverpool Street station, the panoramic views of the City skyline and Canary Wharf Towers give you the feel, not just of the power of London as a modern business hub but of its centuries long history - and growth - as a major city.

Happy drinking!

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