“Go to Brick Lane, it’s so different and you’ll love it” I told my German friends who had come to stay.
They had been to all of the usual touristy spots in the city so I figured this would be a totally different view of London for them. Unfortunately they got as far as Osborn Street and thought that was it. They returned to me and said *In thick German accent* “It was not good, just curry everywhere”
This area of London is known as ‘BanglaTown’ Osborn street is on the end of Brick Lane and is famous for it’s curry houses, some of the best in London apparently. If they continued to the end of Osborne street they would have discovered the hipsters paradise that is Brick Lane.
To be honest I am pretty mainstream, I’ve never owned a retro denim jacket that smells like a charity shop, but never the less I love it here. A little because everybody here is cooler than me and also because there is no where else quite like it in London.
Things to do and see in Brick Lane:
Nightlife: A Brick Lane bar crawl is a must. Start at “Verge” at the top end and work your way down to “Vibe Bar” and “Big Chill” in Dray Walk. If you fancy live music check out the lineup at “93 Feet East” or for a night of raving the back room in Cafe 1001 occasionally stays open all night.
Exhibitions: East London hosts ‘First Thursdays’ on the first Thursday of every month with over 170 galleries open until late showing free exhibitions and events. Some of which can be found around Brick Lane.
Check out The Old Truman Brewery website for upcoming exhibitions in Dray Walk and The Brick Lane Gallery.
Shops: If you like to wear something 50′s on top and 70′s on the bottom then you’ll love Brick Lane for it’s many vintage shops, but don’t expect crash prices, these places have become quite popular. Also popping up are chain retail stores like Urban Outfitters and Religion.
I only venture into one store and that’s the one I call “The Cat Shop” — Named so because it’s home to two cute cats that wander around the shop floor completely unphased by the gushy customers. Unfortunately I can’t spend longer than a minute in here before I flee in a sneezing frenzy. The cat shop sell’s hand designed clothes and ‘Zines’ — Micro-magazines put together by local illustrators and artists. (If you know the real name of this store let me know)
‘Rough Trade’ stocks an impressive range of vinyl including all of those song’s you’ve Shazamed and never heard again. The Rough Trade photo booth provides you with the perfect Brick Lane souviner.
Market: The famous Brick Lane Sunday market where you can purchase anything and everything. some people will call it “priceless”, other’s “rubbish”. Pick up a Fixie or racing bike for under half the price….Beware, it may come with a handling stolen goods gaurentee.
Food: Brick Lane was once prodominently a Jewish area which explains the two famous 24 hour Beigel shops, sold with every filling you can imagine for cheap. Much needed after the bar crawl.
There are also too many coffee shops to list.
Parks: Allen Gardens is a park located behind the buildings on the East side of Brick Lane. In summer I’ve enjoyed a dirty bottle of Lambrini and drunkenly taken to the zip-wire. (Photos not included)
Street Art: The ever changing art that’s splashed across the walls of Brick Lane is one of it’s biggest attractions to the area. Credible street artists come here to show off their handy work and most of it remains untainted.
I joined the photographers–with my iphone– and shot what I considered to be the best of the Brick Lane street art for your viewing pleasure.
Have any questions or suggestions on where I should go next? Leave a comment!