All the fun around Old Street
If that hideous show, Extreme Makeover, was about London neighbourhoods, Shoreditch would’ve featured in the first episode. The area has come a long way in the last 20 years, and even further since it took a drubbing from Luftwaffe bombs in WW2.
This neck of the woods has undoubtedly become much wealthier, but it retains a vibrancy that makes it one of the finest London locales in which to live it up. Pop-up bars, independent shops, tech entrepreneurs and extravagantly tattooed creatives munching Vietnamese baguettes side by side: if it’s variety you seek, you’ve come to the right place.
Huckle’s first shop opened at 340 Old Street in 2012, so it seems about time we put together a little guide to some of the spiffing drinking dens, restaurants and shops we share a postcode with.
Ryan Roland, Huckle barber and good-time guy, was kind enough to share his wisdom with us for this one. (You can see Ryan’s previous, shaggier incarnation on our recent post about caring for long hair, here.)
Best bars near Old Street, London
155 Hoxton St, London N1 6PJ
‘This top cocktail spot used to be the White Lyan, but it’s been refurbished and had a name change. Owner Ryan Chetiyawardana working boozy wonders again.’
1e Great Eastern St, London EC2A 3EJ
‘The entrance to this small speakeasy is through an unassuming door. It’s quite an exclusive place. You won’t find any weekend tourists.’
65 Rivington St, London EC2A 3AY
‘I love this place for a fancy drink. It’s quite eccentric and quirky. Upstairs they sometimes have international guest bartenders dong their own menus.’
Owl and Pussycat
34 Redchurch St, London E2 7DP
‘Ah, the last bastion of boozerdom. There are very few pubby pubs left in the area, but the Owl and Pussycat hasn’t changed for years, thankfully. No fuss, good beers and a smoking area out the back, which is lovely in the sun.’
Hawksmoor, Spitalfields Bar
157A Commercial St, London E1 6BJ
‘Underneath the Hawksmoor, which is also great, but the bar is a bit more relaxed. Superb bark snacks. I love a plate of chips and gravy, or chips and curds. Sounds weird, but it’s delicious.’
In the basement, 8-9 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6NU
One of the top ten bars in the world. Nuff said. We interviewed Happiness bartender, Dan Garnell, for the Huckle blog a while back. Read it here.
‘Another hidden gem.’
Best restaurants and cafes near Old Street, London
Friends of Ours
61 Pitfield St, Hoxton, London N1 6BU
‘The owner, Anthony, is one of my oldest clients. He’d kill me if I didn’t put this in. But seriously, Friends of Ours is a wonderful independent cafe. Great for coffee and lunch.’
St John Bread and Wine
94-96 Commercial St, London E1 6LZ
‘Sister to the high-end offal institution, St John, on St John Street. Fergus Henderson’s nose-to-tail menu is great for posh nosh in an informal setting. It’s kind of like an old, school dining hall.’
58 Kingsland Rd, London E2 8DP
‘This one’s controversial because everyone in East London has their favourite Vietnamese restaurant. People get weirdly militant about it. This is my favourite anyway. A Kingsland Road classic. Ooh, salt and pepper squid.’
2, Oliver’s Yard, 55 City Rd, London EC1Y 1HQ
‘Lovely for brunch on Sundays. Does amazing coffee and the corn fritters are extremely moreish.’
Keu Banh Mi Deli
332 Old Street, London EC1V 9DR
‘I’m in here almost every other day. Apparently the sandwiches are amazing, my missus swears by them, but I’m a rice guy so I always go for the rice bowls.’
Red's True Barbecue
54-56 Great Eastern St, London EC2A 3QR
‘My mate, Stuart, is one of the head smokers here. It’s a meat lover’s paradise. Brisket, sausages, ribs. Get yourself down here for a serious protein hit.’
Best shops near Old Street, London
123 Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 7DG
‘High-quality Japanese denim with regular fits. Love their clothes and we cut their hair too.’
151 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3QE
‘I’m showing my age here, but I really love their home section. It’s wicked. A really well thought out selection of design.’
Well, that should keep you busy. If you’re planning a weekend in Shoreditch, don’t forget to freshen up at Huckle the Barber first.
Huckle the Barber offers London gents smart cuts, beard trims and wet shaves, on Old Street and Lamb’s Conduit Street. Book online here.