Word of Mouth: Shoreditch

A few must-hit spots and secret discoveries from East London's hub of art and hospitality

When a destination builds an alluring reputation, as East London’s Shoreditch has, it’s often tough to crack the most appropriate itinerary. How does one best participate in a location known for its expansive and globally recognized culture? CH’s team spends a lot of time in London—scouting for the best street food, galleries, coffee shops, and more, and the bustling capital—and the Shoreditch neighborhood in particular—has no shortage of things to do. The following selections incorporate a few “must-sees” along with some hidden treasures and discoveries. From a hole-in-the-wall barbershop to a now-classic hotel, here are some of our picks for Shoreditch.

The Hoxton

Located at the heart of Shoreditch, this cozy hotel features 210 rooms—ranging from Shoebox, Cosy and Roomy sizes, each with parquet floors and done in a clean monochromatic scheme. Regardless of how much space you desire, you’ll get an incredibly comfortable mattress and carefully considered surroundings to relax within. Open seven days a week, the restaurant Hoxton Grill opens at 7AM and serves food and drinks until late at night. Serving everything from kombucha to the “Pornstar Martini,” there’s something on the menu to satisfy at any time of the day.

The Bike Shed

Whether you’re a biker or simply admire the beauty of two-wheeled machines, a visit to this sprawling 12,000 square foot space is a delight. The Bike Shed started with a blog back in 2011 and has since grown into mixed-use venue: a 100-seat restaurant/cafe, retail storefront, barbershop and bike storage space. Pretense-free, this place is spread out across four old railway arches and, though there is a membership option (so you can skirt town council rules and drink without ordering food), all are most definitely welcome here. Rotating art and bike exhibitions mean there’s always something new to see and through chatting with some of the friendly locals you’ll end up with more places to check out in the area.

The Mayor Of Scaredy Cat Town

Craft cocktail culture is very much alive at this dimly lit basement bar where the vibe is relaxed, but the service is excellent. The novelty of entering the bar by walking through an old fridge located in the street-level dining room of The Breakfast Club is sure to delight many, but inside, the bar staff are friendly, and the decor is simple—exposed brick and timber. Of course the cocktails are the main event.

Burro e Salvia

Making all their pasta fresh daily, the team at Burro e Salvia pastificio is a talented crew—not only serving diners but also offering workshops for up to six people, and selling fresh pasta to cook at home. The signature Agnolotti Cavour al Burro e Salvia is perfectly rich. With a vast and impressive wine list, warm service and an ever-changing menu, it’s an excellent reason to eat Italian in England.

Whitechapel Gallery

An institution in the contemporary art scene for more than a century, Whitechapel Gallery has played host to a number of notable works and exhibitions over the past 117 years. Currently the work of German photographer Thomas Ruff (on now through 21 January) is on display, along with The Upset Bucket group show, an installation by Leonor Antunes and more.

Asashi Barber

Located off a nondescript street, Asashi Barbershop boasts just a couple chairs in this small studio space. That, however, doesn’t reflect on the service or the very accomplished Asashi Yamaguchi—who has worked with clients including Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Numero, Agent Provocateur, Burberry and more. Offering just haircuts and beard trims (no coloring) this is a no-frills barbershop—complete with a black and white tiled floor—in the most charming way.

Images courtesy of respective venues