Welcome to Bethnal Green. East London’s treasure trove of trendy dive bars, smart boutique hotels, bistros extraordinaire and… urban farms. It’s a place with a lot to offer. For the inside scoop on which to check out while you’re here, follow our Bethnal Green taxi driver’s guide. It features some places you might have heard of, some you won’t, but all guaranteed to excite and to please. Bethnal Green is and always has been something of an enigma. Once a slightly rundown corner of Hackney. It’s an area that’s synonymous with small industry. A fact that’s still reflected by its many boutique stores and (of course) famous flower market. Until recently though its social scene was pretty much restricted to gritty east London boozers and – shall we say – gentlemen’s parlours. But as one of the chief perpetrators of the east London revival, Bethnal Green has now seemingly settled on that perfect blend dusty past and trendy present. Addison Lee provide Londoners with a professional service that tailors to the needs of the customer; not to the company or even the driver. One that arrives promptly, drops off without hesitation and always ensures clean, comfortable and safe passage across the city. It’s a service we’ve been providing for over 30 years now. And with over 20,000 journeys across the capital every day; we like to think we’re doing a pretty good job of it. That’s why if you choose us over another Bethnal Green taxi service, you can do it safe in the knowledge that you’ll be saving up to 30% off the price off a black cab. And that we won’t suddenly hike up the price simply because we’re busy. From here on out, it’s easy. Just pick where you want to go from our Bethnal Green taxi driver’s guide, book an Addison Lee using our website or app and be on your way. It’s really as simple as that.
Where to drink
The Sun Tavern
The lovely thing about the Sun Tavern is that it keeps everything so simple. That’s not to say they’re basic by any means. No, they’ve got the things they do down to an art. Set in a one time pub that fell into disrepair, this newly converted tavern (by which it means it serves pretty much all things great) is a stripped down testament to what Bethnal Green does best. They hold the largest Poitin selection outside of Ireland and their whiskey selection is worth a gander too. They’ve recently started brewing their own alcoholic ginger beer too and it’s utterly delicious.
441 Bethnal Green Rd, E2 0AN
The first thing to love about the grubby fronted (and even better named) Satan’s Whiskers is its joie de vivre. Gone are the table reservations, secret entrances and prohibition style costumes of Shoreditch. In here, entertainment is key. From the outside, it looks like a dive bar. On the inside it’s something altogether more pleasant. The music is by and large hip hop infused, while the decor feel like something out of Blade Runner. All clean lines, shadows, shutters and ice. The drinks menu – which changes daily – offers up a whole range of libations you’d never even dared to dream of. And the men and women that serve them, true experts in their field.
343 Cambridge Heath Rd, E2 9RA
Peg + Patriot
Set in the bowels of the oh so boutiqu-ey Town Hall Hotel, The Peg + Patriot is one of Bethnal Green’s more refined places to sup on a cocktail. And yet, with all its elegance and finery it still manages to stay quite affordable. Especially once you taste the quality of the drinks that are on offer. Each drink seems to come layered in puns to afford them a more laidback feel than in central London. But at £10 a cocktail and with names like “O Bay One Keno Bay” you’re more than happy to hand over the cash. The bar itself feels upmarket than local competition but you shouldn’t feel out of place if you’re not dressed to the nines. Practically nobody else is.
Patriot Square, E2 9NF
Where to eat
‘Stripped down Scandinavian’ is possibly the best way to describe the decor in the incredibly stylish Typing Room. And it’s a look that extends to its menu too. The food, though refined, is never unforthcoming. Providing hearty plates of scent infused wizardry to drooling patrons. We were especially taken by the celebratory presentation (and succulent flavour) of the Pigeon Smoked in Pine. You can eat from a modestly priced lunch menu or, if you swing by in the evening, there’s a five or seven course taster menu. The wine list is also suitably delicious and you’ll find their servers more than happy to indulge your every question.
Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square, E2 9NF
Just walking into the large, bright hall that is Bistrotheque should be enough to convince you this is somewhere you’d love to eat. By the time you’ve witnessed the sea of hungry diners busily chatting and scoffing away in front of you it’s become a near cathartic process. The food is unapologetically bistro based. By which we mean you’re looking at everything from fillet steak through to steak tartare. With sassy alternatives like pressed lamb and whole fried prawns in between. They also serve a terrific brunch menu that can be as boozy and heavy, or light and healthy as you like.
23-27 Wadeson St, E2 9DR
If you’re looking for somewhere that doesn’t bother with all the hoo-haa of some of those fancy restaurants, then Brawn is almost certainly the place for you. Young, lively and vibrant is how we’d best describe this casual dining establishment. In fact, the whole outlay of the place seems to speak of friendly, convivial dining. Even the dishes are largely prepared with groups in mind. Whether it’s the smaller plates or the sharing platters, they all point to a fingers first attitude to food. It’s hard to pin down any one particular cuisine here but there is a definite Mediterranean lean, if not a complete commitment. Just get stuck in, that’s our advice.
49 Columbia Rd, E2 7RG
What to do
Hackney City Farm
A farm. In the city. Who knew? Well, anyone who’s ever visited an urban farm before probably did. But the with Hackney City Farm there’s a definite difference. While many others of its type have a sort of grubby and grimy feel to them. Hackney City Farm feels like an altogether more welcoming green space. The kind of farm animals really want to be on. Pigs, donkeys, goats, sheep and geese all live here and they seem to do so in total comfort too. Making this an ideal day venture for anyone with kids, or for those who just loves bit of wildlife. A welcome break from the city’s fumes.
1a Goldsmiths Row, E2 8QA
Known to the locals as Vicky Park, this little patch of rural heaven is one of Hackney’s biggest draws. Sprawling and green, it started life as one of the Royal Parks but was downgraded to a municipal park in 1887. Reaching out from the corner where Regent’s and Hertford Union canals meet, it boasts tennis courts, cricket nets, a boating lake and a huge playground for the kids. Come here for activities or to relax it’s great either way. It also hosts the hugely popular music festival Field Day in June.
Columbia Rd Flower Market
What can you say about Columbia Rd Flower Market that hasn’t been said before? Simply the place to go for all your floral needs in London. Choose to go on a spending frenzy or just take a stroll, it’s one of the most stunning spots in London. No question. Drop by every Sunday from 8am to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells on offer. It runs until 2-3pm and provided you’re not here to snag the very best of the flowers, the street tends to be a little less busy right at the death. It’s worth mentioning that Columbia Rd itself also has loads of great little boutique shops on it too. All great to visit in their own right.
Columbia Rd, E2 7RG