Looking for things to do in the city? Although the city is essentially central London there is no postcode for central London! So officially the city is in East London -however city bars are an exception to the rest of the area. They are smart and upmarket during the week – with everyone wearing suits. Further east is the real East London! The bars here attract funky students and the media savvy. Hoxton and Brick Lane are the areas of choice, both are packed with dozens of bars – you are truly spoilt for choice!
1) Vibe Bar
Situated slap bang in middle of infamous cultural hub, Brick Lane, Vibe bar offers customers the very best experience. As with most of the bars in Shoreditch; Vibe Bar has a scuzzy charm, a bit like a squat albeit without dog crap on the floor. One of the outstanding features is the courtyard, which is usually packed whatever the weather and contains food outlets such as a South African barbeque and Mammas Jerk Chicken. Music consists of a wide variety of live bands and DJs, something for everyone. As such, every September Vibe Bar plays host to the main stage of the Brick Lane music festival.
Location: The Truman Brewery. 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL.
For more details visit: Vibe Bar
2) Bar Music Hall
Bar Music Hall has a very interesting past; the building has been used as a variety hall, for 80s raves and in the 90s found itself in great use as a venue. Keeping with tradition, in the 00s Bar Music Hall plays host to a regular variety of bands and DJs. A corner is dedicated to the built in stage and is surrounded by leather lounging chairs. One of the most striking features is the large bar in the centre of the open plan venue. The decor is stripped back, bright and elegant with exposed beams and pillars. Check out the impressive selection of lesser known Belgian beers such as De Koninck, which blows Stella Artois out of the window. A fantastic selection of great food is also available; mainly American style breakfast and grill dishes.
Location: 134 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3AR.
For more details visit: Bar Music Hall
3) Bar Kick
Another quirky Shoreditch based bar, Bar Kick is split level, has a distinct continental feel and is decorated like a youth club; Formica topped tables and most importantly, French Table football, know as Baby Foot tables. A fine selection of food, coffee and imported beers await you, a perfect place for all you international cultural connoisseurs out there and furthermore, perfect for either boozy Friday nights or lazy Sunday afternoons. And if you think youve got the skills to be a star Table top football player, why not join the Kick Baby foot association, London –regular tournaments take place at Bar Kick.
Location: 127 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JE.
For more details visit: Bar Kick
4) The Big Chill Bar
One quarter of The Big Chill empire (the other three being the larger venue, The Big Chill House, The Big Chill Record Label and of course, The Big Chill Festival), a true gem of cool laid back disco, house, dub, funk, soul, chill out and cocktails. Situated just off Brick Lane, and a short walk to Spitalfields, The Big Chill Bar has a cosy, cavernous feel and has, quite possibly, the widest variety of whiskeys in London. Awesome! The vibrant bar also hosts regular sets from acclaimed DJs playing memorable tunes. Another great reason to visit The Big Chill Bar is the surprisingly cheap menu, perfect for a full days drinking.
Location: Dray Walk (off Brick Lane), London, E1 6QL.
For more details visit: The Big Chill
5) Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes
On first sight, given the rough Shoreditch urban wasteland surroundings, you immediately take Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes to be an empty shop. But there are people and a bar inside the dully lit premises, and yes indeed it is a bar. Inside youll find, to paraphrase the tagline on the website, art, music, fashion, parties (no shoes) and as suggested, there are arts exhibitions, showcases and DJ night to be experienced at Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes. Yes, the name is rather bizarre as it comes from the two defunct shops it is comprised of.
Location: 34-36 Kingsland Rd, Old Street, Hoxton, London, E2.
For more details visit: Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes
6) Prohibition Bar and Grill
This classy Wapping based drinking hole is part of a distinctive small chain of bars celebrating the American prohibition era. Or rather establishing a new prohibition by banning cheap and inferior beer and food. Theres definitely something to be said about sipping a Long Island Iced Tea while watching the boats bobbing by, as if you were in New York. But as you are sat in Prohibitions contemporary 1930s splendour overlooking Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and the River Thames help but smile. Entertainment includes live bands, DJs and even stand up comedy.
Location: Unit 1 Tower Bridge House, St Katharine Docks, East Smithfield, London, E1W 1AA.
For more details visit: Prohibition Bar and Grill
7) The Drunken Monkey
Fancy a diet of Electro House, Hip Hop, Deep House, Jazz, Dub, Rare Grooves, Dim Sum and strong, strong cocktails? Pop on over to Shoreditch and into truly unique drinking den, The Drunken Monkey, offering the finest dim sum, cocktails and chilled out beats. For those who dont know, dim sum translates to a little bit of heart and is essentially Chinese tapas and perfect to line the stomach whilst drinking. Check the listings for regular music events.
Location: 221-222 Shoreditch High Street London, E1 6PJ.
For more details visit: The Drunken Monkey
8) The Light
Just a short walk from the city and you stumble upon The Light, at the bottom of Shoreditch High St. This place has it all, outstanding food, post modern industrial decor, the atmosphere of young professionals letting off steam and a fantastic outdoor area including lawn, yes a lawn in the city! As The Light is housed in the former electric light station for G.E.R; it is rather large and consists of 3 rooms; the restaurant, the main downstairs bar and the lounge situated on the first floor. The Lounge acts as a cocktail bar and plays host DJs on Friday and Saturday.
Location: 233 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6PJ.
For more details visit: The Light
The original East End cocktail bar. If youve watched the film Cocktail in awe, Match is the place to go. Match take pride in the quality of ingredients and the craftsmanship involved. So expect some deft juggling and daring bottle flipping. The bar itself is split level, has a sunken bar and exposed brickwork – the perfect atmosphere for truly great cocktails. There is a strict no list music policy – so expect cool, eclectic and trendy tunes and a mixed crowd.
Location: 45-47 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1 M5RS.
For more details visit: Match Bar
10) Last Days of Decadence
This is pretty cool place and totally worth checking out. Perfect if you feel like glamming up in vintage, isnt that the pre requisite for Shoreditch evenings anyway? Spanning two rooms, upstairs and downstairs, this unique bar has a 1920s feel and art deco stylings. At any one time there could be a band and or DJ on either floor; the music is pretty eclectic, so expect the clientele to match. Last days of Decadence also has a basement auditorium which hosts anything from cabaret to stand up comedy.
Location: 145 Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch, London, E1 6TE.
For more details visit: Last Days of Decadence