Home to London’s Bangladeshi community and the finest curry houses, Brick Lane has changed significantly over the past few years. A new generation has started their own independent shops and exhibition spaces where artists of all sorts display their creations. This street attracts a great number of Londoners as well as tourists, however, not everyone approves of this recent makeover due to a fast rise in property value and goods. Whether you like it or not, this street has become a popular tourist destination with the market for street food and vintage clothing, so here’s our mini guide to Brick Lane.
Probably one the best place in London for fresh Jewish style bagels, Beigel Bake (not to be confused with Beigel Shop next door) is open 24h a day and 7 days a week, offering a variety of bagels and pastries to people from all sorts, from the loudest of teenagers to the executives from Liverpool Street, all willing to queue up for this scrumptious ring shaped bread. But don’t worry if waiting is not on your list, this queue moves fast and the bagels are definitely worth the wait. The question is: Salt Beef or Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese?
Regardless of what style you’re after, you’ll find it at Brick Lane where London’s best vintage warehouses and clothes shops are based. Visit Beyond Retro in Cheshire Street for sweatshirts and denim jackets and Blitz down in Hanbury Street for leather coats and bomber jackets. Sergio Tacchini, Diadora, Levi’s, Moschino and Chanel are some of the brands you can find, but be prepared, it’s not cheap, it’s vintage.
Over the years London has become the holy grail of street food, all the way from Portobello to Shoreditch. At the corner of Brick Lane and Hanbury Street, you’ll find The Old Truman Brewery and a big indoor parking lot which is converted into one of the best food markets London has seen. Ethiopian, Mexican or Japanese are some of the flavours you can find along the colourful food stalls who proudly display their flags celebrating one of the world’s most diverse cities. (The Old Truman Brewery Food Market – only on Sundays)
This legendary restaurant has been opened since 1952 and is considered to be one of the best places for Fish and Chips. The waitresses dress like 1950’s pinups with red lipstick and dotted head scarves and the walls are covered in vinyl records and memorabilia from the same era and a jukebox sitting in the corner. At Poppie’s you can also get food to go but make sure you add salt and vinegar to your chips if you haven’t tried it before (the perfect combination).
Brick Lane and its surroundings is where you will find some London’s most famous graffiti works but street art is so much more than that. Whether it’s a toilet covered in skater stickers or colourful plaster masks forming out of a wall, walking through Brick Lane is on its own a unique experience. It’s the little things such as “Follow your dreams” written on a wall that will make your day worthwhile.
The Nomadic Community Gardens
An unused space which was transformed into a vibrant and surrealist garden where the community comes together. It has a small café, a library and small allotments where you will see locals growing their own vegetables, hipsters posing for photoshoots and hippies playing their guitars. This garden sits on Pedley Street right next to the railway and holds some of the coolest art made mostly from recycled materials.