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Inside Hackney Your free guide to the borough

Credits Writing + photography: Helena Smith Digital content + comms: Sally Schafer Design: Matthew Smith Editing: Ann-Marie Shaw Maps: Lucie Galand Published in 2017 by Inside Hackney Ltd Text + photographs © Helena Smith Map artwork © Lucie Galand

Thanks Sincere thanks to the Wick Award, Just Act Community Fund and Origin Housing. And thank you to my friend and colleague Sally Schafer for her creativity, dynamism and caring approach. Lucie Galand, Samantha Cook and Sean Gubbins contributed thoughtfully to the project, my brother Matthew Smith lent fantastic design skills again and my parents Angela + Grahame read the interviews. Jenny Leighton promoted Inside Hackney with good cheer and energy, Rosemary Sales was a helpful listener and support and Grant Kingsnorth shared local expertise. Love to Art Terry for always cheerleading and partying with me. Special Crowdfunder sponsors are: A & S Cycles, Athena Electrical, Clare Reid, Diana Jackson, Jessica Perrin, Katie Hoare, Kerry Maisey, Matthew McCracken + Lee Dibble and Sarah Dallas. Thanks to all the great people who gave us prizes for our crowdfunder. The following people also generously contributed to our Crowdfunder campaign: A.M. Terry, Abi Levinson, Ali Gardiner, Alicia Weston, Andrew Gray, Andrew Magurran, Angela Smith, Angie Gough, Annie Siddons, Antony Freelove, Art Terry, Belinda Yamagishi, Ben Llewellyn, Ben Taylor, Billie Buckley, Billy Reading, Café Route, Catriona Maclay, Chris Spencer, Chris Watkeys, Cian Murphy, Claire

Boobbyer, Claire Brookes, Claire Lindsay, Claire Saunders, Coralie Burke, Dan Slaughter, Dan Smith, Egil Johansen, Evan Schiff, Eusoof D. Amerat, Felix Quine, Freya Aitken-Turff, Gareth Visagie, Giovanni Brighi, Hackney Arts, Hannah Girvan, Harry Metcalfe, Helen Hibberd, Hilary, Holistic Health, Iqbal Hussein, Jaakko Tuomivaara, Jack Harlow, James Glass, James Heathcote, James Taylor, Jan Fuscoe, Jennifer, Jenny Leighton, Jessica Hodge, John Finn, John Mountford, Juan G. Ruiz, Judith Erwes, Julia Gay, Just Act Community Fund, Kathrin Jacobsen, Kathryn Mosley, Laura Donaldson, Laura Mitchison, Lisa Neidich, Lucie Galand, Madoc Threipland, Martin Togher, Matthew Smith + Emily Nance, Monica Woods, Montse, Murry Toms, Niall Weir, Origin Housing, Pamela Dow, Pamela Mossman, Patrick Hennessey, Paulina Filippou, Priscilla Chase, R Napolitano, Rayah Feldman, Rob Humphreys, Rosie Spinks, Rosie Wesemann, Ryk Morgan, Sam Fisher, Samantha Fothergill, Sarah Vaughan-Roberts, Sean Gubbins, Sebastian Kaufmann, Serena Bolton, Shartyn Williams, Sophie Hockin, Stoke Newington Literary Festival, Stuart Coggins, Susi O’Neill, Suzanne Cowling, Tiziana Murgo, Volunteer Centre Hackney.

Contents Inside Hackney

07 Introduction 09 Hackney Central + Homerton 15 Dalston + Haggerston 19 Hoxton + Shoreditch 23 Clapton + Hackney Wick 31 Stoke Newington + Stamford Hill 34 Hackney events 39 Eating 47 Drinking 51 Music + clubs 57 Film + theatre 61 Art 67 Shops + markets 73 Kids 77 Health + wellbeing 83 Our Hackney


Hold your event in one of the most creative and thriving areas in London Hackney Venues has emerged as a collection of some of the most sought after event spaces in east London. Currently featuring seven beautifully restored unique venues in the heart of the borough including two stunning art-deco town halls, an eighteenth century mansion house inside of Clissold Park, a former water pumping station, a RIBA award-winning sporting centre as well as a purpose-built conference centre and a converted warehouse a stones-throw away from Shoreditch High Street. From private parties and stunning weddings to conferences, product launches, fashion shows and awards ceremonies; Hackney Venues offers a space for any occasion. Get in touch with our dedicated events team for further information or visit our website for more details.

020 8356 5505







Inside Hackney

From its genesis as a one-street village, Hackney has been a place of refuge for nonconformists, migrants, actors, artists and rebels. Home to many communities – Hasidic, Afro-Caribbean, Turkish, Kurdish and Vietnamese among them – the borough has a wider sense of community that derives from its generous and welcoming spirit. Read more about this, and how to get involved, in ‘Our Hackney’ on p83. And Hackney has always been a centre of green spaces and growing, from Hoxton’s eighteenth-century market gardens to Loddiges Nursery, known around the world in Georgian and early Victorian times for its tropical hothouses. The map opposite shows just how many parks still flourish in the borough, alongside gardens nurtured by projects such as Growing Communities. This guide offers a selective taster of Hackney’s sights, food, shops, music, art, theatre and kids’ attractions, focusing on the independent vibe that makes this borough so special. Whether you’re a visitor or a resident, enjoy your trip inside Hackney.




Sights 1 Hackney Empire 2 Hackney Museum 3 Hackney Town Hall 4 St Augustine’s Tower 5 Sutton House

Eating 6 E5 Bakehouse 7 El Ganso 8 F. Cooke 9 LemLem

Hackney Central + Homerton

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Inside Hackney

This is the historic heart of the borough, though it takes a powerful imagination to envisage hectic Mare Street back when it was the only thoroughfare of the medieval village of Hackney. Tudor Sutton House in Homerton is an imposing remnant of the time when the area was a rural retreat for noblemen, and the Hackney Museum explores the borough’s social evolution from this point onwards. Next door to the glassfronted museum and library is the Art Deco town hall, adjoining the fabulous Edwardian Hackney Empire theatre. From here it’s a short stroll to London Fields with its restored lido and revitalised Saturday food market, while further east is the villagey Victoria Park neighbourhood.


Hackney Central + Homerton

10 Hackney Central + Homerton

Hackney Museum The best place to get a handle on the borough is the Hackney Museum, where the showpiece is the blackened curve of a thousand-year-old Saxon log boat, discovered in Springfield Park (p24) in 1987. Other exhibits vividly evoke Hackney’s story, from the notoriously harsh Hoxton asylums of the 1600s and 1700s to the life of Stoke Newington writer, spy and rebel Daniel Defoe and the music, clothes and customs of Hackney’s immigrant communities. 1 Reading Lane E8 1GQ, 020 8356 3500; Tues, Wed & Fri 9.30am–5.30pm, Thurs 9.30am–8pm, Sat 10am–5pm; free

Visit during Open House for a backstage tour (p35) or – better still – book a ticket for a show (p59). 291 Mare Street E8 1EJ, 020 8985 2424,

Hackney Town Hall and Loddiges Hackney’s 1930s town hall has retained its Art Deco features, including angular chandeliers and a sprung dance floor. Opposite the town hall and beyond the Picturehouse cinema is Paragon Road, around where, between 1785 and 1852, Loddiges Nursery grew 1600 varieties of tropical orchids in world-famous hothouses that inspired those at Kew Gardens. Though the nursery itself has long gone, Abney Park (p32) still has descendants of trees and plants sold at Loddiges.

St Augustine’s Tower North up Mare Street is sixteenth-century St Augustine’s Tower, on the site of the oldest building in Hackney, probably built by the Knights Templar in the thirteenth century. Climb the narrow staircase, passing a rare turret clock on the second floor, for a panorama of the City. Mare Street E5 0PD,; last Sun of the month (except Dec) 2–4.30pm; free

Hackney Empire Just beyond the town hall, the Hackney Empire is the borough’s most glamorous building, a lavish variety theatre designed in 1901 by prolific theatrical architect Frank Matcham. The exterior is made of red brick with stone cupolas and a swirling wrought-iron canopy, while the lush interior is a riot of blazing scarlet and gilded wreaths. Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields and Stan Laurel all performed here. The theatre became a TV studio in the 50s and then a bingo hall in the 60s, before returning to its roots in 1984 as a thriving venue for comedy, music and theatre.

Sutton House Sutton House is a key sight in the area: an atmospheric Tudor country mansion now incongruously surrounded by the concrete and tarmac of what was once the village of Homerton. Built in 1535 for Sir Ralph Sadleir, a statesman who served Cromwell and Henry VIII, this ‘Bryk Palace’ has been through many changes that reflect the ebb and flow of the borough as a whole. From its incarnation as a nobleman’s rustic retreat it became a home for Huguenot wool and silk merchants, a boarding school, a church institute, a trade union HQ and a 1980s squat (an angry mural of a red eye at the top of the house symbolises this period).

Hackney top six: walks and talks

East Cast Show In-depth radio arts coverage: the archive of interviews and well-crafted audio documentaries covers all aspects of cultural life in east London. Resonance 104.4 FM, monthly at varying time slots;

London Fields London Fields was from the Middle Ages a grazing spot for cattle being driven south from Hackney Marsh (p24) to slaughter at Smithfield Market. It’s now a very popular park, featuring a beautifully restored lido (p79), a summer flower meadow and tennis courts. At the south end is Broadway Market, where on Saturday the excellent food market (p69) draws thousands of locals and visitors. Victoria Park and Vyner Street The village atmosphere of Victoria Park provides a contrast to the urban vibe of the rest of the area: here you’ll find gastropubs and quality food shops. The spacious park itself is in the borough of Tower Hamlets. South of Regent’s Canal and also just outside Hackney is Vyner Street, home to independent galleries and arts centre Lime Wharf; these are open late on the first Thursday of the month.

Hackney Tours Delve into Hackney’s radical past, engage with current concerns about sustainability and gentrification or take an alternative running tour.; £7–10 On the Record Download this app that maps Hackney’s creative and radical past. Explore the food cultures and frontlines of Dalston, birth and madness in Homerton, and a lost Island near Rectory Road. Plus take a sonic bus journey with the singing strikers of Well Street. Secret Adventures Walk on the wild side in Hackney, with kayaking trips to the Crate Brewery (£39) and campfire bonding sessions in London Fields. Walk Hackney Local history expert Sean Gubbins runs two-hour Hackney walking tours, including a trip describing Dalston’s evolution from quiet rural hamlet to industrial suburb and a circuit of Lower Clapton that concentrates on local literati and revolutionaries. 07710 414 240,; £8

Hackney top six

De Beauvoir Balloon Debates Quarterly debates in St Peter’s De Beauvoir, with three speakers competing to engage listeners on a rich variety of topics, from technological brainwashing to the need for beauty to the death of PR. The audience votes for the most compelling idea.; free


The long history of the house is recounted through the displays: there’s a Tudor kitchen, a Georgian parlour and a Victorian study, as well as the oldest loo in east London. Best of all, though, is the Linenfold Parlour from the 1530s, where oak panelling mimics fabric drapes. 2–4 Homerton High Street E9 6JQ, 020 8986 2264, sutton-house; Wed–Fri 10.30am–5pm, Sat & Sun noon–5pm; £5.40, National Trust

Philip ‘Before becoming Mayor I was a councillor in Hoxton, and the cabinet member for housing. I did a lot of work to oppose the Housing Act, which I felt was damaging for diversity in the area. I was in peak campaign mode when the opportunity to stand for Mayor came up, and I get energised going out there to meet different communities, from Shoreditch to Stamford Hill. As Mayor my main goal is to tackle the housing crisis and to help people access employment. Hackney is genuinely diverse economically with lots of new businesses, as well as opportunities for apprenticeships and adult learning. But there are issues around zero hours contracts and the changing job market. I don’t want gentrification to tip the social balance – our schools and housing are improving, but they should be accessible for everyone. We have two Michelin-starred restaurants in the borough – Pidgin and Ellory – and it’s a great area for

young chefs with strong ideas and an independent spirit. But there are older Turkish and Vietnamese restaurants which invested in Hackney when no one else wanted to be here, and we want them to stay. It’s all about getting a balance. Like many people here, I’m not originally from Hackney. But the borough has a way of entering your DNA – we all become more Hackney than Hackney.’ Rosemary ‘I am the councillor for Stamford Hill West, and I have worked at the Hackney Migrant Centre as a volunteer and trustee. I chose the migrant centre and North London Action for the Homeless as the charities I want to fundraise for during my year-long stint as Speaker – they both support the most vulnerable people in our area, a group that is expanding. This is a hugely diverse place, with well over a hundred languages spoken. After Brexit I organized a meeting of local voluntary sector and charitable groups to talk about the worries of EU citizens and immigrants in Hackney. I want to send a strong message that all our residents are welcome here. I conduct citizenship ceremonies in the town hall, and I’m always struck that we have people from every continent joining us. In the ceremonies I like to stress that people aren’t losing their culture and language when they come here – they’re bringing them to Hackney.’

Inside Hackney

Philip Glanville is the elected Mayor of Hackney, and Rosemary Sales is the Speaker of Hackney Council. Philip has executive powers, while Rosemary chairs council meetings, supports local charities and presides over citizenship ceremonies. Philip and Rosemary both took on their new roles in 2016; we met them a few days after the Hackney Half Marathon, which the Mayor participated in as part of the Speaker’s fundraising team.


Inside Hackney: Mayor + Speaker

14 Dalston + Haggerston

Sights 1 Clown Museum 2 De Beauvoir Square 3 Hackney City Farm 4 Ridley Road Market 5 Gillett Square Accommodation 22 Avo Hotel 23 Luxury Inn

Eating 6 Andu’s Internet Café 7 Arthur’s 8 Berber & Q 9 Better Health Bakery 10 Brilliant Corners 11 Café Route 12 Club Mexicana

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13 Dusty Knuckle 14 Frizzante 15 Gujarati Rasoi 16 Jones & Sons 17 Latto’s 18 Mama Vic’s 19 Merci Marie 20 Shanghai 21 Voodoo Ray’s

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Inside Hackney

Short on formal sights but high on dynamism, Dalston is the place for a night out in Hackney, from highly regarded music venues Café OTO and the Vortex to the powerhouse Arcola Theatre and an incredible number of bars, clubs and independent restaurants. The sensory overload of Ridley Road Market makes it an essential stop, and a vivid contrast with the early Victorian residential De Beauvoir enclave to the west of Kingsland Road. At the southern boundary of the area is a stretch of the Regent’s Canal dubbed – somewhat ironically – the Haggerston Riviera, with a cluster of galleries, artists’ studios and waterside cafés.


Dalston + Haggerston

16 Dalston + Haggerston

Ridley Road Market and Gillett Square Clamorous, colourful Ridley Road Market has been here since the 1880s. At the eastern end of the strip of stalls, look out for the Turkish supermarket TFC whose facade features prominent stone Ts enclosed in a star. This was originally Taverners sweet factory, where Hackney’s Alan Sugar went on to run his Amstrad business in the 1970s. The market is one of the best places around to buy unusual ingredients, as well as Indian and African fabrics. Across Kingsland High Street is community owned and run Gillett Square; you can get punchy Ethiopian coffee, and eat injera and wat at the Kaffa Coffee stall. You’ll also find a great pop-up kids’ playground here (p75) the Vortex jazz club (p56) and, in summer, music and dance events and carnival celebrations. Café OTO, the Arcola and Bootstrap Quintessential Hackney venue Café OTO (p52) sits immediately northeast of Dalston Junction in an attractive arts complex housed in the four-storey former Reeves paint factory on Ashwin Street. Adjoining Café OTO is the clean-energy Arcola Theatre (p59) and Bootstrap (, a long-running training and enterprise organisation. It comprises communal workspaces; a gallery; the Merci Marie café (p44); and the Dalston Roof Park (p50). Round the back of the building is a WW2 bunker, open sporadically for events, the Dusty Knuckle bakery (p43) and 40ft Brewery. Peace Mural and Dalston Eastern Curve The restored 1985 Peace Mural has come to symbolise the borough’s multicultural mix; in bold bright colours, it depicts protestors from the 1983 Hackney Peace Carnival passing Navarino Mansions on Dalston Lane, brandishing their instruments and banners.

The mural is at the entrance of the much-loved Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, where you can have a drink and eat sourdough pizza at Latto’s (p44) among the herb and vegetable beds. The garden, nurtured by volunteers, hosts craft workshops, acoustic gigs and kids’ events such as Halloween pumpkincarving sessions (p74), and helps Hackney gardeners with a free compost giveaway each spring. Their café sells teas made with fresh garden herbs, plus locally produced beers, cakes and lollies; the café’s income keeps the garden open. 13 Dalston Lane E8 3DF, dalstongarden. org; daily 11am–dusk (11pm in summer)

Clown Museum The engaging Clown Museum is in Holy Trinity, where the clown community used to hold its annual church service; this now takes place at nearby All Saints (first Sun in Feb). Among the exhibits are Coco the Clown’s last costume and the fascinating Clowns International Egg Register, a form of clown-face patenting whereby a look is painted onto a carefully stored egg. Holy Trinity Church, Beechwood Road E8 3DY; first Fri noon–4pm; free De Beauvoir West of Kingsland Road lies the tranquil De Beauvoir area, begun in the 1820s by developer William Rhodes – grandfather of Cecil Rhodes who founded Rhodesia.

Hackney top five: places to stay

Avo Hotel A self-styled boutique hotel in Dalston, set up by super-friendly Nar, who used to run the post office here. 82 Dalston Lane E8 3AH, 020 3490 5061,; map p14. Double from £89 Dictionary Hostel One for the young, this hostel is bang in the heart of Shoreditch and perfect if you’re here to party. 10–14 Kingsland Road E2 8DA, 020 7613 2784,; map p18. Dorm from £19 Luxury Inn Urban B&B with self-service breakfast and a backstreet yet central location in Dalston/De Beauvoir. 156 Tottenham Road N1 4DY, 020 7683 3056,; map p14. Double from £85

Haggerston Park and Hackney City Farm South of the canal, Haggerston Park features football pitches, a BMX track, a small community orchard and veg garden. Neighbouring Hackney City Farm is an unexpectedly bucolic attraction for kids: as well as checking out pigs, goats, donkeys and chickens you can eat at the Frizzante café (p44). 1a Goldsmiths Row E2 8QA, hackneycity; Tues–Sun 10am–4.30pm

Rose & Crown Wood-panelled Stokey boozer with upmarket boutique rooms. 199 Stoke Newington Church Street N16 9ES, 020 7923 3337, roseandcrownn16.; map p30. Double from £110

Hackney top five

Ace Hotel High-concept hip hotel, with a ‘cultural engineer’ who chooses books and vinyl for each impeccably cool yet homely room. 100 Shoreditch High Street E1 6JQ, 020 7613 9800,; map p18. Double from £279


The plans of Rhodes senior for five large squares were never carried out, but De Beauvoir Square was completed, with unusual gabled Tudor/Jacobean-style houses enclosing a rose garden. De Beauvoir was the location for one of Hackney’s weirder happenings, exposed when a 2.5m hole appeared in Stamford Road in 2001. It turned out that electrical engineer William Lyttle, aka the Mole Man, had spent forty years excavating tunnels and caverns under his twenty-room home, some up to 18m long and 8m deep. An unrepentant Lyttle was evicted, and after his death in 2010 the derelict house was sold. The current artist owners are restoring it, keeping some caverns in situ. At the canal end of De Beauvoir, arts venue The Archivist, the CANAL gallery and a cluster of artists’ studios and bars are part of an informal collective nicknamed the Haggerston Riviera, which organises events and open studios.


Sights 1 Geffrye Museum 2 Hoxton Square 3 Shoreditch Church 4 Shoreditch Town Hall

Eating 5 Andina 6 The Bridge 7 F. Cooke 8 Hanoi Cafe 9 Open Kitchen 10 Rivington Bar & Grill 11 Trew Era

Accommodation 12 Ace Hotel 13 Dictionary Hostel

Hoxton + Shoreditch


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Inside Hackney

The point where Hackney Road meets Kingsland Road, outside eighteenth-century Shoreditch Church, may be London’s oldest junction: from here the Romans marched north out of town up Ermine Street (now Kingsland Road) to York. As early as Shakespearian times, Hoxton and Shoreditch were renowned for theatre and bawdy nightlife, which lives on today in the area’s pubs, clubs, bars and music venues. A key sight is the Geffrye Museum, once an almshouse and now a compelling showcase of domestic interiors. Southwest of here, homegrown tech start-ups are flourishing around the noisy traffic circle that is Old Street’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’.


Hoxton + Shoreditch

20 Hoxton + Shoreditch

Shoreditch Church and Shoreditch Town Hall There has been a place of worship on the site of Shoreditch Church since at least the twelfth century. The current Classical building with its wide galleries was constructed in 1817, but there’s plenty to reveal the building’s earlier history: wheeled wooden Tudor stocks sit in the entrance hall, and in the churchyard are the tombs of James Burbage, founder of The Theatre, and his son Thomas, the first actor to play Romeo. More recently it was the key location in BBC sitcom Rev. At the time of construction this was considered a daringly light and modern building; it was the first gaslit church, and in 1896 was an early adopter of electricity. The electricity came via the Shoreditch Electric Light Station on nearby Coronet Street, now home to the improbable National Centre for Circus Arts (, which runs a BA honours degree and recreational courses. The motto of the Light Station – ‘More Light More Power’ – is carved in stone on the pediment of the grand 1865 Shoreditch Town Hall. Independently run as an arts centre, the building houses a spectacular Italianate Assembly Hall; these and adjoining halls and rooms host theatre, cabaret, dance music and comedy events as well as the Clove Club (, Hackney’s most ambitious restaurant. Church: Shoreditch High Street E1 6JN,; Town Hall: 380 Old Street EC1V 9LT, Geffrye Museum Hackney’s world-class museum is the Geffrye. When it was built in 1716, this long row of almshouses provided spare but respectable housing for 56 pensioners in need. It was originally surrounded by market gardens, but London’s railway boom and the local growth of the furniture and rag trades transformed this into a densely populated, unsanitary and impoverished district, and the almshouses were relocated to leafier suburbs in 1910. Reinvented as a museum of the home in 1914, the Geffrye now houses a sequence of middle-class domestic interiors, from a 1630s oak-panelled hall via a highly patterned Victorian drawing room to a now quaintly dated 1990s loft apartment. The effect is doll’s house meets time travel: it’s a hugely enjoyable experience enhanced by a great café, a shop full of design books, and a reading gallery. Period townhouse gardens are located out back, and a few times a month two restored almshouse rooms open to the public: one has an austere 1780s interior and the other is in cluttered, gaslit 1880s style. The museum also features kids’ events (p76), a ceramics show and a riot of Christmas activity (p35). 136 Kingsland Road E2 8EA,; Tues–Sun 10am–5pm; free

The once unloved warehouse walls of Shoreditch have become famous for colourful, creative murals. Street art (as distinct from the tags and text of graffiti artists) is to some degree now officially sanctioned here, with many artists having permission for their work rather than carrying it out under cover of night. Bristol’s Banksy is one of the best known exponents, remaining anonymous despite his fame; in Hackney his witty, politically pointed stencil works include coke-snorting policemen and paparazzi rats. Hackney’s own Stik creates eloquent stick figures, whose vulnerable forms draw attention to issues such as homelessness. Shepard Fairey’s most famous work is the Hope poster depicting Obama; his work has echoes of classic Soviet propaganda. If you see circus-style lettering on an east London shutter it is likely the work of Ben Eine. Belgian Roa produces monumental monochrome images of animals in the urban environment and French artist Zabou uses the wall’s shape and surface for her striking depictions of artists, masked figures and children. On Redchurch Street and Rivington Street you’ll see a jumbled patina of stencilled pieces, freehand artworks, spray-painted shutters, political slogans, peeling posters and stickers; the piece below is by ALO. Or take a tour with

Hoxton + Shoreditch

Shoreditch Park Stroll north up Pitfield Street (perhaps pausing at gorgeous interiors store and café Pitfield London, at nos 31–35; and you come to Shoreditch Park. One of several green spaces in Hackney carved out by Blitz bombing, the park features Romanstyle mosaics that depict contemporary Hackney, created in 2012 in a collaboration between artist Tessa Hunkin and people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Shoreditch street art


Hoxton Square Laid out with gardens in 1683, Hoxton Square is one of the oldest squares in London. By the middle of the nineteenth century it was a centre for furniture making, a trade which went into decline and then was finished by the social upheaval of World War Two. In the early 1990s, restoration began on the decrepit former industrial buildings, and the square became a hub of the Shoreditch art and media scene; the erstwhile White Cube gallery, which moved from this site in 2012, famously showcased the work of Young British Artists including Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. For a list of current Hackney galleries see p62.


Sights 1 Chatsworth Road Market 2 Clapton Pond 3 Georgian Orthodox Cathedral Church 4 Here East

Clapton + Hackney Wick


5 Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park 6 Round Chapel Eating 7 Black Cat 8 Dom’s Place

9 J Grodzinski & Daughters 10 my neighbours the dumplings 11 Omni




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Inside Hackney

Cut through by the River Lee, Clapton and Hackney Wick feature some wonderfully varied green spaces. To the north is slender Clapton Common, and Springfield Park, edging the river’s navigation channel. Spacious Millfields Park fringes the otherwise unlovely Lea Bridge Road; Mabley Green is a generous square of Homerton parkland; and to the east lies the wide-open grassland of Hackney Marsh. To the southeast, the graffitied and shabbily gorgeous warehouses of formerly industrial Hackney Wick are now home to artists’ studios. Across the River Lee, a different character takes over in the monumental structures and parkland of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, site of London’s 2012 Games.


Clapton + Hackney Wick

24 Clapton + Hackney Wick

Clapton Pond and Chatsworth Road Clapton Pond, with its rustic bridge and fountain, is bordered by some great little independent restaurants as well as Hackney’s favourite cornershop, Palm 2 (p72). Visit Clapton on a Sunday for the Chatsworth Road Market, which focuses on food: L’Epicerie, the bustling Frenchrun deli at no 56, is another top foodie destination. Round Chapel The area’s most distinguished building is the Clapton Park United Reformed Church, better known as the Round Chapel. It was completed in 1891 by nonconformist Congregationalists, whose desire to escape the strictures of the Church of England is evident in the circular temple-like design. Inside, slim iron columns rise from the gleaming wooden gallery to support graceful latticed arches. Beautifully restored by the Hackney Historic Buildings Trust (, the church welcomes all for worship, and hosts community arts and food events: on the last Thursday of the month (7pm) they serve a community meal for just £2. Powerscroft Road E5 0PU, Georgian Orthodox Cathedral Church North of Clapton Common, the Georgian Orthodox Cathedral Church was built by the Somerset-based nineteenth-century Agapemonite sect and funded by their wealthy female recruits, with whom the founder and his successor practised free love. The interior, restored by the Georgian Orthodox Church, is dazzling, with a wide hammer-beam roof and Art Nouveau/ Arts and Crafts stained glass, some of it inspired by William Blake’s fiery images of the apocalypse. Nearby Clapton Common was the scene of a 1902 drama, when six thousand locals gathered to throw the vicar of the church into the pond, to test

his claim that he could walk on water. Across the road, the New Synagogue is an impressive Edwardian building. Rookwood Road Springfield Park and Mabley Green Springfield Park was established in 1905 with the intention of keeping the locals out of the pubs; Georgian Springfield House is now a café with floor-to-ceiling windows and garden tables where you can enjoy home-cooked food. Near the café you’ll find a kitchen garden run by Growing Communities (p88) – visit on a Tuesday (10am–4pm) to meet volunteers and wander the veg beds and greenhouses. At Mabley Green, south of Homerton High Street, a community group is creating an ‘edible park’ with fruit and nut trees, herbs and shrubs.

Hackney Marsh Hackney Marsh is no longer a marsh but a huge grassy expanse – it was drained from the medieval period onwards. Still one of London’s largest common lands, the Marsh was for centuries protected by the system of lammas, whereby locals had the right to graze cattle from Lammas Day, following the summer harvest, until Lady Day (March 25). Used as a dump for rubble created by Blitz bombings, the area is now home to 82 rugby, cricket and football pitches (p78) – David Beckham trained here as a lad.

25 Clapton + Hackney Wick Hackney Wick From the eighteenth century onwards, Hackney Wick was a powerhouse of industry, from silk mills to dyestuff works to confectioners. This was a place of innovation: the world’s first synthetic plastic was produced here in the 1860s, and here too dry cleaning was introduced to the UK in the 1870s and loo paper was pioneered in the 1880s. And it was a Hackney Wick oil distiller who introduced the term ‘petrol’ in the 1890s. Industrial changes brought decline to the area: one of the few surviving manufacturers is the 1932 Algha Works factory on Fish Island, whose handmade ‘round eye’ specs, as worn by Mahatma Gandhi and John Lennon, also feature in the Harry Potter films. Meanwhile, over the last fifteen years the empty brick warehouses have been colonised by artists, a cultural regeneration that has continued with the opening of the Yard Theatre (p59) and art venue 90 Main Yard (p49). Nearby Grow, housed in a former sausage factory (Main Yard;, focuses on ethical, sustainable and free community events and gigs and is involved in the communal effort to prevent developers wreaking too much bland damage in the area. Finish a wander round the artfully converted warehouses with a beer at the Crate Brewery. Here East and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Across the Lee from Hackney Wick, the former Olympic Press and Broadcast Centre now houses the Here East development, including Loughborough University in London and a UCL research centre. The neighbouring Copper Box is just that, and is home to indoor sports venues and a gym. Beyond this point the extensive Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park stretches east out of the borough of Hackney. Don’t miss the chance to hop over the borough border to Newham for a swim in the glorious London Aquatics Centre (p79). There’s also an excellent kids’ playground here (p75), along with a BMX track – and you can even cycle in the Olympic velodrome.

‘When I came out of prison I moved to Hackney to get a new start, and I was struck that there was no local team for people to get behind. The multiple pitches at Hackney Marsh are one of the best training grounds in the world, a multicultural Mecca for aspiring footballers. So why aren’t we training up our own players? We started with the idea that the team could become semi-professional after five years, and we’re really excited to have achieved this goal after only two years – our team is merging with London Bari FC from Forest Gate. We don’t yet have the facilities required by the FA, so we’ll be moving the matches out of the borough, but training will carry on here in Mabley Green. In the future though, we’d like to develop facilities so that Hackney’s team can perform locally. There has been a huge growth in women’s football – we started out offering free training to the Hackney Wick Women’s

Institute, and that has grown into a fully fledged women’s team. We also have kids’ teams for both boys and girls. Anyone who just wants to get into good shape regardless of footballing interest or ability can join our fitness sessions – we meet on Tuesday at 6.30pm every week outside Hackney Town Hall. All our players also get involved in community projects – for example we hand out water to runners during the Hackney Half Marathon. Using my personal experience I go into schools to talk to kids about gangs and ways to resist peer pressure. We hope to start a summer camp to engage kids and keep them out of trouble during the school break. Among the adult players, some of the women’s team have shared their skills and run professional training and CV sessions to help fellow team members into work, which is an unexpected benefit. We’d love more people to join us on the pitch or for training sessions. And also to feel that they don’t need to go to Arsenal or Tottenham to see a great match. Come and support the borough’s own team, buy one of our T-shirts or tracksuits and wear the black and gold of Hackney Wick!’ Youth Academy sessions by specialist coaches with FA badges Saturday 10am– noon; Mabley Green, Lee Conservancy Road, E9 5QB,

Inside Hackney

Bobby Kasanga comes from Peckham in south London. A semi-professional football player, he became involved in gang activity and ended up serving nearly eight years in prison. On his release Bobby moved to Hackney and turned his life around, giving the borough its own football team plus a huge donation of energy and commitment to community projects. Bobby is the coach of Hackney Wick FC’s first team, as well as a key player and an inspiration.


Inside Hackney: Bobby Kasanga

A lasting legacy “And the Games of the 30th Olympiad, 2012, are awarded to the city of… London.” Those were the words of the International Olympic Committee president, Jacques Rogge, on 6th July 2005. Back then I was part of a growing team of Sports Technology academics at Loughborough University. I knew that London winning the 2012 Games would be good news for Team GB – but I didn’t realise just how good the news would be for Loughborough. A decade on, it’s bigger than we could have hoped. Today, Loughborough has a campus on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which was the home of the London Games. It’s a fantastic environment, with outstanding

academics, excellent facilities and talented, creative students. We’re part of the Here East complex, which we share with BT Sport, Infinity and Wayne McGregor Studios, with a host of other amazing organisations soon to arrive. More than £1 billion has been invested in creating and upgrading the buildings and surrounding infrastructure. This activity is growing the economy and creating opportunities for those living and working locally. We’re offering 100% scholarships to local students from boroughs such as Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets, so they can study with us. We’ve offered 30 scholarships so far and there will be many more. It’s

part of our enduring commitment to this area. Although the legacy of the Games is important, so is the location. This corner of East London might have seemed like an odd choice for some people, but it wasn’t. It was a very shrewd choice because the Games and the environment we are helping to build are rejuvenating the area and enabling local talent to thrive and prosper. What we have achieved so far with our partners and collaborators has been impressive. But this is just the start. These are the foundations we have laid.

Professor Mike Caine Dean of Loughborough University London

STRATFO @lborolondon /lborolondon /lborouniversity /lborolondon lborouniversity


Sights 1 Abney Park Cemetery 2 Aziziye Mosque 3 Castle Climbing Centre 4 The Old Church 5 Rio 6 Simpson’s building

Stoke Newington + Stamford Hill

Eating 7 Castle Café 8 Good Egg 9 J Grodzinski & Daughters 10 Mangal 1 11 Mangal 2 12 Rasa N16 13 Roti Stop 14 Rudies

15 Somine 16 Spence Bakery 17 Sutton and Sons 18 Tugra Baclava Accommodation 19 Rose & Crown


3 7





8 12




15 5

6 14 10 11


Inside Hackney

Kingsland High Street continues its northern march through Hackney, becoming Stoke Newington High Street and then Stamford Hill, with predominately Turkish businesses giving way to kosher places. Stamford Hill is the heartland of Hackney’s Haredi Orthodox Jewish community, the largest in Europe: many Jewish people came here in the 1880s to escape poverty in the East End. West of Stamford Hill, Stoke Newington is one of Hackney’s most attractive neighbourhoods. Don’t miss the historic pubs, independent shops and Georgian mansions of Church Street, beautifully landscaped Clissold Park, or the maze-like tangle of Abney Park Cemetery, where many nonconformist Stokey rebels lie buried.


Stoke Newington + Stamford Hill

32 Stoke Newington + Stamford Hill

Church Street The best introduction to Stoke Newington is a wander down Church Street, perhaps taking in some of its fine pubs. Try the Three Crowns gastropub (on the corner of Stoke Newington High Street); the Auld Shillelagh, a shard-thin traditional Irish boozer where you can hear rollicking acoustic music (no 105); or the oakpanelled Rose & Crown (no 199), a dog-friendly local with a fiercely contested weekly quiz. Beyond the Rose & Crown, two churches – the Old Church and St Mary’s – sit opposite each other. The former, a sixteenth-century beauty in a venerable, ivy-strewn graveyard, hosts concerts and art shows; the latter, designed by George Gilbert Scott in the 1850s, defines the Church Street skyscape with its lofty spire. Clissold Park At the west end of Church Street is Clissold Park, complete with aviary, deer and goats, a paddling pool, large playground and skate park, and a café in a 1790s Quakerbuilt mansion with a pretty landscaped garden. Growing Communities (p88) run a small market garden here, open to the public on Tuesdays (10am–4pm). The reservoirs and Woodberry Wetlands Northern Stoke Newington is characterised by two large reservoirs. The west reservoir is a watersports centre, while the east reservoir is an unexpectedly wonderful wetlands reserve ( uk), home to reed buntings, song thrushes and kingfishers. Managed by the London Wildlife Trust, the reserve welcomes volunteers, and the Coal House Café serves great coffee, cakes and snacks. The nearby Scots Baronial ‘castle’, built as a water-pumping station in 1852, is now a climbing centre (p78) with another appealing café (p41).

Abney Park Cemetery Labyrinthine, Gothic and dishevelled, Abney Park, at the eastern edge of Church Street, is Hackney’s answer to Highgate Cemetery. It has fewer big-name graves, other than that of Charles Booth, who founded the Salvation Army, but the historical interest is that this was a burial ground for Dissenters (those outside the established church). Entering via Stoke Newington High Street or Church Street, you can follow a tangle of paths to the heart of the cemetery and a ruined 1840 funerary chapel – the oldest nondenominational chapel in Europe – whose tall portal was built to accommodate horsedrawn funeral carriages. Near the prominent statue of nonconformist hymn writer Isaac Watts (whose parkland formed the cemetery) you’ll find a memorial to Stoke Newington civilians who died in the Blitz, many during a single incident at Coronation Avenue in 1940, when a German bomb hit a shelter and killed 160 people. Abney Park was laid out in 1840 as an arboretum with 2500 species and varieties of trees and shrubs; these now support a surprisingly rustic population of tawny owls, sparrow hawks, great spotted woodpeckers, bats, wood mice and bank voles. Abney Park N16 0LH,; daily 8am–dusk. Free guided tours first Sun of the month 2pm; London Green Wood (p62) run woodcraft workshops

Newington Green Located at Hackney’s boundary with Islington, the grassy rectangle of Newington Green was once a hunting ground for Henry VIII. It became a village and a focal point for Dissenters; Daniel Defoe and Charles Wesley studied here. On the western side of the green you’ll see the pointed gables of London’s oldest terrace (1658); just to the north the bulky China Inland Mission dates from 1865. Look out for the triangular pediment of the 1708 Unitarian Church, historically a centre of radical activity, and for the blue plaque which celebrates Mary Wollstonecraft’s school for girls ( outlines the campaign to create a statue of Mary). Belle Epoque at no 37 sells outstanding patisserie, while the 1888 Mildmay Club at no 33 is a now-rare working men’s club.

Hackney’s Jewish community is as diverse as befits the borough, with residents whose origins lie in North Africa, the Middle East and all over Europe. The most easily identifiable group though are the Haredi people, originally from eastern Europe; married men wear huge round shtreimel hats and sweeping black coats on Shabbat (the Sabbath), and married women conceal their hair, often with wigs. Stamford Hill has one of the largest Haredi Jewish populations – around 20,000 people – outside Israel and New York. There was a small community here at the end of the nineteenth century, which grew dramatically with the arrival of wartime refugees and Holocaust survivors. Local Rabbi Solomon Schonfield personally helped hundreds of children escape the Nazis, housing many in his home in Stamford Hill. He also helped newcomers find an education and work. Haredi people are strictly Orthodox, closely following their rabbi and almost always marrying within the community. The sexes are educated separately in private faith schools, with learning centring around study of the Talmud. The community has a reputation for being closed to outsiders; get an insight into one of its great traditions by visiting Stamford Hill during Purim (p34), when kids ditch sombre clothes for eye-popping fancy dress and families fill the streets.

Stoke Newington + Stamford Hill

Stoke Newington High Street Turn right down the High Street for a blast of Turkish and Kurdish Hackney at the bakeries, kebab joints and baklava stores. Significant buildings on this strip include the gorgeously tiled Aziziye Mosque, built as the Apollo Picture House in 1913; a surviving Deco cinema, the Rio (p58); and, on the east side of the road, the classic Deco Simpson’s building with its doubleheight windows. Originally a clothing factory, it now houses vintage clothes megastore and café Beyond Retro.

Haredi Hackney


Stamford Hill Eastern Church Street intersects with Stoke Newington High Street: turn left for Stamford Hill and a flavour of Hackney’s Yiddish-speaking community. Grodzinski’s is a long-established bakery (p43), while Fuchs at 12 Manor Road is where ultraOrthodox men buy their wide-brimmed hats; the outfits are derived from those of eighteenth-century Polish nobles.


Hackney events

Hackney events

This is a small selection of favourite events from Hackney’s music, art and religious calendar. You’ll find tons to do year round: go to @LoveHackney for more ideas. See p58 for a list of film festivals.

Midcentury Show East Haggerston School hosts this biannual midcentury furniture fair. You’ll find everything from richly coloured ceramics to Scandi furniture classics. May;



Purim This important festival in the Jewish calendar marks the delivery of Persian Jews from massacre through the brave actions of Esther. The story of Esther is read in synagogues, with a lot of partying on the side. Families flood the streets, deliver food gifts to each other, give to charity and parade. Kids’ costumes are colourful and inventive – as well as characters from the Book of Esther, you’ll see troops of small policemen, shepherdesses, snowmen and clowns. March

Antiuniversity Now This innovative project kicked off in 1968 with the Antiuniversity of East London, and was revived by the Hackney Museum in 2015. It’s now UK-wide, but includes a ton of Hackney-specific events, including lectures on black British music. June;

Hackney Half Marathon Take a speedy tour of the borough and raise charity money at the same time. The route takes in Hackney Marsh, Hackney Empire, Broadway Market, London Fields and Hackney Wick, ending in Olympic-style glory as you run into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. May;

Field Day Envelope-pushing Victoria Park festival with stars like PJ Harvey and FKA Twigs. June; Stoke Newington Literary Festival This lively event is going from strength to strength with big names, discussions, workshops and readings at venues across the neighbourhood: past speakers have ranged from John Cooper Clarke to Stewart Lee to China Miéville. June; Well Street Common Festival A community festival which in the past has featured music from Monserrat, Northumbrian bagpipes, a dog show, coconut shy, capoeira and 5-a-side football games. June; Day-Mer Festival Clissold Park hosts the final afternoon and evening event of the three-week Day-Mer festival, organised for North London’s Turkish and Kurdish communities and with an emphasis on using art and culture to support the struggle of working people. July;


East London Fringe Festival A new arts festival in an array of locations including Shoreditch Park, Hoxton Square and Birthdays. Elements include InstaGrime’s street party, a pop-up cinema, Hoxton Radio’s fashion throwdown and open-air comedy. July

Stoke Newington Early Music Festival Held in the lovely Elizabethan Old Church on Church Street, this is a celebration of Renaissance and Baroque music. July; Open Studios, Hackney Wick Hackney Wick’s artistic open house: this is a fine opportunity to delve into crumbly warehouses, wander the graffitied backstreets and buy some local art. There are also workshops, performance pieces and site-specific creations. Late July; Grimeborn Brilliantly named Grimeborn is an emphatically un-elitist two-week festival of opera at the Arcola Theatre, showcasing new and experimental pieces. Two weeks in August; about/grimeborn

Autumn Hackney One Carnival A costumed parade through the centre of the borough with sound systems blasting out soca and reggae, plus street food and live music. For more see p37. Sept;

Open House Across the capital, buildings of all kinds open to the public: local treasures include the backstage of the Hackney Empire and Goldfinger’s Haggerston School, as well as intriguing private homes. Sept; Riverfest The River Lea runs through Hackney, and this festival celebrates it, with past headliners Hackney Colliery Band, plus a community choir, walks, talks and food. Sept;

Winter Christmas Past, Geffrye Museum Dive into Christmas past, where the rooms are decorated in period festive style and you can listen to candelit concerts or create a Christmas garland. The season ends on January 6 with mulled wine, carol singing and a dramatic Epiphany bonfire. Nov–early Jan; Panto, Hackney Empire There are no D-list celebs on stage at the riotous Hackney Empire panto – it’s all about singing talent, smutty wisecracks, fabulous costumes and audience participation. All in the setting of one of London’s most beautiful old music halls. Late Nov–early Jan;

Hackney events

Lovebox Founded in 2002 by Groove Armada, mighty Lovebox takes over Victoria Park for a weekend of music from the likes of M.I.A., Soul II Soul and Annie Mac. July;

‘The event has its origins in the Centerprise organisation in Dalston in the 1970s – the Street Carnival Theatre was held in De Beauvoir back in 1973. This is my fourth year working as artistic director on the Hackney Carnival. When I first got involved the parade culminated in a park, but I feel strongly that carnival is all about the street, so now we start and finish the party at Ridley Road, with a judging point right outside the town hall where the buses usually stop. We run four sound systems on Ridley Road, and because we want to involve young people we dedicate one sound system to the NTS radio station.

We like to incorporate a lot of different elements, but the main thing is that this is a peaceful event. We want it to be for elderly people and even for those who are afraid of crowds, so we run competitions along the route where locals decorate their own homes, meaning they can contribute even if they don’t want to be out amongst the partying. Our carnival belongs to all the people in Hackney. Most carnivals have big committees, but we are funded by the Council, so we are able to give out small grants to different groups to produce costumes and do their own thing. We don’t advertise the event – it’s all about word of mouth. And the word is that it’s better than Notting Hill! That’s because it is safer, peaceful and owned by locals – most of the participants are Hackney residents. We don’t want to become victims of our own success and become too crowded. Ridley Road is now beginning to outgrow capacity, so we’re looking at expanding the route and changing some locations. Everyone has a child inside them, and carnival brings that child out. The roots of carnival art forms are in Africa, where everyday life and dance are a carnival. Through carnival people learn to express themselves and truly communicate, and that’s why I love it.’ Hackney One Carnival is held on the second Sunday of September each year.

Inside Hackney

Pax is a man who knows about parties. From the Isiolo Peace Carnival in Kenya to the Hull International Carnival here in the UK, this renowned carnival expert has set up events around the world. He has taught the people of Luton, Accra, Trinidad, Deptford and Abuja how to throw a succesful street party, and has worked as an advisor, organiser, fundraiser and artistic director for bodes including the Arts Council and the British Council, as well as teaching carnival courses at Goldsmiths. This gently spoken but visionary MalawianZimbabwean is also a VJ (visual DJ), photographer, bass player and guitarist, performing with legendary Ghanaian highlife rapper Ata Kak. Pax took time out of a 36-stop European tour to tell Inside Hackney about his work on the Hackney One Carnival.


Inside Hackney: Pax Nindi

Volunteers at the fundraising Parkholme Supper Club

Inside Hackney

Hackney’s eating scene is in a fabulous state of flux, with imaginative independent restaurants opening all the time. We’ve included some of the best new eating options, from fresh takes on classic British food via a world food supper club to Peruvian, Eritrean and Gujarati places. We’ve also listed our favourite Turkish and Vietnamese restaurants, some of which remain unchanged and some of which have adopted a pared-down hipster aesthetic to draw in new punters. If you want to delve further back into Hackney’s past, eat East End-style at F. Cooke’s eel, pie and mash shops, and check out venerable Arthur’s café.




All restaurants listed are inexpensive to moderately priced. For something more high end, try the Clove Club in Shoreditch Town Hall (p20).

African + Caribbean


Andu’s Internet Café Take an Ethiopian mini-break at this friendly bare-bones veggie café. Simple, filling and very cheap eats: mildly spicy lentil and pea stews are served communally with injera (spongy flatbread). 528 Kingsland Road E8 4AH, 020 7254 1780; Mon–Thurs 10.30am–7pm, Fri 10.30am–11pm, Sat 11am–7pm, Sun noon–7pm; map p14 LemLem A posh shack at Netil Market selling Afrotacos, combining Eritrean and Spanish cuisine. Fillings such as spiced lamb and red lentil stew sit on a disc of injera. Netil Market, 23 Westgate Street E8 3RL,; Sat & selected Sun noon–5pm; map p8

Roti Stop Counter snacks and food to take away: superb Trinidadian doubles, Jamaican patties, and fish and veg roti. 36b Stamford Hill N16 6XZ; Wed–Sat 9.30am–4pm; map p30 Rudies Elegant wooden columns subtly mimic the shape of palm trees, a cool collection of vinyl provides the soundtrack and classic Jamaican dishes are given a fresh spin. 50 Stoke Newington Road N16 7XB, 020 7249 9930,; Mon– Wed 5–11pm, Thurs–Fri noon–11pm, Sat & Sun 11.30am–11pm; map p30

The Americas Andina A corner restaurant featuring vivid fabric artworks plus a slick juice bar. They do great ceviche, and nutritious Peruvian ingredients are key: quinoa, amaranth, maca root and purple maize. 1 Redchurch Street E2 7DJ, 020 7920 6499,; Mon–Fri 8am–11pm, Sat & Sun 10am–11pm; map p18


Mama Vic’s This plantain parlour looks like a fast-food joint, but the chicken is gently grilled and stews are prepared to Mama’s recipes – Nigerian with a Caribbean twist. Try goat curry, oxtail stew and yam porridge. 10 Bradbury Street N16 8JN, 07931 372151,; Mon–Sat noon–9pm; map p14

Brilliant Corners One of the more glamorous places on a scruffy strip. It’s in the Japanese izakaya tradition: eat sushi, sashimi and tempura, drink natural wine or craft beer and listen to soulful tunes live or on vinyl. 470 Kingsland Road E8 4AE, 020 7812 9511,; Wed & Thurs 6.30pm–midnight, Fri & Sat 6.30pm–1am, Sun 6.30pm–11pm; map p14 Hanoi Cafe Perhaps the best Vietnamese choice on Hackney’s famous ‘Pho Road’: try the sizzling fish with turmeric and galangal.

Shanghai Now housing a Chinese restaurant that serves outstanding dim sum, the building was once part of the F. Cooke empire (see below). Fantastic decor survives from the days when live eels were kept in the back: there’s an eel mosaic on the floor and entwined metal eels beneath the mirrors. 41 Kingsland High Street E8 2JS, 020 7254 2878,; daily noon–11pm; map p14

British F. Cooke East End fast food lives on: pies and mash in parsley sauce (liquor), stewed or jellied eels – and fruit pies with custard. 9 Broadway Market E8/150 Hoxton Street N1,; Mon–Thurs 10am–7pm, Fri ​​ & Sat 9:30am–8pm; map p8 & p18

Arthur’s This traditional British caff was established way back in 1935. It’s a great stop for a full English breakfast or a hot lunch. 495 Kingsland Road E8 4AU, 020 7254 3391; daily 7am–3pm; map p14 The Bridge Brace yourself for the fantastical decor here, with phoney Old Masters and thronelike seats. Feast on Turkish pastries and baklava, great coffee and booze. 15 Kingsland Road E2 8AE, 07833 393272; Mon–Wed noon–12.30pm, Thurs–Sat noon–1.30am, Sun noon– midnight; map p18 Castle Café A sustainable café in the Castle Climbing Centre (p78). Much of the food comes from their beautiful garden, and it’s delicious and affordable. Green Lanes N4 2HA, 020 8211 7000,; Mon–Fri noon– 9.30pm, Sat & Sun 9am–6.30pm; map p30 Good Egg This smart Stokey café is recommended for Middle East-inspired brunch dishes. Try Iraqi aubergine pitta, shakshuka (baked eggs) and homemade breads with date butter and za’atar. 93 Stoke Newington Church Street N16 0AS, 020 7682 2120, thegoodeggn16. com; Mon 9am–4pm, Tues–Fri 9am– 11pm, Sat & Sun 10am–11pm; map p30 Trew Era Excellent not-for-profit organic café opened by Russell Brand on the New Era estate and run by recovering addicts. 30 Whitmore Road N1 5QA, 020 7729 9229;Wed–Sat 9am–4pm; map p18

Hackney top five

my neighbours the dumplings Gorgeously distressed gilded walls, colourful lanterns and an open kitchen where stacks of bamboo dim sum steamers add a hazy, steamy glow. 165 Lower Clapton Road E5 8EQ, 020 3327 1556, myneighboursthedumplings. com; Tues–Thurs 6–10.30pm, Fri & Sat 5–11pm, Sun noon–4pm; map p22

Hackney top five: cafés


98 Kingsland Road E2 8DP, 020 7729 5610,; daily 12.30–4pm & 5.30–11pm; map p18


Inside Hackney


Rivington Bar & Grill The classic Rivington Shoreditch with its plain crockery and white linen is very easy on the eye. The daily changing seasonal menu features UK meat, game, oysters and cheeses. 28–30 Rivington Street EC2A 3DZ, 020 7729 7053,; Mon–Fri 8am–11pm, Sat 10am–11pm, Sun 10am–10pm; map p18 Sutton and Sons A classy fish’n’chip shop/restaurant serving sustainable fresh fish, paired with drinks from Borough Wines and the Hackney Brewery. They also dish up oysters, tuna burgers, saveloys, pickles and homemade tartare sauce, plus puddings and cakes. 90 Stoke Newington High Street N16 7NY, 020 7249 6444, suttonandsons.; Mon–Thurs noon–10pm, Fri & Sat noon–10.30pm, Sun 12.30–9.30pm; map p30

Bakeries Better Health Bakery A great little bakery which provides placements for people recovering from mental health issues. Sourdough bread, tasty pastries – and Friday is pizza day. 13 Stean Street E8 4ED, 020 7254 9103,; Tues–Sat 8am–4pm; map p14


Jones & Sons Located off Gillett Square (p16), this handsome British restaurant has a long marble cocktail bar and bench seating. They serve excellent game and fish, as well as craft beers and traditional puds. 3 Gillet Street N16 8JH, 020 7241 1211,; Tues–Thurs 6–10pm, Fri noon–3pm & 6–11pm, Sat 11am–4pm & 6–11pm, Sun 11am–7pm; map p14 Dusty Knuckle A grey-blue shipping container round the back of Bootstrap where sourdough is being turned to social gain. This compact bakery sells some of the best sandwiches in the borough and was set up to help combat youth unemployment. Abbot Street E8 3DP, thedustyknuckle. com; Mon–Fri 8.30am–3.30pm, Sat 9am–3.30pm; map p14 E5 Bakehouse Tucked under a brick railway arch and serving sourdough sandwiches, cakes and coffee, plus hot dishes at lunch and pizza on Sundays. You can watch dough being pummelled and kneaded in the bakery at the back, where they run excellent breadmaking courses. Arch 395, Mentmore Terrace E8 3PH, 020 8525 2890,; daily 7am–7pm; map p8 J Grodzinski & Daughters The founders of this famous Stamford Hill bakery left Tsarist Lithuania in the 1880s for the East End, settling in Spitalfields; by the 1960s the business had become the largest kosher bakery in Europe, despite the destruction of the original Fieldgate Street shop during the Blitz. Today Grodz is still successfully turning out borekas (stuffed pastries), bagels, challa rolls and cakes to a mixed local crowd.


170 Clapton Common E5 9AG, 020 8802 4166; Mon–Thurs & Sun 7am–1am, Fri 7am till 30min before Shabbat; 91 Dunsmure Road N16 5HT, 020 8802 4165; Mon–Thurs 7.30am–9pm, Fri 7am till 30min before Shabbat, Sun 8am–2pm;; map p22 & p30


Spence Bakery Independent Stokey bakery/coffee shop: they mature their dough overnight and loaves are made fresh each morning, along with superb pastries. More unusual items include marbled brioche and sticky chorizo bread, and the pains au chocolat are superb. The limited counter seats and outside tables are always much in demand. 161 Stoke Newington Church Street N16 0UH, 020 7249 4927,; Mon–Sat 8am–6pm, Sun 9am–6pm; map p30

European El Ganso A lively place on Broadway Market, El Ganso (The Goose) is a great venue for communal tapas nibbling: don’t over-order though, as portions are large. Their jamón Ibérico is carved fresh at the bar. 59 Broadway Market E8 4PH, 020 7241 1793,; Mon–Thurs & Sun 8.30am–11pm, Fri & Sat 8.30am– 11.30pm; map p8 Frizzante Colourful decor, a lovely farmyard setting and a serious attitude to food; on Thursdays there is ‘agriturismo’, with a menu of seasonal Italian food plus live music, and Friday is BBQ night. Hackney City Farm, 1 Goldsmiths Row E2 8QA, 020 7739 2266,; Tues–Sun 10am–4.30pm; 7–11pm Thurs (April–Nov) & Fri (June–Sept); map p14

Latto’s A pizza pop-up in the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden (p16). Slow-rising sourdough makes for a deliciously crunchy base, and toppings change with the seasons; roasted aubergine is a favourite. The garden, with scents from the woodfired oven and lanterns strung from the trees, makes a magical setting. Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, 13 Dalston Lane E8 3DF,; Sat 3–9pm; map p14 Merci Marie This little white-painted canteen in a former shoe factory is a great find in the heart of Dalston. Expect a modern spin on French classics, partly inspired by Hackney’s multicultural fusion. Fitzroy House, Abbot Street E8 3DP, 07790 530703,; Mon–Fri 9am–3pm & Fri 7pm–late; map p14 Open Kitchen The training ground for Hackney Community College’s aspiring student chefs, Open Kitchen is an ambitious neighbourhood restaurant serving wellpresented (mostly) Mediterranean food at reasonable prices. 40 Hoxton Street, London N1 6LR, 020 7613 9590,; Mon & Tues noon–2pm, Weds–Fri noon–2pm & 6–8.30pm; map p18


Late night eats

Voodoo Ray’s Serving generous triangles of pizza till the wee hours at weekends, brightly tiled Voodoo Ray’s in Dalston is well placed for post-club munchies. 95 Kingsland High Street E8 2PB, 020 7249 7865,; Mon–Thurs & Sun 5pm–midnight, Fri 5pm–3am, Sat noon–3am; map p14

Middle Eastern Berber & Q This buzzing and glamorous restaurant under a Haggerston railway arch dishes up Middle Eastern and North African meze dishes. They grill over charcoal and smoke their own meat. 338 Acton Mews E8 4EA, 020 7923 0829,; Tues–Fri 6–11pm, Sat & Sun 11am–3pm & 6–11pm; map p14 Café Route This swish café/deli run by a husbandand-wife team takes salads to a new level. Their flavour-rich combinations such as roasted butternut squash with feta cheese, roasted chickpeas,crispy sage and caramalised onion are sweetly satisfying. Gaumont Tower, Dalston Square, E8 3BQ, 020 7249 6202,; Mon–Fri 7am–10.30pm, Sat 8am– 10.30pm, Sun 8am–9pm; map p14


Somine This Kurdish joint is open all hours at weekends, so if you fancy lentil soup in the middle of night you know where to come. It’s basic and cheerful, serving stews with pickles and Turkish bread on the side. 131 Kingsland High Street E8 2PB, 020 7254 7384; Mon–Thurs & Sun 7am–2am, Fri & Sat 24hr; map p30

Supper club Parkholme Supper Club Run by Alicia Weston and a team of volunteers, this is a brilliantly successful home supper club. Not only is the food amazing – bountiful, impeccably cooked and varied (try the Syrian, Malay or Georgian nights) – but all the profits go to Médecins Sans Frontières.

Turkish Dom’s Place Kebabs are the order of the day, plus beer from Kernel brewery and vino from Borough Wines. This family-run place has been here since 1974, but they’ve reinvented themselves with stylish decor. 199 Lower Clapton Road E5 8EG, 020 8985 5454,; Mon– Thurs & Sun noon–midnight, Fri & Sat noon–3am; map p22 Mangal 2 A Dalston institution, where you can follow hot and cold meze starters with charcoalgrilled kebabs (there is also a veggie menu). Besuited artists Gilbert & George are regulars. Mangal 1 (10 Arcola Street; daily noon–midnight, Fri & Sat till 1am) is a no-frills meat grill joint further up the road. 4 Stoke Newington High Street N16 8BH, 020 7254 7888,; daily noon–midnight; map p30

46 Eating

Tugra Baclava The counters are crammed with homemade baklava, dripping with syrup and sprinkled with pistachio nuts. You can mix and match varieties and eat in or take away: a box of Tugra baklava makes a great gift. A headscarfed cook sits in the window rolling and dry-frying gözleme (Turkish flatbread), which is also sold here. 30–32 Stoke Newington High Street N16 7XJ, 020 7241 1514; daily 9am–9pm; map p30

Vegetarian Black Cat Hackney’s alternative spirit lives at Black Cat, a vegan cooperative café which also sells political tomes and vegan cookbooks. The samosas, ‘sausage’ rolls and pastries are excellent, and you can buy an array of vegan chocolate. 76 Clarence Rd E5 8HB; Mon–Fri noon– 9pm, Sat & Sun 11am–8pm; map p22 Club Mexicana Vegan Mexican food served at Pamela’s bar on Kingsland Road; this pop-up is hugely popular so looks set to stay a while. The ‘fish’ taco (actually seafood-wrapped tofu) is amazingly fishy. Advance booking is advised here, especially at weekends. 428 Kingsland Road E8 4AA,; Tues–Sat 6–11pm; map p14

Gujarati Rasoi Low-key but stylish Gujarati Rasoi was established by mother and son Lalita and Urvesh, who also have a stall on Broadway Market. This is Gujarati home cooking at its best, made from family recipes: try the paneer – milk curd cooked in cumin, chilli and ginger. 10c Bradbury Street N16 8JN, 020 8616 7914,; Wed–Sat 6.30–10.30pm; map p14 Omni Pop-up Omni will be at the Yard Theatre till the end of 2017 – look out for them at other Hackney venues in 2018. They serve light but nourishing multicultural dishes using sustainable vegan ingredients.; map p22 Rasa N16 The original restaurant in the Rasa chain, startlingly pink Rasa N16 focuses on south Indian veggie food, spiced to perfection but not hot; don’t miss their chilli onion rava dosa or the beet cheera pachadi curry, fragrant with beetroot. 55 Stoke Newington Church Street N16 0AR, 020 7249 0344, rasarestaurants. com; Mon–Thurs 6–10.45pm, Fri 6–11.30pm, Sat noon–3pm & 6–11.30pm, Sun noon–2.45pm & 6–10.45pm; map p30

Inside Hackney

The borough has a long, if not illustrious, history of drinking: Samuel Pepys came to Hackney to drink at the famous Mermaid Tavern (opposite what is now Mermaid Fabrics on Mare Street), where he played shuffleboard, ate cherries and ogled the local girls; and Shoreditch, having always been a place of entertainment, has a long boozy past. It still has an awesome density of bars – as does Dalston – and Church Street in Stoke Newington is great for an old-style pub crawl (p32). Today it’s also possible to spend an evening drinking Hackney-made artisan beers and spirits.






Adam & Eve A handsome, tile-fronted Edwardian pub, with plenty of original features, including latticed stained glass, plus an L-shaped pool table. Fresh farm produce and seafood from the southwest, and there are beers on cask and keg. 155 Homerton High Street E9 6AS,; Mon–Wed 4–11pm, Thurs 4pm–midnight, Fri & Sat noon–1am, Sun noon–11pm

Clapton Hart Shabby on the outside, chic on the inside, this spacious, good-looking pub was a coaching inn in the eighteenth century. There are cask hand-pumps and guest kegs, plus Sunday lunch, open fires, board games and a cider and ale festival. 231 Lower Clapton Road E5 8EG,; Mon–Wed 4–11pm, Thurs 4pm–midnight, Fri 4pm–1am, Sat noon–1am, Sun noon–11pm

Anchor & Hope Located on the banks of the Lea, this trad English pub has an enjoyably eccentric vibe and a mixed clientele of Eastenders and canal-boat dwellers mooring outside. 15 High Hill Ferry E5 9HG,; Mon–Fri 1–11pm, Sat & Sun noon–11pm Biddle Bros Retaining the old signage of Biddle Bros Builders, this great hangout features a mixed bag of drinkers propping up the bar, live music and art on the walls. 88 Lower Clapton Road E5 0QR; Mon–Fri 6–11pm, Sat & Sun 1–11pm Bricklayer’s Arms This corner pub in the heart of Shoreditch is mostly remarkable for not shifting with the surrounding trends. Come for cask ales, ciders and the jukebox. 63 Charlotte Road EC2A 3PE, bricklayers; daily 11am–11pm Chesham Arms Rescued, restored and run by locals, the Chesham is an agreeable backstreet boozer and a fine example of community action. There’s a pub garden and piano. 15 Mehetabel Road E9 6DU,; Mon–Thurs 4.30–11pm, Fri–Sun noon–11pm

The Dove A CAMRA-beloved pub with a range of real ales plus Belgian beers. They serve decent Belgian and British food, and the gleaming wood-panelled interior makes it a snug stop on a winter evening. 24–28 Broadway Market E8 4QJ,; Mon–Sat noon–11pm, Sun 2–10pm The Elderfield Spruced-up pub on a Clapton backstreet which has retained its Art Deco wood panelling and fireplace. Board games and live music – folk on Monday, jazz on Sunday afternoon – provide entertainment. 57 Elderfield Road E5 0LF; Mon–Wed 4–11pm, Thurs & Fri 4pm–midnight, Sat 1pm–midnight, Sun 1–11pm


The Owl & The Pussycat Tasteful sea-green rather than peagreen, this Shoreditch pub occupies a listed seventeenth-century building, with stripped wood furnishings, Chesterfield sofas, a sunny courtyard and a restaurant upstairs serving trad British food. 34 Redchurch Street E2 7DP,; Mon noon–11pm, Tues–Sat noon– midnight, Sun noon–10.30pm Railway Tavern Attractively restored old-style boozer on a quiet backstreet off Gillett Square, with some artful railway memorabilia, local and regional cask ales, Thai food and a Tuesday pub quiz (8.30pm). 2 Saint Jude Street N16 8JT; Mon–Thurs 4–11pm, Fri & Sat noon–midnight, Sun noon–10.30pm Scolt Head Popular neighbourhood pub with a cute triangular garden, vintage Penguin paperbacks on the shelves, an excellent wine list and classy food with seasonal ingredients. Every Tuesday there are swing dance lessons from 6.45pm and the London Dance Orchestra plays live from 8pm Plus Sunday lunch, regular jazz nights and a Monday-night quiz (8pm). 107a Culford Road N1 4HT, thescolthead.; daily noon–midnight

Shakespeare Tiled and mosaic-ed backstreet Stokey boozer whose main distinguishing feature is a giant statue of a bare-breasted woman. They don’t do food, but they do offer craft lagers and a Monday pub quiz. 57 Allen Road N16 8RY; Mon–Fri 5–11pm, Sat noon–11pm, Sun noon–10.30pm

Bars 90 Main Yard Brilliantly upcycled warehouse bar/ restaurant/events space in Hackney Wick, featuring movie screenings, quizzes, bingo and soul and funk nights. 90 Wallis Road E9 5LN, 90mainyard.; Wed & Sun noon–11pm, Thurs–Sat noon–midnight Ace Hotel Bar Shoreditch at its most studiedly cool: there’s a DIY photo booth at reception and a 70s vibe to the chunky wooden furniture and artfully scattered pale wool rugs in the lobby bar. The hotel’s Hoi Polloi restaurant has more of a retro glam feel, with wood panelling and hexagonal floor tiles. Ace Hotel, 100 Shoreditch High Street E1 6JQ,; Mon–Wed & Sun 7am–midnight, Thurs–Sat 7am–1am


The Kenton Norwegian-run pub that scores for its immense Sunday lunches and lively events: a Monday film club, DJ nights and rock’n’roll bingo. In the cute beer garden they adopt the Scandi approach to a cool night, providing blankets to wrap up in. 38 Kenton Road E9 7AB, kentonpub.; Mon–Wed 4–11.30pm, Thurs 4pm– midnight, Fri 4pm–1am, Sat noon–1am, Sun noon–11.30pm

50 Drinking

The BonnevilleTavern The dark-wood and scrubbed walls of this handsome bistro-style bar are low-lit by weeping candles and a beautiful stainedglass skylight, originally from the foyer of the Metropole Cinema in Victoria. 43 Lower Clapton Road E5 0NS,; daily 5pm–midnight/1am; map p00 Callooh Callay Cheeky, buzzy, speakeasy-style cocktail bar with psychedelia-meets-Victoriana decor. Among the more out-there offerings is a Marmageddon, which includes marmite. Cocktail courses cost £35. 65 Rivington Street EC2A 3AY,; daily 6pm–1am Dalston Roof Park Booze with a view: the summer roof garden at Bootstrap (p16) transforms downtown Dalston into Manhattan (especially if you’ve had a few). A £5 membership fee gives you access to a fantastic programme of music events, film screenings and parties. 18 Ashwin Street E8 3DL, bootstrap; summer only Tues–Fri 5–11pm, Sat 3pm–midnight, Sun 3–10pm Happiness Forgets This appealing little Hoxton Square basement features blood-red brick walls and marble tables. Their signature drink is the Perfect Storm, a heady combo including dark rum and plum brandy. 8–9 Hoxton Square N1 6NU,; daily 5–11pm Ridley Road Market Bar With bright rum-shack decor, low prices and a lively dance floor, this feels like a holiday in the heart of Hackney. Soul, funk and hip-hop, plus the odd guilty pleasure. 49 Ridley Road E8 2NP,; Wed 6pm–midnight, Thurs–Sat 6pm–2am, Sun 3–11pm; free

Ruby’s This basement cocktail bar is a fabulous retro retreat: cinema lettering hangs outside and ceramic ducks fly across the artistically peeling walls. Best of all are the drinks, from the kick of the chilli apple martini to the blackberry mojito, served in a 1940s milk bottle. Live free jazz on Thursdays, and DJs nights on Fridays and Saturdays. 76 Stoke Newington Road N16 7XB,; Tues–Thurs 6.30pm– midnight, Fri & Sat 6.30pm–2am

Vogue Fabrics Gay-friendly, self-confessedly sleazy bar where there’s no room for inhibitions and, in fact, not a lot of room to dance. Don’t let that keep you from disco and house nights hosted by Tranny Dad or Touch the Wood. 66 Stoke Newington Road N16 7XB,; Fri & Sat 10pm–3am; £5

Inside Hackney

Hackney’s nightlife is at its most eclectic around Dalston Junction, where there’s a dense cluster of clubs and bars. The borough excels at live music in intimate spaces, from experimentation at Café OTO via eclectic jazz at the Vortex to international stars at the inspiring Village Underground. These long-established venues have been joined more recently by the glitzy Moth Club and fabulously alternative Total Refreshment Centre. Dalston and Stokey feature umpteen basement clubs and bars, from dive to diva style, offering regular free music nights. The Nest Collective ( organise folk gigs in unusual places including Woodberry Wetlands (p32).


Music + clubs



Music + clubs

The Alibi It sort of helps to be drunk on the basement dance floor here: if you are, you’ll probably have a great time. They play dubstep, 90s indie, hip-hop and grunge on a Void Acoustics sound system. 91 Kingsland High Street E8 2PB,; Mon–Wed & Sun 8pm–2am, Thurs–Sat 8pm–3am; free Birthdays There’s a good-looking panoramic tiled bar on the ground-floor level at Birthdays, while downstairs the basement music venue has hosted live sets by Bloc Party, events by Land of Kings and shows by All Tomorrow’s Parties. 33–35 Stoke Newington Road N16 8BJ,; Mon–Thurs & Sun noon–midnight, Fri & Sat noon–3am; bar free, basement entry from £5 Dalston Jazz Bar On the corner of Gillett Square, this long-established little bar has become an institution for its live jazz and uninhibited dance floor antics: they play a rich mix of motown, hip-hop, jazz, funk and soul. There’s live jazz early evening on Fridays and Saturdays. 4 Bradbury Street N16 8JN, dalstonjazz; Mon–Thurs & Sun 5pm–1am, Fri & Sat 5pm–2am, live music Fri & Sat 7.30pm; £5 after midnight Dalston Superstore LGBT-friendly Superstore is loud, colourful and a wee bit naughty. Their USP is serious music with silly names: the Battered Sausage, Disco Sódoma and Uncontrollable Urge nights feature top DJs. 117 Kingsland High Street E8 2PB,; Mon noon– 1.30am, Tues–Thurs & Sun noon–2.30am, Fri noon–3am, Sat 10am–3am; free/£5

Glory A super-gay super-pub part owned by drag artist Jonny Woo, with a glittery mix of gay pagan parties, rock nights, kamikaze karaoke, drag battles and fan-girl events. 281 Kingsland Road E2 8AS, theglory. co; Mon–Thurs 5pm–midnight, Fri & Sat 5pm–2am, Sun 1–11pm; from £5 Visions Video Bar ‘Go hard or go home’ say Visions: this lowceilinged basement club plays old-school hip-hop, R’n’B, future house, grime and garage into the very wee hours, and is lined with VHS players in homage to its former incarnation. 588 Kingsland Road E8 4AH, visionsvideo; Thurs–Sun 10pm–6am; from £5

Live music Sutton House Music Society ( organises regular classical music recitals, and opera fans should look out for English Touring Opera dates at the Hackney Empire. See also ‘free live music’ (see opposite), and the summer music festivals featured in Events (p34–p35). Café OTO Ploughing its own musical furrow since 2008, Café OTO is Hackney’s most distinctive venue. The stress is on experimentation across genres – jazz, folk and classical – and past performers have included Yoko Ono, percussionist Eddie Prévost and the dazzling Sun Ra Arkestra.

The Moth Club This ex-servicemen’s members club has an alternative life as Hackney’s hottest new venue for gigs, DJ nights, album launches and film screenings. The glittering main hall provides a beautifully kitsch backdrop. Old Trades Hall, Valette Street E9 6NU; club nights from £8

See also the Scolt Head (p49) and the Elderfield (p48). Auld Shillelagh An authentic Irish boozer, rather than a pub given an Irish makeover. There are boisterous live folk nights every other Friday and Saturday; squeeze in, grab a pint of Guinness and join in the fun. 105 Stoke Newington Church Street N16 0UD,; music 9.30pm–closing time; free The Haggerston Sunday ‘Jazz at the Hagg’ with guitarist Alan Weekes’ band is an institution that has been bringing the house down weekly for years. Traditional blues-infused jazz and superb musicianship. 438 Kingsland Road E8 4AA; jazz Sun 11pm–3am; free Mascara Bar Down-at-heel yet strangely appealing, the Mascara Bar hosts live jazz on Sunday nights, and a jazz jam every Tuesday. 72 Stamford Hill N16 6XS, mascarabar.; Sun jazz from 9pm, jazz jam Tues from 8pm; free

Oslo The beautiful old train station at Hackney Central has a new lease of life as this club/venue/fancy restaurant. It’s part of an entertainment company chain, so hasn’t the organic feel of other Hackney venues, but the upstairs room hosts new and established bands as well as club nights, and the L-Acoustics sound system is excellent. 1a Amhurst Road E8 1LL, oslohackney. com; from £5

Old Blue Last This handsome Shoreditch pub has hosted Hot Chip, Lily Allen and Arctic Monkeys. There’s live music upstairs practically every night. 38 Great Eastern Street EC2A 3ES,; from 8pm; free/£5 Shacklewell Arms Well-curated programme of indie gigs seven nights a week in a characterfully shabby boozer – they’re nearly always free. 71 Shacklewell Lane E8 2EB,; from 8pm; free

Hackney top five

Hackney Attic On the top floor of the Picturehouse, the Attic has a nice line in alternative events, from a film quiz to cabaret and soul nights. It’s a homely venue for live music, too: folk, jazz, reggae, Latin and African. Hackney Picturehouse, 270 Mare Street E8 1HE, @hackneyattic; from £5

Hackney top five: free live music


The café serves excellent Persian food and baking, plus a range of beers and whiskies (including Japanese single malt). 18–22 Ashwin Street E8 3DL, cafeoto.; from £5

‘Hackney provides so many opportunities for what the Nest Collective want to do – we organise concerts in the Woodberry Wetlands and we’re planning to do breakfast campfire sessions in the Bee Garden behind the Bootstrap building. We’ve called this ‘porridge and knowledge’ and we’ll feature speakers, change-makers and singers. We’re interested in promoting projects that make social change, enhance social consiousness, reclaim spaces and address environmental concerns. Singing around a campfire has always been the happiest of times for me. The Campfire Club strand of the Nest Collective aims to evoke that experience, with unamplified music and outdoor gatherings. Artists contribute, but the fire is the star.

I live just off Ridley Road so I don’t have to travel far to find local folk – I chat to the Irish travellers there and listen to their music. There are some classic east London folk tunes like the Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green and the Fair Maid of Islington, but the nature of folk song is that it translocates; it moves as people move. Hackney has lots of wonderful venues such as the Vortex, Café OTO and Servant Jazz Quarters. And there’s an amazing music community here – you can smell the creativity. Just on my street I’m surrounded by musicians. I live in an old caretaker’s flat in a church in Dalston, and it’s good to see the different groups there and how they connect and have always connected. Caribbean people were looked after by Jewish people when they arrived here, and they were looked after in their turn. My favourite place to eat in Hackney is Kaffa Coffee on Gillett Square where you can get great Ethiopian food on Thursdays and Fridays. And I love the Hackney Carnival because it’s chaotic and untamed: it reimagines what streets and community gatherings are about. It’s not my music or community but I feel very included, and people really come together to party. In Hackney there’s an understanding that community doesn’t just happen – you have to contribute to it. It’s so open and inclusive here. I think that will last and will outlive any changes – we have to hold on to each other.’

Inside Hackney

Folk singer Sam Lee has been living and singing in Hackney since 2004. Sam is an active participant in the age-old tradition of British folk, immersing himself in traveller communities to collect rebel and romantic songs. His own interpretations move beyond anthropology and are profoundly felt, expressed in his rich, resonant voice. Sam spent childhood holidays surrounded by the natural world thanks to the Forest School Camps charity, and he has worked in nature conservation and experienced wilderness survival. We talked to Sam in the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, Hackney’s favourite wild place, where he has run events for the Nest Collective, his acoustic folk club.


Inside Hackney: Sam Lee


The Others Upstairs from a snooker club, this gloriously tatty venue hosts a great programme of film, art and music events, with a Thursday jam session that has to be the most eclectic in the borough. 6 Manor Road N16 5SA,; free/from £5

Music + clubs

Total Refreshment Centre The recording studio here nurtures new talent, and the backstreet Stokey venue provides a showcase. So far this collective of musicians, producers and filmmakers has featured a collaboration with Thurston Moore, sets by Gilles Peterson and exciting custom-made events such as a Blue Note night. The monthly Peach event, the brainchild of brilliant poet/saxophonist Alabaster de Plume, is a must. Unit 2, 2a Foulden Road N16 7UR, total; from £5

Village Undergound One of Hackney’s best music venues, this 700-capacity former warehouse treads an interesting line between commercial and alternative music, styling itself as the Barbican Uncut. Tuareg musicians Tinariwen, singer songwriter Blood Orange and local soul star Lianne La Havas have all played here – and partied in the tiled green room that once housed a brothel. 54 Holywell Lane EC2A 3PQ,; £11–20

The Vortex The Vortex has been around for thirty years, moving from Stoke Newington Church Street to revamped Gillett Square in 2005. It is run mainly by volunteers, and programmes a staggering volume of excellent music: around four hundred gigs a year. Officially a jazz club, it has a wide musical remit – you’ll hear everything from Zimbabwean jit jive to Afro-Latin sounds. 11 Gillett Square N16 8AZ,; around £10 Waiting Room Located below the Three Crowns pub, Waiting Room features diverse club nights and live music in a tiny wood- and tile-lined basement that’s a little smarter than its Dalston equivalents. Electronica, reggae, hip-hop, indie pop and alt-country all feature here. 175 Stoke Newington High Street N16 0LH,; free/from £5

Inside Hackney

Hackney was an enthusiastic adopter of cinema in the 1910s, and many historic picture palaces still exist in somewhat battered incarnations; the gorgeous Rio is the sole survivor as a functioning movie house. Cinema is very much alive here, though, in the vibrant film club scene and at festivals. Theatre in the borough was long synonymous with the inspiring Arcola Theatre, which moved from a textile factory on Arcola Street to the cultural enclave of Ashwin Street in 2011. Since then, the Yard in Hackney Wick and the Big House Theatre Company in Hackney Downs have appeared, further boosting Hackney’s theatrical credentials.


Film + theatre


Cinemas Festivals with screenings at the Rio and/or the Picturehouse include the Turkish Film Festival (; May), the East End Film Festival (; July) and Doc + Roll (; Oct).

Film + theatre

Castle Cinema Once the Castle Electric Cinema, this 1913 gem went into decline from 1958 till 2015, when it was rescued and restored: some lovely original plasterwork survives. New releases of an arty nature are screened, plus classics and documentaries (Wed). 64–66 Brooksby’s Walk E9 6DA,; £12 Hackney Picturehouse Hackney’s glamorous Picturehouse has its four screens, canteen-style restaurant and bar. The programme is a pleasing mix of arthouse and popular, with a host of clubs and events. Over-60s get substantial discounts during Silver Screen showings, there’s a kids’ club on Saturdays, a free Slackers Club for impoverished students, Toddler Time for pre-school, Big Scream for parents and babies, autism-friendly screenings, a nostalgic Reminiscence strand, and occasional late-night movies. 270 Mare Street E8 1HE, picturehouses. com/cinema/Hackney_Picturehouse; £12.50, Mon £7 Institute of Light A fabulous little repertory cinema (plus record store, bookshop and café) under a railway arch, with a great programme of arthouse features and documentaries. 376 Helmsley Place E8 3SB,; £6, two-seater sofas £18 Rio The borough’s historic cinema, the one-screen, two-storey Rio is a real gem, showing major releases, avant-garde movies and classics. Sunday matinee

double bills are full of cinematic surprises, from the Marx Brothers to Polish art movies to leftfield documentaries. For families, there’s the Saturday Morning Picture Club and Tuesday afternoon matinees, screen delights as The Jungle Book and Paddington. Classic monthly matinees are just £2 for the over-60s. 107 Kingsland High Street E8 2PB,; £11.50, Mon £7

Film clubs + shops Alibi Ultra-varied screenings at a Dalston nightclub: Dr Strangelove via Zombie Flesh Eaters to Dirty Dancing. And, as per the Alibi’s commitment to offering free entry, it won’t cost you a thing. 91 Kingsland High Street E8 2PB,; Mon 8pm; free Cinereal Not-for-profit 16mm film club, where film fans can share their love of the medium, and where cinephile Umit (see opposite) is the projectionist. See the likes of Jaws, Cathy Come Home and Bicycle Thieves. Venues around the borough, MostArt Film Club Films from around the world are screened at this basement club, located beneath an arts-focused Turkish café. 86 Stoke Newington High Street N16 7PA,; £5

Umit & Son An extraordinary and fantastically jumbled shop selling cinema collectibles, including rare Soviet cameras, Super 8 and Super 16 reels, VHS tapes, posters and toys. 35 Lower Clapton Road E5 0NS; Mon–Sat 10am–7pm

Hoxton Hall Built in 1863 by a local philanthropist, this jewellery-box music hall is one of Hackney’s treasures. In its heyday the hall presented songs, sketches and turns featuring trapeze artists, jugglers, acrobats and performing dogs. It later became a mission hall and then a social club, and now specialises in youth arts and performance. The auditorium has had a major renovation, meaning this lovely little space is reclaiming its place in the artistic life of the borough. 130 Hoxton Street N1 6SH,

Theatre Arcola Theatre The world’s first carbon-neutral theatre offers a brilliantly diverse programme, with an emphasis on experimentation and social relevance. Look out for shows by simple8, who employ most basic of props and unaccompanied song to wonderful effect, and for the Grimeborn festival of new opera in August. 24 Ashwin Street E8 3DL, arcolatheatre. com; from £15, Tues ‘pay what you can’ Big House Theatre Big House works with care-leavers, using performance as a means of confidencebuilding and catharsis. Many productions are inspired by the actors’ life stories. Hackney Downs Studios, Amhurst Terrace E8 2BT,; £10 Courtyard Theatre Located in a former public library near where some of Shakespeare’s plays were first performed, the Courtyard has a 150seat house and an 80-seat studio theatre. It shows plays, live music and comedy. 40 Pitfield Street N1 6EU, thecourtyard.; from £7

Yard Theatre The Hackney Wick Yard, built from reclaimed materials, is all about new ideas and new writing, and is a great forum for young writers to get started. There’s also a convivial restaurant and bar, which hosts regular live music, pop-ups and events. Unit 2a Queen’s Yard E9 5EN, theyard; from £7.50

Film + theatre

Hackney Empire It’s hard to capture the breadth of what the Empire presents, from comedy nights to opera to dance spectaculars to the legend that is the annual panto. A night out here shouldn’t be missed, not least to see the stunning scarlet and gold auditorium. 291 Mare Street E8 1EJ,; from £11


Proper Ganda A monthly night held at The Others in Stoke Newington. All art forms are celebrated; the screenings of wildly experimental short films by local artists shouldn’t be missed. 6 Manor Road N16 5SA,; monthly; £5 before 9pm, £7 after

Inside Hackney

Hackney’s wealth of warehouse studios has made the borough a magnet for artists: a key date in the art calendar is the Hackney WickEd Open Studios (, when Hackney Wick studios open their doors and you can buy work by local artists, take part in workshops and see site-specific pieces and performance art. Rivington Place in Shoreditch is the borough’s major public gallery, with a consistently interesting and challenging programme, and there is also a large number of independent and commercial spaces. Vyner Street, immediately south of Hackney hosts a cluster of galleries as well as the ambitious Lime Wharf arts centre.






Banner Repeater Forget platform 9¾ – this is Hackney, where platform 1 of Hackney Downs Station is home to reading room and project space Banner Repeater. There’s a bookshop selling artists’ publications and an esoteric programme of talks. Hackney Downs Station, Dalston Lane E8 1JZ,; Tues–Thurs 8–11am, Fri 8am–6pm, Sat & Sun noon–6pm Cock’n’Bull The CNB gallery is downstairs from the Tramshed restaurant, which displays Damien Hirst’s Cock and Bull (2012) – the two animals floating in formaldehyde murk. They host monthly exhibitions, workshops, poetry nights and charity auctions. Tramshed, 32 Rivington Street EC2A 3LX,; daily 11am– 6.30pm Flowers The east London sister of the Cork Street Flowers gallery shows work in all media by established and ascending artists. 82 Kingsland Road E2 8DP, flowersgallery. com; Tues–Sat 10am–6pm Print House Gallery Past exhibitions in the downstairs gallery at Bootstrap have explored the life of bees, the traditional justice system in postwar Sierra Leone, and abandoned Bronx streetscapes. 18 Ashwin Street E8 3DL,; daily 10am–5pm Residence Gallery An artist-run gallery in Victoria Park village, which styles itself a ‘commercial and conceptual contemporary fine art venue’. 229 Victoria Park Road E9 7HD,; Wed–Sat 11am–6pm, Sun noon–5pm

Rivington Place Shoreditch visual arts centre that features the work of London’s black community, as well as exhibitions by international artists in the capital. The design inspiration of the building itself, by David Adjaye, was a latticed Sowei mask from Sierra Leone. Rivington Place also houses the Stuart Hall Library, an education space and a café. Rivington Place EC2A 3BA, rivingtonplace. org; Tues, Wed & Fri 11am–6pm, Thurs 11am–9pm, Sat noon–6pm Space Studios Gallery space at the HQ of visual arts organization Space, which for years has been providing affordable studios for local artists. Exhibitions reflect the charity’s commitment to promoting innovation. 129–131 Mare Street E8 3RH,; Mon–Fri 10am–5pm, Sat & Sun noon–6pm Stour Space An appealing exhibition space with a great little canalside café. It’s a showcase for Hackney Wick’s artist community. 7 Roach Road E3 2PA,; daily 9am–5pm Tina We Salute You This small corner café employs local artists to imaginatively revamp the decor every six weeks, as well as the wall outside. The coffee and pastries are pretty good too. 47 King Henry’s Walk N1 4NH,; Mon–Fri 8am–6pm

Life drawing Inspirational life drawing classes at The Prince pub, taught by figurative painter Dan Whiteson. There’s a strong emphasis on personal expression and enjoyment, and a fantastic soundtrack too. The Prince, 59 Kynaston Road N16 0EB; Tues 8–10pm, Thurs 7.30–9.30pm; £5, materials included London Green Wood In the rustic setting of Abney Park Cemetery, this community-led group offers spoon-making and other woodcarving skills sessions, as well as an introduction to coppicing and woodland management. There’s a folksy, friendly atmosphere, and the products of this refreshingly low-tech activity are simple and beautiful. The wood used is sourced either from windblown branches in the cemetery or from local tree surgeons. Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington High Street N16 0LH, londongreenwood.; day courses £60, fourweek introduction to green woodwork £160 Print Club London Workshops run by professional printers, taking you from a history of screenprinting to art-working, exposing your screens and printing. There are also T-shirt printing courses, and cyanotype workshops, as well as advanced screenprinting sessions.

Turning Earth Ceramics This inspired community art project makes potting affordable and accessible. Set under a couple of brick railway arches in Haggerston, Turning Earth run four- to twelve-week classes in throwing, firing and glazing. Pay a membership fee (from £160 per month) and you can drop in to use the facilities for up to fifteen hours per week. Railway Arches 361–362, Whiston Road E2 8BW,; 12-week course for £285


Hackney Mosaic Project Excellent drop-in mosaic workshops for adults or kids over 10, run by Tessa Hunkin who has created mosaic artworks around the borough, including in Shoreditch Park (p21). Hackney Downs Pavilion, Downs Park Road E5 8NP,; Wed & every second Sat 2–5pm, Thurs 10.30am–5pm

Unit 3, Millers Ave E8 2DS, print; from £50 for a one-day beginner’s workshop



‘When I arrived on this mews back in 1986 it was a bastion of making. There was Batchelor’s Leather (who are still here), a fantastic metal spinner, a buckle warehouse and a Rolls Royce repairer who is still here too. I’ve always collaborated with the other makers on the street. It has changed over the years, but everything is within a stone’s throw, and because we are a live-work space we bump into people all the time. It’s a lovely community of artisans and my main concern is that they are being forced out by the relentless property boom, and that the particular character of my street and the area is changing. But at the moment there is a flowering of creativity in Hackney, which is wonderful. As far as ceramics go, there is Turning Earth, the SkandiHus studio

and a pop-up shop called Ceramics 274. Back in the 1990s I was part of Hackney Contemporaries – we had some European regeneration money to produce and promote work made here and it helped to draw attention to the area. One of my goals has been to build a community of potters. The studio is always in flux, but I have around ten assistants who also do their own work – start-up potters always need another job, but if they work with me I can teach them new skills, pass on projects and share connections. I visualise my team like a glowing piece of coal which warms and always stays alight. For my own work, I’m happy to have had some public commissions in Hackney over the years. At Homerton Hospital I created a giant jug pouring water into a bowl, to reflect the continuity of life. And in the herb garden at the Geffrye Museum I made a bronze fountain: an overflowing urn decorated with leaves and vines. I created three huge stoneware freshwater fishes for the Lea Valley Park, which have been jumping optimistically out of the water in a full current for more than twenty years – except for one. Someone stole a 3.5-foot stone pike head a few years ago – if anyone has seen it in a back garden somewhere please let us know!’ Kate’s annual Open Studio is on the first weekend of December: you can buy work by her and her assistants and associates;

Inside Hackney

Kate Malone is a potter and ceramic artist who has lived and worked in a studio on a Hackney mews for thirty years. Her work is instantly identifiable, with highly glazed and colourful pieces expressing the abundance and energy of nature: swelling pumpkins, gourds and berries are a feature, though her work has recently moved towards depicting nature in the abstract. Kate herself is pretty identifiable too, as a judge on the BBC’s Great Pottery Throwdown. While she delights in promoting what she describes as the clay renaissance, there is a very scholarly aspect to Kate’s work: her studio in Dalston holds the largest archive of stoneware crystalline glazes in the UK.


Inside Hackney: Kate Malone

66 Advertorial Image © Jørn Tomter

At Growing Communities we have been supplying people in Hackney with delicious, affordable organic food and building a better, fairer food system for the past twenty years. Our award-winning social enterprise runs a fruit and veg scheme that brings control of food back to our community and pays fair prices to local organic farmers. We also run the UK’s only all-organic farmers’ market, home to about 25 small farmers and food producers, every Saturday, 10am till 2.30pm, St Paul’s Church, Stoke Newington, N16 7UY. Nine small market gardens in Hackney parks and gardens make up our organic Patchwork Farm. We grow award-winning Hackney Salad and other fruit and veg, as well as training new growers. You’re welcome to volunteer with us.

‘We have all the fruit and vegetables we could want every week. They’re seasonal, you know exactly where they’ve come from, and they taste SO much better than anything you can find in a supermarket’. GC veg scheme member

Inside Hackney

As you’d expect in a borough crammed with artists and fashion designers, Hackney has some beautiful and imaginative shops. You’ll find a particularly good choice when it comes to dressing ethically and on a budget. And if you’re after food from around the world, you’re definitely in the right borough: the markets and delis are superb. In this section we also list the best stuff made locally, from bespoke underwear to furniture crafted from the borough’s own trees. Plus find out where to buy art supplies, fabrics, bikes, books and booze.


Shops + markets


Art and crafts Afrique Fabrics Bolts of wax-printed fabrics from Holland, in a fabulous array of prints and colours. Great for making clothes and upholstery. 48 Ridley Road E8 2LH; Mon–Thurs 6am–6pm, Fri & Sat 6am–7pm

Shops + markets

Cabbages + Kings An airy shop and gallery space selling fresh and fun gifts, crafts, funky jewels, books and stationery from young designers. They are also home to Knit with Attitude, which sells ethical and ecofriendly yarns. 127 Stoke Newington High Street N16 0PH,; Mon–Sat 10am–6pm, Sun noon–6pm Jackson’s Art Supplies Located on a Stokey backstreet, Jackson’s – run by artists for artists – sells pretty much every art material or piece of kit you could ever want, including a range of paints and papers. 1 Farleigh Place N16 7SX, jacksons; Mon–Fri 9am–5.30pm, Sat 10am–6pm

Bikes, balls + globes There’s no shortage of bike shops in the area, many of them serving flat whites on the side. Try Hackney Bike Workshop (p89) to learn bike-fixing skills. A & S Cycles This trusty Chatsworth Road shop has been around for thirty years, offering sales, servicing and repairs. 1 Chatsworth Road E5 0LH, aandscycles. com; Tues 10am–3pm, Wed–Fri 9am– 6pm, Sat 11am–6pm, Sun noon–4pm Alive and Kicking These bright, bold and tough footballs are hand-stitched in Africa, providing employment for 140 people in Accra, Nairobi and Lusaka. Screenprinted text and images on the balls send social and environmental messages, and around 20 percent of the balls are donated to schools and community projects. 147 Hoxton Street, London N1 6QG,; Mon–Fri 10am–5pm

Print Club London As well as running workshops (p63), the Print Club has a gallery where you can buy prints made on the premises; from £20. 10–28 Millers Avenue E8 2DS, printclub; Mon–Fri 9am–6pm YCN Colourful and cleverly curated shop representing the artists’ collective YCN (You Can Now). They sell prints, ceramics, art books and intriguing gifts, including terrariums: glass containers holding mini plant ecosystems. 72 Rivington Street EC2A 3AY, ycn. org; Mon–Fri 10am–6pm, Sat & Sun 11am–4pm

Bellerby and Co Beautiful, old-fashioned terrestrial and celestial globes, handcrafted in a Stokey warehouse and sold around the world.

Broadway Bookshop Proudly independent store specialising in literary fiction, with a good kids’ section and an inspiring travel selection that mixes guidebooks with novels and poetry. There are monthly readings by local authors such as Iain Sinclair and novelist and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo. 6 Broadway Market E8 4QJ,; Mon–Sat 10am–6pm, Sun 11am–5pm Burley Fisher A small but perfectly formed independent bookshop with a dynamic range of talks, workshops and readings. The crowdfunded renovation of their basement has created space for exhibitions and events. 400 Kingsland Road E8 4AA,; Mon–Fri 8.30am–7pm, Sat 9am–6pm, Sun noon–6pm

Broadway Market Varied food market, with everything from Ghanaian hot meals to homemade Scotch eggs and multicoloured meringues. Proceeds go to local charities. Round the corner in the School Yard you’ll find crafts, bric-a-brac and still more food. Broadway Market E8 4QL, broadway; Sat 9am–5pm Ridley Road Bargain fruit and veg, some of it piled up on traditional old barrows, plus African, Caribbean and Asian ingredients and tasty fast food from around the world. Another market speciality is fabric, especially from Asia and Africa; try Dalston Mill Fabrics at nos 69–73. Ridley Road E8 2LH; Mon–Thurs 6am–6pm, Fri & Sat 6am–7pm Stoke Newington Farmers’ Market Buy direct from small producers at this weekly market run by Growing Communities (p88). Seasonal organic fruit and veg, raw milk and cheeses, mushrooms, bread and cakes, börek, seafood, meat and homemade pasta. St Paul’s West Hackney, Stoke Newington Road & Amhurst Road N16 7UY,; Sat 10am–2.30pm The borough also hosts Chatsworth Road Market (Sun 11am–4pm), Hoxton Street Market (Sat 11am–4pm) and the monthly Well Street Market (first Sat 10am–4pm).

Hackney top three

Artwords Funky bookstore with a focus on visual art, photography, architecture, fashion and graphics. Plus uber-cool style mags and a few contemporary kids’ and cookery titles. 20–22 Broadway Market E8 4QJ, artwords.; Mon–Fri 10.30am–8pm, Sat & Sun 10am–6pm

Hackney top three: markets


Books + vinyl


Kristina Records Carefully curated new and secondhand vinyl. Progressive music, from avant-garde Afro-funk to heavy soulful house, plus in-store DJ sets. 44 Stoke Newington Road N16 7XJ,; Mon–Sat noon–8pm, Sun noon–7pm

Shops + markets

Lion Records A hip hangout in Clapton, with vinyl for sale and on the turntable, fine coffee and snacks and even gigs and spoken word events, where the crowd is crammed into an unfeasibly small space. 118 Lower Clapton Road E5 0QR,; Mon–Wed 8am–5pm, Fri 8am–5pm, Sat 10am–9pm, Sun 10am–6pm Pages An eclectic indie bookshop, with knowledgeable staff – have a chat or look at their online recommendations for reading inspiration. They run a book club and other literary events. 70 Lower Clapton Road E5 0RN,; Mon–Fri 11am– 7pm, Sat 10am–6pm, Sun noon–6pm

Fashion The Hackney Walk development around Morning Lane is taking the borough’s shopping upmarket – there’s a longestablished Burberry Factory Shop in the area, as well as other posh outlets. 69b This inviting Broadway Market boutique sells eco fashion with a cutting edge: labels include People Tree, Ancient Greek Sandals and Veja, who make trainers with sustainable wild-rubber soles. 69b Broadway Market E8 4PH,; Mon–Fri 10.30am– 6.30pm, Sat 10am–6pm, Sun 11am–6pm

Branch on the Park Victoria Park jewellers with rings combining precious metals with unusual gemstones; they can also upcycle your old, unwanted jewellery. The Unity collection – featuring entwined hands and arms – supports homeless women, and birthstone bracelets make a good, affordable gift. 227 Victoria Park Road E9 7HD,; Wed–Sat 10am–6pm, Sun 11am–5pm Buttress and Snatch Vintage-inspired swimwear and frilly, dotty or tasselled lingerie, carefully custommade to your measurements in an old Turkish Delight factory in Stamford Hill. Circle Collective A great initiative featuring sports and streetwear from young Hackney designers – some of it showcased at in-store fashion shows. Their apprenticeship scheme helps young people into work, building skills and increasing confidence. 136 Kingsland High Street E8 2NS,; Mon–Sat 10am–6pm Crisis Great secondhand clothing and bric-abrac, with friendly volunteers on hand and funds going to homelessness projects. 330 Mare Street E8 1HA; Mon–Fri 10am–6pm, Sun noon–6pm

Wall & Jones This glorious boutique excels at ‘vintage pimping’: revamping old brocade and tartans. Their signature dresses feature a patterned panel framed by a panier. Reinventions of old garments can be done, and jewellers mix old and new pieces. 340 Hackney Road E2 7AX,; Wed 1.30–6pm, Thurs–Sun 11am–6pm

Food + drink Bottle Apostle Try before you buy at this buzzy Victoria Park wine shop. They also stock a great range of the borough’s artisan beers, while the weekly Spiritual Wednesday event explores rye whiskies, brandies and gins. 95 Lauriston Road E9 7HJ, bottleapostle. com; Mon–Fri noon–9pm, Sat 10am–8pm, Sun 10am–6pm De Beauvoir Deli Half neighbourhood café, half upmarket food store, this is a great lunch stop – try their homemade salads or a sausage roll in flaky pastry. Foodie gifts include posh chocolates, chutneys, jams and honey. 98 Southgate Road N1 3JD,; Mon–Fri 8am– 8pm, Sat 8am–6pm, Sun 9am–4pm

Traid Traid has Hackney’s best-dressed window, as well as a plethora of secondhand clothing bargains. They also stock Traidremade clothes, created from reclaimed textiles, including two upscale collections: well-crafted menswear by Percival, and women’s clothes including playsuits and wool coats.

Deli Downstairs Fine food store in a beautifully restored Victoria Park grocers, with great baked goods such as venison pies, a British and French cheese counter and refill wine from wooden casks. Their whitewashed and tiled café, housed in an old stable, sells snacks, coffees and drinks. 211 Victoria Park Road E9 7JN,; Mon–Fri 9am– 7pm, Sat 9am–6pm, Sun 9am–4pm

Shops + markets

Pelicans & Parrots First stop for an Italian designer bargain in Hackney. There are two branches: no 40 features beautiful vintage clothes from the 1970s to 90s, handpicked in Italy and lovingly arrayed by colour, as well as jewellery and feathered carnival masks. No 81 displays new and vintage homeware, plus clothing, and there’s a rum bar downstairs for events and private parties. 40 Stoke Newington Road N16 7XJ; daily 11am–7pm;

106–108 Kingsland High Street E8 2NS,; Mon–Sat 10am–6pm, Sun 11am–5pm


Paper Dress Vintage Handpicked, high-quality secondhand clothes from the Victorian era to the 1980s. They also have a cute bar selling local beers, and regular music events in the intimate upstairs space: soul, vintage, rock’n’roll, blues and gypsy. 352a Mare Street E8 1HR,; Mon & Tues 10am–10pm, Wed & Sun 10am–11pm, Thurs 10am–midnight, Fri & Sat 10–1am

72 Shops + markets

Food For All Established in 1976, this not-for-profit business was a pioneer for veggie wholefoods in the area – and it’s still going strong. The key selling point is the druidic array of dried herbs, tinctures and superfoods. They also run yoga classes upstairs. 3 Cazenove Road N16 6PA, foodforall.; Mon–Fri 9am–6pm, Sat 10am– 6pm, Sun 11am–4pm Harvest Anyone with an interest in healthy eating should make a beeline for these two deli/ stores, which stock a fantastic range of organic groceries, toiletries and fresh fruit and veg. Their baking – with gluten and sugar-free options available – is superb. 130–132 Kingsland High Street E8 2NS, 172–174 Stoke Newington High Street N16 7JL; Mon–Sat 7am–1pm, Sun 9am–9pm

Isle of Olive This lovely small shop focuses on a few Greek products: olive oil, olives, honey, wild herbs and wine, plus a few natural beauty products. You can enjoy a pastry and a Greek coffee as you browse. 6 Ada Street E8 4QU,; Tues–Sat 10am–7pm, Sun 11am–6pm London Star Night Supermarket A rambling Asian store with hard-to-find goods such as Thai basil, rambutan and dragon fruit. Plus a huge range of oils, varieties of tofu, spring-roll wrappers and gaudily pretty paper lanterns, plastic flowers, chopsticks and bowls. 203–213 Mare Street E8 3QE; daily 10.30am–midnight Palm 2 This airy, wood-beamed shop has transformed a corner of Clapton into a community hub. There’s an excellent wine section as well as a deli, fruit and veg, fresh bread and cornershop classics. 152–156 Lower Clapton Road E5 0QJ,; Mon–Thurs & Sun 6.30am– midnight, Fri & Sat 6.30am–1am


Il Cudega A café/wine bar/deli specialising in food from Lombardy, the sweep of northern Italy from the Alps to the Po Valley. The name in Milanese dialect means pork scratching: they take their charcuterie – and cheeses – seriously here. All are imported from Lombardy – and you can purchase some little-known northern Italian vino. Railway Arch 358, Westgate Street E8 3RN,; daily 9am–6pm

Restoration Station A brilliant not-for-profit recycling service, where you can buy vintage furniture restored by recovering addicts. 118 Shoreditch High Street E1 6JN,; Thurs 12.30–8pm, Fri 9.30am–5pm Rouge You’ll find wonderful antique Chinese furniture in the basement here, gleaming with umpteen layers of lacquer. The fabrics and crockery upstairs are irresistible too. 58 Stoke Newington High Street N16 7JL,; Tues–Sat 11am– 6.30pm, Sun noon–5pm

Inside Hackney

With a city farm, umpteen playgrounds and several brilliantly imaginative learning projects, Hackney has plenty to keep kids happy. We’ve listed some favourite classes, places and experiences both indoors and out, including swimming, dancing, music, playing board games, reading and watersports. For more inspiration on entertaining children in the borough, check out Hackney WOW! (, a local guide made by kids for kids, and the excellent Hackney Pirates’ Guide to Hackney.





Inside Hackney

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden This community garden is a great retreat during half-terms and holidays, running art and design workshops inspired by nature and serving pizza from the wood-fired oven. The pumpkin-carving workshops at Halloween are a highlight – the lighting ceremony at the end as night falls is truly magical, the garden glimmering with carefully crafted lanterns. 13 Dalston Lane E8 3DF, dalstongarden. org; daily from 11am, till 11pm most nights in summer; free

Haggerston Park The undulating BMX track at Haggerston Park will keep bike-obsessed kids happy for hours. Goldsmiths Row E2 8QH; free, coaching sessions Sun 10am with Hackney BMX Club bikes £3 Laburnum Boat Club A youth club, open to young people aged 9 to 19, with canoeing and kayaking on Regent’s Canal as well as landlubber activities: arts and crafts, cooking, clambering on the climbing wall, table tennis and aeroball, a combination of basketball and trampolining. Families can try canoeing or narrowboating and spend quality time together in Family Club, and there are term-time classes for young people with disabilities. Laburnum Street E2 8BH, laburnumboat; during term time Tues & Wed 5–7pm, Sat 11–4pm; school holidays also Mon–Fri 10am–4pm; £2. Family Club Sun 10am–1pm; £2. Sports clubs for young people with disabilities during term time Mon & Thurs 4–7pm

Hackney City Farm Take a country break in the city at Haggerston’s Hackney City Farm, where kids can see and feed the animals and join an array of workshops, including baby music classes, pottery and meetings of the Woodcraft Folk. 1a Goldsmiths Row E2 8QA, hackney; Tues–Sun 10am–4.30pm; from £5 for classes

Swimming and diving Clissold Leisure Centre (p79) has a dedicated toddler pool, and a training pool for classes and family sessions. The Tom Daley Diving Academy is based at the London Aquatics Centre (p79), with lessons for kids and adults.

Hackney Wild Walks Download colourful walking guides devised for families by social enterprise Outdoor People, taking you on a series of unexpectedly wild rambles through the borough. Seek out a hidden snake sculpture, kite-flying spots and a mysterious castle.; free

West Reservoir Centre Take to the water at this surprisingly huge Stoke Newington reservoir and enjoy an open-water swim, plus sailing and kayaking classes for both kids and adults. The neighbouring east reservoir is a wetlands nature reserve. Green Lanes N4 2HA, leisure-centre/london/hackney

Ballet, singing and karate Clapton arts venue Chats Palace Ballet runs lessons by professional dancers from the C-12 Dance Theatre, singing sessions and Kenshukai karate classes. 42–44 Brooksby’s Walk E9 6DF,; ballet from £6.50, karate £8, singing £4 Draughts Café This Haggerston board games café, under the railway arches, has been a big hit with the grown-ups, and is crammed with families at weekends. Choose from literally hundreds of games on display at the far end, grab a drink and get playing – you can ask a friendly in-house ‘games guru’ for help if you’re stuck. 337 Acton Mews E8 4EA, draughts; Tues–Thurs 5–11pm, Fri 5pm–midnight, Sat 10am–midnight, Sun 11am–midnight; £5 adults, £3 children

Clissold Park Kid heaven, thanks to the animals: there’s an aviary, and an enclosure for deer, goats and chickens, as well as a summer butterfly dome, paddling pool, impressive playground, table-tennis tables and a skate park. Gillett Square pop-up playground While parents sip a coffee on the square, kids can run riot at this colourful and imaginative playground, built in different configurations for each session; see pic. Thurs–Sat 3.30–6.30pm Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park It’s well worth the trip to the outstanding Tumbling Bay playground, where you’ll find sand pits, treehouses, wobbly bridges, rock pools, slides and swings. Snake Park Round the back of Haggerston Station, this play area has a glittering mosaic snake winding through it, plus monkey bars, a sand pit, a three-person see-saw, hammocks and a trampoline. Victoria Park The BMX track and skate park is the main draw in this spacious park. You can cool off in the summer splash pool, pedalo or row on the pond in summer.

Hackney top five

Adrenalin Dance and Hackney Children’s Theatre An array of dance classes at St John at Hackney: romp and roll for toddlers, breakdance, contemporary dance and street moves. Hackney Children’s Theatre puts on monthly shows geared to children, also at St John at Hackney. St John at Hackney Church, Lower Clapton Road E5 0PD,,

Hackney top five: best play areas


Rainy days


Geffrye Museum The Geffrye Museum (p20) offers free events for children throughout the year, from baking classes to magic lessons to craft workshops. 136 Kingsland Road E2 8EA,


Hackney Picturehouse A great spot on a rainy Saturday morning and a brilliant way to start the weekend: blockbusters and classic children’s films are screened every week at the Kids’ Club. 270 Mare Street E8 1HE, picturehouses.; children aged 3–12; membership £4 a year, tickets for members and accompanying adults £1.50 Hoxton Hall A excellent array of free workshops: 7–13 year olds can learn to make puppets, dance hip-hop and join a band, while 7–19s can take drama classes with professional actors, perform in openmic nights and learn to produce and record music. 130 Hoxton Street N1 6SH,; free Monster Supplies Shop Styled as an old-fashioned confectioners, Monster Supplies sells deliciously creepy treats: glass jars filled with eyeball sweets, guts and garlic chutney, and organ marmalade. All proceeds go the Ministry of Stories (p85). 159 Hoxton Street N1 6PJ, monster; Tues–Fri 1–5pm, Sat 11am–5pm

Ship of Adventures The ship-shaped shop of brilliant literacy charity Hackney Pirates (p84), supporting their work. Browse Hackney guides and audio projects created by local children, and buy jewellery handmade by HP volunteers, ethical gifts and kids’ books. There’s also a zero-waste café. 138 Kingsland High Street E8 2NS;

Tea + a Gig A monthly morning series of acoustic gigs for parents and babies held in the Old Church in Stokey, with an eclectic mix of talented and emerging world, jazz and folk musicians from the London music scene. The Old Church, Stoke Newington Church Street N16 9ES, soundscreativeprojects.; first Tues, 11am

Inside Hackney

With more than its fair share of green spaces, Hackney is a great place to work out in the fresh air. There’s a good choice of leisure centres too, plus alternative options if you’d rather swing or climb your way to fitness. Whether you want to kick a ball, have a run, dance or pump some weights, these listings should send you in the right direction. Yoga fans will find plenty of choice to get their om on, and swimmers can dive into the Olympic pool or the London Fields lido. We’ve also included holistic health options, a Turkish hamam and a hairdresser, to help you look and feel good.


Health + wellbeing


Work out Go to to book a tennis court in one of the borough’s beautiful parks. You’ll find skate parks at Clissold Park and Victoria Park.

Health + wellbeing

British Military Fitness If your idea of fun is being shouted at outdoors as you’re put through some strenuous paces, this could be for you. Team games, circuits and strength exercises increase your fitness fast; classes are geared to varying abilities. Royal Gate East, Victoria Park E9 7HJ,; Mon 7pm, Wed 7.30pm, Sat 8.45am; from £38 monthly Castle Climbing Centre Based in a brilliantly eccentric castlelike folly (a Victorian pumping station redesigned in the 1990s by Nicholas Grimshaw, architect of the Eden Project), Castle Climbing features varied bouldering surfaces and more than 450 roped and led routes from 8 to 13m high. There’s also a beautiful organic garden and an excellent café here (p41). Green Lanes N4 2HA, castle-climbing.; Mon–Fri noon–10pm, Sat & Sun 9am–7pm; £12.50

Good Gym A running club with a mission – you meet up in London Fields and run with a group across the borough to carry out various community assignments – gardening at

a primary school for example, or helping an estate to maintain its communal areas. Another option is to be assigned a ‘coach’ – an older person who motivates you to run: the idea is that you run to meet them, bringing groceries, and stay for a chat. Meet Tues 6.45pm Superfit Gym, 406 Mentmore Terrace E8 3PH, www.goodgym. org/areas/hackney Hackney Wick Boulder Project What was the Space nightclub is now a small climbing centre. It makes a good and undaunting place to, quite literally, learn the ropes. 117 Wallis Road E9 5LN,; Mon, Wed & Fri 11.30am−10pm, Tues & Thurs 6.30am −10pm, Sat & Sun 10am−7pm; £10, £7.50 off-peak

Football Aspiring footballers can now join a local squad: Hackney Wick FC. As well as the first team there are options for players of all ages and abilities, and women and girls are very welcome. Read all about the project and its founder Bobby Kasanga on p27. Players are encouraged to help with community projects. Hackney Marsh The marsh has more than eighty pitches (football, rugby and cricket) and a great history of Sunday league football: Bobby Moore, Terry Venables and David Beckham have all played here. Book pitches through the weathered steel Hackney Marshes Centre, where there are changing rooms and a café. Homerton Road E9 5PF, leisure-centre/london/hackney/ hackney-marshes, hackneyand to join a team

London Aquatics Centre Swim like a champ in Zaha Hadid’s glorious wave-shaped Olympic creation. There’s a 50m competition pool, a training pool and a dive pool, plus a gym. Olympic Park E20 2ZQ, londonaquatics; daily 6am–10.30pm; £4.95

Britannia Shoreditch centre with a gym, swimming pool, 5-a-side football, climbing wall and netball and squash courts. 40 Hyde Road N1 5JU, leisure-centre/london/hackney/ britannia-leisure-centre; Mon–Fri 7am–10pm, Sat & Sun 8am–8pm

London FIelds Lido This immaculately restored 50m 1930s lido is a gorgeous spot for an open-air swim. It’s gently heated in winter, and open late for atmospheric evening dips. London Fields West Side E8 3EU, hackney.; daily 6.30am– 9pm; £4.80

Clissold Impressive modern facility with two great pools plus gym, squash court, creche and a range of fitness classes. 63 Clissold Road N16 9EX, leisure-centre/london/hackney/clissoldleisure-centre; Mon–Fri 6.30am–10pm, Sat 8am–7pm, Sun 8am–5pm

Paddleboarding with Supkiko All we can say is – why not? It’s moderately strenuous but relaxing, and a great way to get close to the canal boats. The Supkiko tutors litterpick as they travel. Hackney Wick, 07854 985007, supkiko.; from £35

Yoga Light Yoga Space An attractive De Beauvoir warehouse space focusing on Sivananda: classical hatha yoga plus breathing exercises and relaxation. Drop-in all-ability classes. 100 De Beauvoir Road N1 4EN,; £14 drop-in

Kings Hall Built of Portland stone in 1897, historic Kings Hall was once a public bathhouse. There’s a gym, sauna and steam room, sports hall and a once-grand swimming pool, now a bit down-at-heel, with a wrought-iron balcony. 39 Lower Clapton Road E5 0NU, better. kings-hall-leisure-centre; Mon–Fri 6.30am–10pm, Sat & Sun 8am–8pm Queensbridge Sport and Community Centre Small centre with a sports hall and dance studio; they run zumba, yoga and pilates classes. 30 Holly Street E8 3XW, leisure-centre/london/hackney/queensbridge-sport-and-community-centre; Mon–Fri 9am–10pm, Sat 9am–6pm, Sun 10am–6pm SPACe Good all-round sports facilities just off Kingsland Road: you’ll find basketball, 5-a-side football and badminton courts, plus a gym and yoga and dance classes. 31 Falkirk Street N1 6HQ,; Mon–Fri 7.30am–10pm, Sat & Sun 9am–7pm

Hackney top five

Hackney top five: leisure centres


Swimming + paddleboarding


TripSpace Projects TripSpace is an innovative dance and yoga studio underneath a Haggerston railway arch teaching professional dance and every type of yoga imaginable. Arches 339–340, Acton Mews E8 4EA,; classes from £12

Health + wellbeing

Yoga Home Long-established yoga studios with special classes to help with labour and birth; they also offer pilates, meditation and dance for kids, plus shiatsu and acupuncture. 11 Allen Road N16 8SB,; £14 drop-in

Feel good Dalston Ballet Super-experimental art, dance and music production, exploring persona and boundaries. Musicians, artists, dancers and filmmakers should ring their bell; to find out more see p87. Hamam Ignore the insalubrious-looking exterior – this is an authentic hamam in the heart of Dalston, complete with a marble steam room that transports you to Istanbul (well, almost). Full-body scrubs, foam treatments and highly recommended massages. 4a Crossway N16 8HX, 020 7249 5554,; women Mon, Wed & Sat 10am–10pm, men Tues, Thurs, Fri & Sun noon–3am; from £20 Holistic Health A great variety of treatments and therapies, from podiatry to hypnotherapy, massage to relationship and sex counselling, plus yoga, mat pilates and meditation classes. Their vouchers make a good local gift. 64 Broadway Market E8 4QJ, holistic; treatments from £50

Stepping Stones Tucked in the basement of St Peter De Beauvoir, Stepping Stones offers affordable acupuncture, where you receive treatments in a multibed treatment room. It still feels totally discreet and private, and the effects of the needles are extraordinary, for a range of issues and symptoms. Other therapies offered here include massage, craniosacral therapy, reflexology and pulsing. St Peter De Beauvoir, Northchurch Terrace N1, 020 7249 5554,; Tues 4–8pm & Fri 9.30–1.30pm; £25–45 Studio 90 Sunlit hair salon in a handsome De Beauvoir warehouse, with a thoughtful approach to your haircutting desires. Appointment only; 90 De Beauvoir Road N1 4EN, 020 3714 2987 or 07584 354740,; women cut and finish £55, men £40


Try a bike for a month for only


Inside Hackney

Hackney Cycle Loan Scheme *Also includes lock, lights and helmet. Options include foldable bikes and child trailers HDS3113

83 82 Inside Hackney Advertorial If you’ve never been to Hackney Community College, you’ll be amazed to set foot inside the campus.Tucked into the corner between Hoxton Street, Hoxton Square and Kingsland Road, you’ll discover a haven of peace, a hive of activity and a learning environment that’s second to none. Landscaped across 7 acres, the campus boasts industry standard workshops, studios, kitchens and other specialist facilities (alongside over 100 classrooms) to make sure that students are getting the best preparation for their future success. You may know the SPACe sports and performing arts centre on Falkirk Street or Open Kitchen Bar & Restaurant on Hoxton Street – but did you know it’s part of your local college?

Whether you’re a teenager – or their parent – looking for a great range of A Levels, or a budding chef, sportsperson, games designer, fashion designer or another Hackney success story, take a look into HCC. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. HCC holds regular open events and shows, or you can drop in and speak to a course adviser. Or even join the gym! The college runs run sixth form and adult courses, apprenticeships and work training – and a whole lot more!, 020 7613 9123 Hackney Community College is part of the New City College Group – a dynamic group of three colleges across East London.

Inside Hackney

Hackney has always combined a warm heart with a rebel spirit. Diverse but largely harmonious, the borough has an inspiring sense of community. Whether your own interests lie in cooking, planting, languages, music or teaching, this section details some of the countless opportunities available to use your skills, hone them and get involved with the people around you. We also describe some community venues, projects and classes here; for art classes see p63, for dance classes go to p80 and for film clubs see p58. Hackney pacifists might like to know that the international peace symbol was adopted in the borough in 1958, at what was the Peace News office on Blackstock Road.


Our Hackney



Our Hackney

Bags of Taste Cooking classes for Hackney residents on a low budget. Alicia Weston of the Parkholme Supper Club (p45) and her team teach people how to create tasty and nutritious meals which cost less than £1 each. Volunteer to help pack ingredients, or to assist with the classes.

East London Food Access A brilliantly simple idea: ELFA staff head to New Spitalfields Market in Leyton to buy bargain fruit and vegetables, which they then sell at cost price on Hackney estates and at primary schools. Volunteer stallholders, delivery people and drivers are welcome. Echo Echo is a marketplace without money, where East London people and businesses can trade anything from graphic design and business advice to cooking lessons and bike fixing, all without spending a penny. Instead, they use a currency called Echoes, where 1 Echo = 1 hour. They also run a business accelerator programme called Echo++.

Hackney Migrant Centre This small charity continues Hackney’s centuries-old tradition of welcoming people from around the world; they offer legal support, friendship and food to vulnerable migrants. Volunteers help prepare the weekly lunch, or are trained in advocacy and advisory skills. Speaking another language is a bonus but not essential. Hackney Pirates A truly imaginative literacy programme, with one-to-one lessons held in a Kingsland Road building kitted out like a galleon. Volunteers – who receive a 3hr training session – read with kids and help with publishing projects; goals are to promote literacy, confidence and perseverance. You can also support the project by buying gifts from the shop. Hackney Winter Night Shelter From January to March, this wonderful project provides beds for the homeless, as church halls around the borough take it in turns to feed and host people for a night. Volunteers work in shifts, either cooking, setting up, welcoming guests and eating with them, staying overnight or clearing up in the morning. Headway East London A canalside day centre for people with acquired brain injuries. Service users come from fourteen boroughs to cook and eat, socialise, garden, receive physical therapy, make art and tell their stories with the help of a writer in residence. You can volunteer with no specific skills if you’d like to find out more about brain injury, or use your abilities to help with particular aspects of nurture and care.

Hackney top five: community gardens

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden An inspiring slice of greenery in urban Dalston on the old Eastern Curve railway line. There’s a café, a pizza oven, abundant veg and herb beds and a fantastic programme of cultural and craft events. 13 Dalston Lane E8 3DF,; daily 11am–dusk (11pm in summer); volunteer Sat 2–6pm

Nest Collective This music collective supports British folk and world music, recording folk song and organising concerts and campfire gigs. Volunteer to stoke the fire, promote events or work as an intern to gain experience in the music industry. North London Action for the Homeless An excellent small charity that feeds the homeless and vulnerable twice a week at St Paul’s West Hackney church hall. Food comes from donations and from the kitchen garden, which is tended by service users. Volunteers help to prepare food, serve meals, eat and talk with service users, and wash and clear up.

Hoxton Community Garden Streetside garden with a hollow caused by a World War Two bomb. It’s maintained by Hoxton Trust volunteers and has a butterfly farm under the clock tower, fruit trees and a wigloo (willow shelter) for kids. 156 Hoxton Street N1 6SH,; daily dawn–dusk St Mary’s Secret Garden With head-high veg, flowers and herbs and a row of busy beehives, this garden provides training and a nurturing environment for people with learning difficulties. It is dotted with mesostic poems created by local kids with the Ministry of Stories (see opposite). 50 Pearson Street E2 8EL,; Mon–Fri 9am–5pm West Hackney Rec Ground This spacious garden features playgrounds, a stone labyrinth laid into the grass and a community kitchen garden. Evering Road N16 7PX,; daily dawn–dusk

Hackney top five

Cordwainers Garden This strip of land at the fashion college has been turned into a great veg garden, where there are plant and seed sales, workshops and dig days. London College of Fashion, 182 Mare Street E8 3RE,; open for events only


Ministry of Stories With founders including the writer Nick Hornby, the Ministry is a creative writing and literacy centre in Hoxton which brings together Hackney’s artistic professionals with local children. Volunteer-led workshops and writing projects aim to set imaginations free. A wacky monsterthemed store (p76) helps fund the project.

Yumi ‘Gar writes text for me to sing – he is a genius. My music is not pre-composed – I might play my electric harp, an African djembe drum or a honky-tonky piano. I also use toy pianos and found objects. I watch the dancers as I play in order to synchronise with them. Normally dancers learn music, and then music becomes the background. I am not interested in providing accompaniment or being in the background! We’ve done site-specific works, for example at Charing Cross Hospital, around a Henry Moore sculpture and a Japanese pond. We do conscious cultural appropriation, in a very obvious way – it challenges us as a diverse group of artists: African, Indian, Afro American, Chinese and Japanese. We cross-appropriate, and sometimes we culturally appropriate our own culture. I myself know nothing

of traditional Japanese culture. But I appropriate it. It’s so wrong it somehow becomes right!’ Gar ‘Some of the stories I write for Dalston Ballet are narratives, and some are more abstract. I am delving into the idea of individuality and archetypes, whether Jungian, from tarot cards or from our storytelling traditions. My archetypes include the hero, the dark lord, the princess, the artist as hero and the witch. Often I’m in the piece filming it, like a crazy drone. Because I can’t afford a drone! The materials generated from our performances – film and photographs – become part of our art, and may feed back into our performances. We have performed at venues including the Ace Hotel, Hackney Showroom and Vogue Fabrics. Each piece is different because we are never sure who will take part. I see the uncertainty like the shuffling of the tarot pack, waiting to see which characters will surface. As well as cultural appropriation we also do gender appropriation – for example the princess archetype is played by a man. We’re looking for new theatre and gallery spaces to perform in, and we’d love more people to join us. We have a professional ballet dancer in the group, but we’re also interested in people who dance at clubs, and people who can’t dance at all.’

Inside Hackney

Dalston Ballet was founded by Gar O’Dwyer, a curator, film-maker, photographer and painter behind prolific venture the House of O’Dwyer. Bored with making video portraits, he decided to venture out of the visual realm and embrace physicality. Dalston Ballet was formed, with visiting associate artists performing and playing characters conjured by Gar. One of his regular collaborators is Yumi Hara, a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist with, amongst others, The Artaud Beats, an avant rock improv band. We met up with Gar and Yumi in Hackney Wick.


Inside Hackney: Dalston Ballet


RAPt RAPt (Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust) works to help people with drug and alcohol dependence. Volunteer as a mentor, or help with admin and fundraising. Drop into the friendly centre adjoining Trew Era (p41) to find out more.

Our Hackney

St Joseph’s Hospice St Joseph’s is all about providing excellent end-of-life care, and the focus is very much on living as fully as possible. You can volunteer to help with exercise and art classes, or assist with fundraising. Mare Street, London E8 4SA, Tree Musketeers Award-winning grassroots network of volunteers who look after Hackney’s trees: planting, watering, mulching and propping them up. TMs also run guided tree walks, help manage the Hackney Community Tree Nursery on Hackney Marsh and publish the Hackney Tree Calendar. Volunteer Centre Hackney VCH have been placing local residents into volunteer roles for twenty years. They have hundreds of volunteer opportunities with local charities to suit your skills and interests, whether you want to be a dogwalker for an elderly person or a trustee. You can search online or meet with a trained advisor to talk through options. 020 7241 4443,

Community groups Dalston Darlings Dalston’s branch of the WI, with talks on politics, literature, the arts and fashion, plus craft events, outings and a book club. Duke of Wellington, Balls Pond Road N1 4BL,; first Wed of the month 7–9.30pm,

Growing Communities Award-winning Growing Communities is an organic project in every sense. With deep roots in the Hackney community, they run a successful veg box scheme as well as nurturing three market gardens and the brilliant Patchwork Farm, where scraps of urban Hackney land are transformed into micro gardens. Volunteer, visit, or just buy their beautiful seasonal fruit and veg. They also run the Saturday Farmers’ Market in Stoke Newington (p69). Lunch Clubs The council funds sixteen lunch clubs for people 55 and over. Extra activities include t’ai chi, bingo and tea dances, plus there are services such as chiropody and computer training sessions. Posh Club Hackney’s over-60s show the rest of the borough how to party at the brilliant Posh Club, with high tea and high jinks. Cabaret acts include Bollywood dancers, flappers, acrobats and black, Chinese and white Elvises. Advanced booking essential. St Paul’s West Hackney, cnr Stoke Newington Road & Amhurst Road N16 7UY,; Wed noon–4pm; £4

Hackney Bike Workshop Volunteer-run workshops that show you how to fix your bike – rather than fix it for you. The drop-in workshops are free, but you need to bring your own parts. 7–9pm 1st & 3rd Tues of the month at Hackney City Farm, 1a Goldsmiths Row E2 8QA; 2nd Wed of the month at Round Chapel, Powerscroft Road, E5 0PU; Hackney Empire Community Choir From the London Olympics opening ceremony to appearances at the Royal Albert Hall, this is a dynamic, diverse and ambitious group, with a wide musical repertoire. There is a no-audition policy – everyone is welcome regardless of ability. Friday rehearsal; donation of £5 per session; Hackney Herbal Run by Cordwainers Grow on Mare Street, Hackney Herbal connects people with

Hackney Voices Choir This popular community choir sings songs from the varied traditions of Africa, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Spain and the Caribbean, as well as British/Celtic folk and original arrangements of classic pop songs. 42–44 Brooksby’s Walk E9 6DF,; Thurs 7.45–9.45pm; £10 London House Cats Choir LHCC is a unique contemporary choir using house music at its core. The choir is geared towards experienced and advanced singers, and industry-standard vocal training is embedded into every session. They rehearse in Tottenham, but run day workshops at Servant Jazz Quarters. Made in Hackney Cooking classes with an emphasis on vegan and sustainable food, mostly held in Stoke Newington in the same building as Food For All (p72). Masterclasses, including ‘wild food cookery’, help fund community cooking projects.; masterclasses £75 Vox Voices A course of relaxed and playful vocal workshops, with body percussion, movement and world, folk and jazz melodies. Currently held at Green House N16, Vox Voices is about the joy of collective sound and exploring improvisation. For all singers and would-be singers, regardless of experience or talent.

Our Hackney

East London Piano Collective This collective of inspiring teachers hosts classes at St John at Hackney and Netil House. Classes are for adults or children. St John at Hackney, Lower Clapton Road E5 0PD/Netil House, 1–7 Westgate Street E8 3RL, 07876 271909, eastlondonpiano.; 30min £22, 1hr, £43

herbs. Their excellent workshops give tuition in growing herbs, herbal cosmetics and plant-inspired remedies. The new Hackney Blends project will support gardening groups to grow, harvest and blend herbal tea.; from £20


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With over 20 years’ experience and a network of offices in north and east London, we can provide you with unrivalled market knowledge and local expertise. Whether you are looking to sell, let or buy a property in the local area, we can help. For a free valuation, contact us now. Victoria Park: 020 3222 5555 81 Lauriston Road, Victoria Park, London E9 7HJ Hackney: 020 7241 4111 305 Kingsland Road, Hackney, London E8 4EG

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Since 1982, Hackney Cooperative Developments CIC (HCD) has sought to empower local people and organisations throughout the borough by delivering community engagement, basic skills training, managed workspace and social enterprise advice. Supported by UBS, we helped set up more than thirty new social enterprises and assisted forty others with growth or turnaround during the past four years. In October 2016, HCD launched the UK’s first local Mark for high performing social enterprises achieving local impact, awarding it to social enterprises such as Bootstrap, Shoreditch Trust, Black Cat CafÊ and Hackney Playbus. In 2017 and 2018 we are offering up to five days support for social enterprises needing help with start-up, growth or

conversion. Plus a day of advanced support for potential Mark-holders. Call 0207 254 4829 or email Hackney One-Day Conference Social Enterprise in the Inner City Wednesday 1 November 2017 Hackney House, 27 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3LT

Inside Hackney  
Inside Hackney  

Our second edition, exploring the best borough in London