London’s tech and entrepreneurship scene
is booming, and ‘Silicon Roundabout’ – the startup cluster in London’s EC1V and N1 postcodes centred around Old Street tube station and City Road – is its epicentre. From coffee shops to co-working spots
, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the best of Tech City.
Entrepreneurial hot spots
With a strong community to show you the way and strong coffee to start the journey, Campus London is Google’s free space for London’s start-up community. The building serves as a central locus for London entrepreneurs, organising free events and workshops and hosting Campus Residency, a six month programme for high-potential start-ups focused on machine learning. The ground floor coffee shop is open to the public, but get there early – seats are picked off quickly by innovators and VCs looking to spot the next big thing. Co-working spot Central Working, seed fund Seedcamp, entrepreneurship community TechHub and accelerator program Techstars also occupy the building, making Campus a truly one-stop-shop for London’s cutting edge innovators.
Operating co-working spaces in the Google Campus building as well as its own standalone space on nearby Ropemaker St, TechHub is a London-based global entrepreneurship community at the centre of London’s Silicon Roundabout.
WeWork Old St
Located just off Silicon Roundabout, Old Street’s WeWork office space is home to entrepreneurs working on early-stage ideas and established businesses looking to expand their approach. The co-working community attracts companies of all shapes and sizes, and the site is perfectly situated in the heart of the Tech City buzz.
A post-accelerator centre for startups and entrepreneurs to grow and expand their business from UCL Engineering, CISCO’s incubator and capital enterprise group and EDF Energy Innovation.
Second Home Spitalfields
A stunning co-working space in the heart of East London’s creative cluster, Second Home sits just on the outskirts off Tech City, near to Brick Lane. The space hosts a carefully curated and connected community made up of teams from a diverse range of industries including charities, corporates, creative businesses and innovators such as Kickstarter.
Best coffee shops
Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, British, $$$
Occupying an honoured spot on Old Street Roundabout since 2011, Shoreditch Grind is a local landmark. Equipped with an upstairs recording studio that’s hosted the likes of Tinie Tempah and Sam Smith, the Grind has a full kitchen serving food, cocktails and coffee. Complete with exposed brick walls, neon signs and a great playlist, the Grind counts London’s coolest entrepreneurs among its patrons.
Ozone Coffee Roasters
Cafe, British, $$$
Offering breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, coffee and drinks, Ozone is a trendy spot for brunch, coffee or a meal. The street-level floor can get a little crowded, but if you head down to the largely unfurnished basement (where the beans are roasted) you’re in better luck of finding somewhere to sit. Once you’ve found somewhere to rest your weary body, you’re in for great coffee and culinary delights, including ‘slow-brew’ specials like Kenyan peaberry coffee. The food is also great, from eggs benedict to bucatini pasta with merguez sausage, shredded zucchini, chilli and garlic. There’s a great wine list, too.
Look Mum, No Hands!
Cafe, British, $$$
A café, bar and bicycle workshop for fixie riding entrepreneurs with a passion for flat whites and cycling, Look Mum, No Hands! sells coffee, breakfast, and its own branded products for those who wish to take a piece of this iconic Old Street coffee shop with them. Open for lunch and breakfast, the café serves an array of comfort food such as toasted banana bread with homemade cinnamon butter.
Cafe, British, $$$
Nestled amongst the curry houses, pop-up stores and galleries of the vibrant Brick Lane, Kahaila is a snug wooden cocoon of delicious smells. Its homespun, distressed wood interiors match the simple but generous food and drink offered, sourced from local suppliers. Kahaila is also a hub for the local art scene, with featured artworks displayed and sold in the shop and a wide range of artistic events including alcohol-free dance parties, art launches, cinema clubs and regular BYOB music, spoken word and poetry nights. It’s all fairly guilt free and the coffeeshop even channels all its profits back into the local community.
Where to Shop
Even entrepreneurs need a break. Head to Boxpark, Shoreditch’s trendy pop-up mall made of repurposed shipping containers great for independent and global fashion and lifestyle stores and cafés.
Brick Lane Market
Selling everything from vintage clothes, accessories and jewellery to music, arts and crafts, Brick Lane is an east London staple. Food trucks dominate the street seven days a week, while the Boiler House Food Hall, the Tea Rooms, the Backyard Market, the Sunday UpMarket, and the Vintage Market surround the Old Truman Brewery, meaning you’re spoiled for choice.
A six-block stretch of east London home to some of the city’s coolest design-led stores, cafés and restaurants including home goods shop Labour and Wait, cult beauty brand Aesop, design-store-meets-coffee shop Modern Society and Barbour and Parlour, our favourite hairdresser/all-day coffee and food shop with its own basement cinema.
Where to stay
A branch of the internationally renowned Soho House group, Shoreditch House delivers a slice of salubrious Soho in stereotypically Shoreditch packaging. Guests staying in the hotel have access to the restaurant and the members’ workspaces. Entrepreneurs associated with traditionally creative industries will be drawn to the space as the venue focuses on attracting guests with common interests so that a sense of community flourishes.
M by Montcalm London Shoreditch Tech City
Boutique Hotel, Suite Hotel
Just three minutes’ walk from Old Street tube and train station, M by Montcalm London Shoreditch Tech City is not only well placed for exploring Shoreditch, it’s also in prime position for transport connections to venture around the rest of the capital.
Ace Hotel Shoreditch
Boutique Hotel, Suite Hotel
Just five minutes’ walk from Shoreditch High Street Overground station, and barely ten minutes from Old Street tube and train station, the Ace Hotel is well connected by public transport. Communal tables by the bar in the lobby are great for getting work done, while basement venue Miranda hosts live music and DJ sets. Popular Indian restaurant Dishoom Shoreditch is just one minute’s walk from the hotel.
Boutique Hotel, Chain Hotel
Ten minutes from Shoreditch High Street and five minutes from Old Street, The Hoxton offers rooms with beautiful modern interiors, balanced with traditional quilted furniture.