A zero-waste restaurant, a talked-out hotel and a string of buzzing breweries lends this small cobbled stretch a big profile in the East End of London.
While Hackney proper began its transformation into one of London’s hippest hoods some time ago, its little Wick sister was largely left to languish in urban decay. That was until 2012, when London’s Olympics supercharged the area’s regeneration. Today, among the repurposed warehouses you’ll find a great collection of places to eat and drink – especially along its brewery-hotspot White Post Lane. It still clings on to plenty of its quintessential East London grit, albeit with a little more polish and some pretty swanky places to stay nearby.
Nothing typifies the area’s ascent more than the good-looking Gantry. This buzzed-about stay soars above Stratford with a ground-floor grocer leading up to a restaurant, various lounges and panoramic rooftop bar as it spirals up over 18 floors. Part of Hilton’s boutique Curio Collection, it’s big on partnering with local businesses, including Jealous Gallery in Shoreditch, whose artworks are etched throughout the hotel. If you’re here to explore Hackney Wick, it’s only a short hurdle away across Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
During its derelict decades, the Lord Napier pub became one of the most graffiti-scrawled buildings on White Post Lane – even by Hackney Wick standards. Since reopening, its facade has kept plenty of its colour, while inside a thoroughly gorgeous makeover has made it virtually unrecognisable as the barebones boozer of old. There are lots of different nooks and snugs to explore, as well as a rooftop perfect for summer drinks with views. Pop-up kitchens provide regularly changing menus, while their Sunday roast has a reputation for generous portions.
Just opposite The Yard is something no self-respecting hip neighbourhood can be without: a craft beer brewery and taproom. Howling Hops Brewery is not only that but claims to be the UK’s first dedicated tank bar – a bar where beer is poured directly from the tank to glass. Tank beers are changed regularly and always freshly brewed, while long benches give a rough-and-ready beer-hall feel to the place. Feeling peckish? Grab an arepa or two from adjoining Colombian street-food purveyors, Maize Blaze.
Proudly billed as a zero-waste restaurant, Silo certainly takes its commitment to sustainability seriously. Everything is reused, recycled or composted so that literally nothing ends up in the bin. Their pre-industrial approach to cooking keeps ingredients as pure as possible, with much of it produced onsite – they even have their own flour mill. To top it all, the food is outstanding. Opt for the tasting menu with wine pairing for a real treat.
The brewing part of this brewery takes place in a big converted warehouse with repurposed-pallet seating, bedspring lighting and much of its industrial aesthetics intact. It’s part of the canal-side White Building – where you’ll also find Silo – so you can pick your spot next to the water and enjoy the marriage of locally loved stone-baked pizzas with your pick of IPA, lager, cider or pale ale. Alternatively, book your table on the Alfred Le Roy canal barge and floating cocktail bar.
The Arawak people invented the word barbecue, and the Wadadli Kitchen proudly celebrates this pre-colonial Caribbean cuisine, albeit in a typical East London industrial estate. The restaurant is a welcome burst of colour and flora, where you can really indulge your inner carnivore with the likes of curry goat finished with dark chocolate. Vegans are well catered for, too – curried mushrooms and spit-roast veg are both winners – plus there are some pretty out-there drinks to sample. Pohjala Cocobanger is one: a stout made with coconut and coffee.
Just across the River Lea from Hackney Wick, this towering glass-fronted hotel is a powerful symbol of the area’s regeneration. It’s also a rather fabulous place to stay. A calming contemporary elegance permeates throughout guest rooms, combined with luxury-level amenities like organic Ren toiletries, waffle robes and Egyptian cotton sheets. Top eating options include Terrace E20 with its pizza oven, retractable roof and fire pit, or there’s the Kitchen E20 which delivers inventive dishes with a touch of theatre.
A lot has gone into reflecting the colourful, creative vibe of its Stratford setting at this smart chain hotel. Communal areas are scattered with quirky culture-reffing curios, comfy seating and chatty signage. The bar doubles as a check-in desk, where you can pick up a complimentary craft cocktail with your key. Compact tech-forward rooms have ports in all the right places, plus high-thread-count bedding and premium toiletries. Splash out for a terrace with cityscape views.
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