There was once a time when Bethnal Green wasn’t the area for hanging out at late at night. Now however, it’s full of hip little bars, cool corner pubs and fab wine bars. But some of them are pretty hidden behind the street art and east London grime. We show you where to look.
Bar, Gastropub, Pub Grub, $$$
The Birdcage in Bethnal Green is one of a small chain of London pubs who take ‘cellaring seriously’. By that they mean that they serve a fab range of craft ales and lager, plenty of pie and mash, and they also have a decent mixologist in house to conjure up all manner of spirits. The décor is East End Victorian – think repurposed Tube tiles and plenty of dark wood but their welcome is nothing less than 21st century – laidback and warm.
Bethnal Green Working Mens Club
Gastropub, Nightclub, Pub Grub, none
Perhaps no other bar has had a bigger impact on the area than this one – which opened up decades ago, in what was a sort of beyond-the-pale part of Shoreditch. It’s been a working men’s club since 1887, it’s just the weekly events are now a little racier, funnier and wilder than before. The Workers Arms pub is open from Wednesday to Sunday with cask ales, proper pub food (chips and gravy?) and a weekly pub quiz.
Gastropub, Pub, Pub Grub, Vegetarian, none
Slap bang on Colombia Road, often hidden behind the flower market, is the Royal Oak. It’s a proper East End boozer that’s been given some modern love and serves up top notch bar snacks (possibly the best Scotch eggs in east London) as well as local pints and a great selection of gins. The beer garden out back is a popular spot for local celebs to hole up in.
The London Cocktail Club Bethnal Green
Cocktail Bar, Pub Grub, none
The newest incarnation of the London chain, the London Cocktail Club, The London Cocktail Club Bethnal Green brings its brand of Victorian chic meets mixologist vibe to east London. Rockeoke, late night sips sponsored by brands, happy hours and endless events make this always a fun place for a quick one (it’s never just one though, is it?).
The Star of Bethnal Green
Pub, Pub Grub, Vegetarian, none
The Star of Bethnal Green really does live up to its name. This was one of the first craft beer/hipster pubs to open in the area and has been rocking weekends ever since. Known for its Bank Holiday blowouts and barbeques as much as for its awesome drinks selection, the Star of Bethnal Green is the pub you’ve always wanted and never knew you needed. The Victorian corner pub has been given a mismatched upcycling vibe on the inside but isn’t so cool that it won’t show sports.
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Pub Grub, none
Perfect for a pitstop on the way home from work, Verge is all things to all people – cocktails, decent wine and craft beers from Shoreditch, Hackney and Camden. It somehow pulls off the ease of a neighbourhood joint but doesn’t scrimp on the small details or the charm.
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Pub, Pub Grub, Italian, French, $$$
It’s easy to walk past Satan’s Whiskers – there’s a small red neon sign that’s almost embarrassed to be there. Inside though you’ll find a cocktail bar that thinks it’s a neighbourhood pub – it’s dark, charming and surprisingly friendly. That doesn’t impact on the cocktails which are seriously impressive. Order up the namesake, which has Italian Vermouth, French Vermouth, Gin and Orange Juice, Grand Marnier and Orange Bitters and revel in your new drinking den.
Sager + Wilde
Wine Bar, European, Vegetarian, British, $$$
Sager + Wilde
’s Bethnal Green haunt is a minimalist pantheon to natural and organic wines with an extensive and ever changing wine list that has seen it rated amongst the best wine bars
in London. Bar food is elevated to almost Michelin star presentation too. Did we mention the extensive cocktail list?