B2 is a new retail store specialising in selected brands of urban toys, clothing, street art, books and magazines. The shop also houses the UK's first manga library, filled with Japanese language manga books - the store told me that English language books will be arriving January 2008.
B2 is part of Bodhi gallery and cafe. The gallery has a fast turn around of contemporary art shows. It's turning into a nice cultural centre of art, food and shopping.
B2 / Bodhi
214 Brick Lane, London E1 6SA
t. 020 7749 0750
tube: Liverpool St, Aldgate East, Bethnal Green.
A fantastic curry restaurant, hidden away a few minutes walk from Old St tube station.
Stumbled upon it a few years ago and have been a regular ever since. A great range of traditional Indian food prepared with the best ingredients - mouth wateringly tender meat, delicious mango chutney with cracked black pepper and slivers of chili, even the garnishes are prepared with care and taste delicious.
Attentive, friendly service, the best peshwari naan bread I've ever tasted. Reasonably priced, and due to its location off the main Shoreditch drag it's bizzarely easy to get a table despite how amazing this place is.
20 City Road, London, EC1Y 2AJ, 020 7374 4842, Old St. tube.
I've been eating here for over 10 years. It's a great family-run restaurant. Always busy (worth booking), yet the service has been consistently friendly. Stands out against fierce competition in the area.
Really good range of Handis, particularly the Green Chicken Handi.
Search out Monica Ali's review in The Observer.
73 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, London SE22 8EP. 0871 426 3062.
Situated right next to the city and the bars, cafes and markets of Spitalfields and Brick Lane, the location is ideal. Tube station right next door also. Rooms are basic, but spotless, clean and comfortable. For £65/night at the weekend it's a bargain. Unusually for a hotel, the bar is buzzing and comfortable. The staff are so friendly. Definitely worth checking out.
Commercial Street, E1. Aldgate East tube station.
While the top end of Brick Lane is firmly the preserve of the East London hipsteratti, even the wall to wall curry houses (with their questionable Time Out Eating accolades) at the other end seem to be receiving contemporary makeovers these days. That this traditional pub just tucked away on Heneage Street has managed to avoid the wrath of the makeover criminals remains something of a miracle. A veritable oasis amidst the noisy buzz of Brick Lane and the nearby corporate dazzle of the City of London, it’s like stepping into a cosy family-run boozer in a friendly little country village.
Heneage Street (just off Brick Lane towards the Whitechapel end)
Still the best Indian restaurant in London, specialist in grilled meats - chicken tikka, lamb chops. Been going since it was still a cafe without a menu, and nobody seemed to speak English. Now the waiters have microphones to co-ordinate with the kitchen! Amazingly though, quality is as high as ever. Look at the reviews - almost unanimously called 'The best Indian in England'.
83 Fieldgate Street, London, E1 1JU;
tel: 020 7247 6400
nearest tube: Aldgate East, Whitechapel;
South Indian food of the highest quality. Be prepared to queue as this place is very busy with locals.
They do 6ft dosas! Try their Chilli fried idli with lemon rice - my favourite. The food is spicy but really tasty - and it is cheap cheap cheap. All dishes are fabulous. It’s a veggie restaurant and 100 yards down they have a non-veggie one. The veggie one is better - and this from a confirmed carnivore. Service is average but the food more than makes up for it. Feels like you are actually eating in India. Enjoy!
Various locations in London - East Ham, West Croydon, two in Manor Park and two in Wembley. For more information see www.chennaidosa.com/contactus.htm
Okay. Let me be frank. Club Rub is a fetish club. And before you all reach in horror for the computer mouse, it's not full of freaks and wierdos (although it's best to keep an open mind when delving into alternative entertainment). Held once a month on a Saturday in Houndsditch, London, it is a fetish event - max 400 people, featuring music, dancing, fetish fantasy, licensed bar and 'play' area. You can get tickets or pay on the door. There is a STRICT dress code. I mean S T R I C T! Leather, PVC, transvestite, latex rubber, that sorta thing - but absolutely no streetwear. Let your fantasy run wild. You HAVE to dress up - that's the point! The etiquette is simple - anything goes, but NO means NO.
What strikes you the moment you walk into the place, is the spectacle and friendliness. Oh, and the acceptance. You may be dressed as a transvestite priest but someone will always offer a friendly chat or an indecent proposal. A great place to give your sexual fantasies a free reign, or to just sit back and enjoy the carnival. All ages are welcome- it's attitude that counts, not grey pubic hairs. One thing I guarantee - Club Rub will spoil you for regular 'vanilla' clubs forever!
It's in an old warehouse building just off Brick Lane (Hanbury street) running on Sunday mornings. It's far less crowded than the nearby Spitalfields Market which was cut in half by a redevelopment and is now too crowded with too many identikit stalls. It's got craft/jewellery, clothes and food stalls (excellent Ethopian food as well as all the usual suspects). Lots of beautiful stuff from new designers and a few quirky and fashionista clothes stalls. Good world music CD stall. And the Big Chill bar/historic Shoreditch is just round the corner.Get there around 11-12am and it's not crowded. Lock up bikes securely.....
Truman Brewery, Hanbury Street off Brick Lane.Nearest Station/Underground Liverpool Street
If you're in Shoreditch and feel like getting away from the hyperactivity of most of the bars and crowds in the area (especially on a Friday night), this is a fantastic option. The owners are adept at creating an intimate and personal space (they also own the more swanky basement bar, Friendly Society, in Soho).
The Commercial's interior is cosy but far from claustrophobic, quirky and comfortable, having been lovingly decked out with retro and hand-painted furniture. The choice of music is always startlingly suitable for a quiet drink (last time I was there they were playing the theme from Taxi Driver) and the bar staff are unusually friendly.
Oh, and historically it's associated with the Elephant Man, who is said to have lived in the caverns beneath.
142-144 Commercial Street, Shoreditch
Nearest tubes: Liverpool Street, Shoreditch, Whitechapel
A street with bars, pubs, market stalls on the weekend and a wonderful neighbourhood feel. There are also opening up many lovely smalls shops, a specialist music shop and others.
Broadway Market, next to London Fields, in Hackney
An ideal place to sample the famous London nightlife. A cavernous bar/club under brick railway arches in Shoreditch, an unpretentious, friendly bar with an amazingly diverse music policy. Cargo is the place to sample some of London's amazing musical creativity from algerian folk to house nights, hotly tipped indie bands, MC battles and world music festivals Cago has it all.
If that's not enough you can recover on Sunday afternoons with brunch (their sweet potato chips are the best hangover cure around) in their garden.
Old Street tube
OK, this place is full of Nathan Barleys and annoying haircuts, but for somewhere to sit and listen to (usually) decent music while eating cheap, massive slices of cake with your beer/coffee this can't really be beaten.
Cafe by day, club by night, there's a plethora of tables outside making for a very sociable vibe in summer. A good place to people-watch.
1 Dray Walk, London, E1 6QL (just off Brick Lane)
Newly restored, this glorious Nicholas Hawksmoor designed baroque church towers over the streets of Spitalfields. It's a thriving parish church, but you can also visit on Tuesdays and Sundays to marvel at the beautiful Purbeck stone floor, soaring pillars and decorative wood carvings.
In December it plays host to Spitalfields Winter Festival. There seem to be many musical treats in store from 12-21 December, from choral classics, via medieval music, to a community carol service. Some concerts are free.
A huge selection of bottled lager, great, unintrusive music and more table football than you could ever reasonably need. This is a refreshing, fun change from the usual London bars.
43 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell,EC1R 4QL; Nearest tube: Farringdon or Angel; Bus: 19 or 38 from the West End; www.cafekick.co.uk
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