Ah Shoreditch, it’s so cool. And it knows it, too. So here is a list of evening-filling venues that still live up to the ‘hip’ tag, but without the ‘hipsters’ that coined it. Here’s to a cardigan-free night…

Strongroom

120-124 Curtain Road, EC2A 3SQ

A chilled out bar, set back from the main road in a cobbled courtyard. Best for just hanging out, either on the sofas inside or in the covered/heated courtyard. Food is served all day, with a huge selection of world beers, eclectic music and colourful, lively surroundings; you can pretty much spend the whole day here. A big plus, this place is also a music studio, so there are plenty of DJs and live music events, and enough floor space to enjoy them.

Callooh Callay

65 Rivington Street, EC2A 3AY

…step through a wardrobe to get to the next room.

Next up, literary libation. Loosely Lewis Carroll-themed, this place is a quirky treat. On the surface it could be mistaken for the usual pretentious Shoreditch trap, with its anachronistic chic and robust pricing, but this place is the real deal. The cocktails are simply frabjous, the staff regularly beamish, and you have to step through a wardrobe to get to the next room. ‘nuff said. Oh, and good luck finding the Jub Jub Bar…

3 Blind Mice

5 Ravey Street, EC2A 4QW

You’ll walk past the entrance at least three times. Many have come upon it by accident, and spent plenty of wayward footsteps trying to find it again. It’s worth it! Totter down the little staircase into the basement and you’ve found a cave of wonders: candlelit, old movie poster-plastered and the air thick with reggae grooves and house beats. It’s small so claustrophobes take note, but even when it’s full to bursting point the atmosphere is welcoming and chilled out.

 

Now for the best kept secret of the area:

Passing Clouds

1 Richmond Road, E8 4AA

A 20 minute walk up the road from the rest, make sure you’ve got your directions straight or you’ll end up in deepest darkest Hackney without a paddle. You won’t know it when you see it, but it’s behind The Haggerston pub, in what looks like (and is) the bins alley.

The perfect move from closing time at 3 Blind Mice, Passing Clouds will give you a lift up to 4am, no bother. More reggae, more awesome DJs, more groovy atmosphere: just more! Upstairs is the chillout sofa, bric à brac, drapery, salsa, jazz room. Hang out with friends and strangers, sit back with a mojito and a vintage children’s book, or cut a rug on an actual rug until the party really starts downstairs. And downstairs really is where the party is: frequent live music acts, from reggae, to hip hop, to Balkan gypsy punk; complimented by DJs that mash up the whole lot.

The charity shop wardrobe brigade are here in force, but so are the bemused old Rastafari, and everyone else in between: whether hip or hipster, the coolness of Passing Clouds is that actually it doesn’t matter.

Image courtesy of Mike Knell

 

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