Brick Lane may have recently lost many of it’s ‘bricks’ (though when people started confusing cobbles with bricks we’re not too sure) but it’s still one of east London’s best streets to waste a few hours on. Jody Orsborn is editor of the music blog When You Awake, official blogger for the Railroad Revival Tour and founder of upcoming creative skills swap website The Backscratchers. She hails from California but now calls Brick Lane her home, and has chosen five of her favourite haunts from the area. Ashleigh Arnott
The Carpenter’s Arms
Nightlife around Brick Lane can be a bit trying. There are only so many times you can go to Café 1001 or The Big Chill without wanting something a bit different. That’s why most weekends you’ll find us in the back courtyard of the Carpenter’s Arms. The neighbourhood pub has a fine selection of beers and ales on tap and is the ideal space to settle in for a long evening.
The Aubin Cinema
Most of my friends know about Rich Mix but after a quick poll, I was surprised that very few of them had heard of The Aubin Cinema, which is literally around the corner from Rich Mix. It’s in the basement of the Aubin & Wills building and believe me when I say it is THE perfect place to bring a date. Go a bit early, grab a drink in the bar and then splurge a little extra for one of the sofas with blankets and footstools included. Your date will thank you for it.
The Vintage Emporium
The Vintage Emporium is officially referred to in my flat as ‘our living room’. It’s an amazing coffee shop/music venue/ vintage store that is full of mismatched furniture, delicious coffee, tea cakes and 1920s-40s tunes pouring out of the stereo. I’ve spent many a happy afternoon there and have converted numerous friends to its joys. It’s almost impossible to find a table there on the weekends, but it’s perfect for plugging in your laptop and working a weekday afternoon away in.
Okay, so Blitz is pretty well known, but what you might not have noticed is that they have an absolutely amazing book selection. It’s small but highly curated and there are some really great finds there. For instance, I just picked up a beautiful new hardcover EM Forster novel that sells in other bookstores for £14.99 for £5.
Allens Gardens, Buxton Street, E1 5EG
So you’ve come to Brick Lane, given in and bought a bagel. Instead of eating on the street or standing in the cramped shop, get a little ‘nature’ into your outing by heading to Allens Gardens, a park just a block off of Brick Lane. Sit on one of the benches or the grass and enjoy Brick Lane’s cuisine at your leisure. The park is also home to the Spitalfields City Farm, which frequently hosts gardening and cooking classes, if you are so inclined.