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Tranny parties, karaoke and seriously good kebab rolls in Bethnal Green

Posted at 10:15 am, May 10, 2014 in Arts & Entertainment, Food & Drink, Music & Nightlife, Shopping & Style
E. Pellicci

Why go there?
Bourgeois? Nah, mate. Bethnal Green’s still got that rough ’n’ ready East End flavour.

What’s the vibe?
Locals fall roughly into three groups:old-school embedded East Enders, Bangladeshi families and recently arrived professionals. The great thing is that everyone gets along famously, as proved at Columbia Road’s The Birdcage pub and its famously hugger-mugger weekend karaoke sessions, which bring together residents old and new for a singsong.

The Birdcage

What’s that smell?
Sweat, perhaps? Bethnal is famous for producing great boxers and is still a hub for small backstreet clubs and gyms.

Any celebs about?
Not many, but the walls of revered caff E Pellicci on Bethnal Green Road boast signed pictures of famous patrons.

How about a local delicacy?
We point hungry tourists up the road to the bagel shops of Brick Lane, before discreetly heading into Lahore Express on Bethnal Green Road for a lamb kebab roll. And a smug cackle.

Now I need a drink…
The Nelson’s Head on Horatio Street is a friendly gay-leaning boozer with bags of soul. Telly addicts, take note: it’s reached via the actual alleyway where Nicholas Lyndhurst magically passes through time in too-crap-for-Dave ’90s sitcom ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’. Not long opened in Cambridge Heath Road, the devilishly good Satan’s Whiskers serves the best cocktails east of Shoreditch.

Bethnal Green Working Men's Club

Where’s the party at?
Always at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club – which has incubated many of London’s best leftfield performers, from interactive theatre crew You Me Bum Bum Train to trannytastic party Sink the Pink.

Columbia Road Flower Market

If I only do one thing…
Join the throng at Columbia Road Flower Market on Sunday. The advice about turning up at 2pm for knockdown prices has long become a victim of its own success, and (oh God, no!) buskers ‘entertain’ the crowds. But it remains a quintessential London experience. Oliver Keens

Find more new areas to explore in London.

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