Hackney’s Stonehenge, a specialist jean vendor, homely pubs and great pizza: it’s the best bits of Clapton
Denim! Pizza! Beer! Clapton is east London’s beating heart.
Why go there?
Because every street ends in a park, there’s a new café every time you blink, and you’ve been priced out of the scotch eggs on Broadway Market.
What’s the vibe?
Prammy couples buying specialist coffee from Turkish entrepreneurs while shady characters smoke ganja from a disused black cab.
I’m hungry, what’s on the menu?
Five years ago, you’d have had a fried chicken Hobson’s choice. Now, modern European is your culinary man – try Verden (Clarence Road) on a Tuesday for massive steaks and slender frites, or the pocket sized Little Ivy’s (Lower Clapton Road) for tapas and a spritz. Recently opened Yard Sale (Lower Clapton Road) is your fill-a-hole pizza takeaway vendor – twice as good as Voodoo Ray’s and half the price. Look out for the very fun pop-up restaurants in the amazing space above local grocer’s Palm II (Lower Clapton Road).
I’m thirsty. Give me booze.
It’s a pubby sort of place – The Clapton Hart (Lower Clapton Road) is huge but homely (for the beers, not the food), The Elderfield (Elderfield Road) is quiet and refreshingly un-gastrofied, with draughts boards and draught beers. If it’s a refined tipple you’re after, The Bonneville (Lower Clapton Road) is a smart little brasserie with excellent cocktails.
And when the pubs close?
You go to Dalston, unless you can score a lock-in at the enduringly weird Biddle Brothers (Lower Clapton Road), the area’s longest standing boozer.
© Rob Greig
I’m finally full.What can I buy?
While house prices are stupid expensive now, business rents aren’t – which means lots of independent shops have opened. From specialist jeans vendor Bad Denim (Lower Clapton Road) to stylish homewares spot Triangle (Chatsworth Road) – there’s even a cracking bookshop, Pages of Hackney (Lower Clapton Road). Umit & Son on the same road is still a cherished eccentric, selling Super 8 supplies and abusing anyone who asks for a DVD.
If I only do one thing?
Support Sunday’s market on Chatsworth Road and then walk along the canal to the old filter beds – the eerie concrete structures there have been called ‘Hackney’s Stonehenge’. Except that you can sit on them and no one will tell you off.
By Katie Dailey, who likes her park life without Russell Brand in it, thanks very much.