Includes: Kingsland, Hackney Wick.
Amazing what a few years can do. In 2004, indie rock band Razorlight’s debut album included the track “Don’t Go Back to Dalston,” and at the time few would deny the area didn’t deserve the popular – albeit unofficial – description as the “arse-end of London.”
Briefly a major hub for African American music in the 60s, during which time a small but popular collection of venues attracted big-name performers like Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder, Dalston received little attention after the flower-power era came to a close. Around 2009, however, an influx of pricey loft apartments, fashionable clothiers, eclectic cafés, and scads of new bars and clubs began moving in, buoyed in large part by a new railway station serving the neighborhood.
Although only the art deco Rio Cinema remains from the neighborhood’s entertainment heyday, the erection of pop-ups in abandoned 60s-era venues and several brand new live performance spaces make Dalston more desirable than ever for young partiers and edgy celebs who want to rage or rave until the sun comes up.
Vortex Jazz Club packs in the astute beboppers, Arcola Theatre makes sure everyone gets their fringe movie fix (and a cocktail to go with it), and a large Turkish community makes the area one of the best spots in town to grab a kebab and a hot Turkish bath.
Despite its resurgence, the neighborhood still clings proudly to its earthiness – a spirit that is front and center at the daily Ridley Road Market just off the main shopping drag of Kingsland High Street, which flourishes with cheap fruit and vegetables, Caribbean produce and wares, and even a 24-hour bagel bakery.
Crime is still an issue in parts of Dalston, but there’s little indication that the recent flood of hipsters and yuppies will recede anytime soon, making it a perfect spot for people who don’t mind a little grime with their glitz – as well as the other way around.
Party Earth Review Formerly a grungy underground nightclub, the refurbished Bardens Boudoir has ditched its basement party, enticing patrons with a chill vibe perfect for escaping the usual rollicking ... more
36 Stoke Newington Road
London N16 7XJ
Party Earth Review Right on busy Kingsland Road, The Haggerston is a popular Dalston bar that caters to hip-casual locals during the week and manages to turn up a serious party vibe with its late-night ... more
438 Kingsland Road
London E8 4AA
Party Earth Review From sake to saxophones to surly young songsters bellowing off-key renditions of 18th-century Lutheran hymns, Cafe OTO offers a one-of-a-kind experience for Dalston scenesters who might ... more
18–22 Ashwin Street
London E8 3DL
Party Earth Review Slightly removed from Dalston’s gritty heart, The Shacklewell Arms is a casual pub, music venue, gallery, and cozy beer garden rolled into one unapologetically grimy bun. And they ... more
71 Shacklewell Lane
London E8 2EB
Party Earth Review Often a second home to social activists brainstorming their next big campaign, Passing Clouds is an eclectic gypsy bar that draws a clientele of social castaways, hippies, and vagabonds ... more
1 Richmond Road
London E8 4AA
Party Earth Review It may not look like much from the outside, but skaters, DJ aficionados, and plenty of hipsters know that hidden below busy Kingsland High, The Alibi is the perfect place to dance the ... more
91 Kingsland High Street
London E8 2PB
Party Earth Review Out on Dalston’s eastern edge in the rapidly gentrifying expanse of Hackney Wick lies The Hackney Pearl, a favorite of young transplants who come for the chill vibe, locally sourced ... more
11 Prince Edward Road
London E9 5LX