One of the best things about living in London is that the city is so big I could spend my life exploring it and never be done. When I first moved to the UK, my only knowledge of east London was trendy Shoreditch. But over the years, I have discovered areas beyond Hoxton Square and Rivington Street. My favorite is London Fields.
Technically in Hackney, London Fields nonetheless retains a neighborhood feel of its own. I have spent a lot of time in the area lately thanks to a friend that lives out that way. And I have discovered some great hidden gems in London.
The Climpson’s Arch, for example. Tucked away under a railway arch on an unassuming side street, the pop-up bar and restaurant in London Fields is easy to miss. But it’s worth seeking out, as I discovered at my friend’s birthday drinks on Friday.
The cool interior features a full bar and funky furniture, and the outdoor space has bright orange tables and a Licky Chop by Lucky Chip pop-up street food stall. The only downside is the fact that I stood out like the non-trendsetter I am among all of the Hackney hipsters. Where’s my ironic mustache when I need it?
Just around the corner is the famous London Fields Brewery, with its cool tap room and local microbrews. Next to it I came across The Pit, a pop-up mini-festival featuring daily live music, DJs, and street food that runs until mid-September.
A block away is London Fields, the pretty green space that gives the neighborhood its name. On warm days, the aptly named Pub on the Park is packed with punters, all of whom jockey for a space at the tables on the terrace.
Down the way is Broadway Market, a street that lends its name to the name to the famous weekend market that takes place there. But even when the market is gone, the street is festive.
Lots of people sit outside of the Cat & Mutton pub on warm summer evenings. Others—myself included—head over to Off Broadway, my favorite bar and restaurant in London Fields. Owned by an American expat from LA, it serves great Mexican food and creative cocktails (some served by my friend, who manages the bar). It even has a secret speakeasy if you can find it…
Back out in the park, the summer heatwave in London has been welcomed by everyone in the area. A walk through reveals everything from permanent ping pong tables to enormous sculptures as the path leads back to Hackney Central station. On the way is Lardo, another cool cafe and bar. It has a great outdoor space and a soon-to-open Coppa Bar and BBQ.
And maybe that’s why I love London Fields so much. Every time I visit, there’s a new pop-up dining establishment or festival to explore. With an ever changing mix of things to do and see (and eat and drink!), I could spend my life exploring London Fields’ restaurants and bars and never feel like I’m done. Until I discover what lies beyond, that is…