If diamonds are forever, then bagels are 24…or at least these London bagel spots are 24 hour. The humble bagel might most commonly be enjoyed as a breakfast option but what if I told you it was actually drunk food. Think about it – carbs, delicious filling, cheap, and it’s a pretty healthy choice. Now granted, usually when you’re drunk health is the last thing on your mind and shovelling a Maccies or doner down seems like the best choice but is it really? I won’t argue it too far, your drunk choices are your own and sacred. But just like you have to experiment with a cocktail here and there, why not experiment with a bagel as your choice just one time?
Well okay, it doesn’t have to be a drunk food choice. As mentioned these spots are open 24 hours a day so they are anytime bagels. However, as with all foods, not all bagels are created equal. Some are, very clearly, better than others. So rather than just giving you bagel shops that just so happen to be open 24 hours, these shops are (probably) going to be the best you can find in their respective areas. On the point of area, what use would this list be if all the options were in the same place or a trek from you? Absolutely none. With that in mind, this list aims to cover South, East, West, and North London (sorry North West). This is in no particular order by the way, so please no one get upset or think this is hierarchical – all of these shops are amazing.
East London – Beigel Bake
You knew this was coming, so let’s get it out the way. Beigel Bake is a pioneer in the 24 hour beigel game, and it’s stood the test of time for good reason. Note the use of “beigel” and not “bagel” here, this is more than just a stylistic spelling or pronunciation choice they are actually slightly different things. A beigel is the bagel’s forefather. It is cooked in the traditional method which means it’s boiled before it’s baked which gives it the distinct chewy texture that separates it from the bagel. But saying that depending on where you are your baker might be boiling your bagels before baking, in which case it’s nothing but semantics. But tangent aside Beigel Bake is great and is famous for their signature hot Salt Beef beigels and for good reason. It’s a showstopper and once you try it you’ll start to develop a craving for it. Aside from the solid variety of filled bagel options are all the things you’d expect of a bakery: fresh bread, pastries, cookies and more – and if you picked an item blind 9/10 times you’d pick something delicious.
There is also another beigel institution on Brick Lane, but when it comes to the battle of the yellow or white store, everyone knows who the real winner is. (Both shops are extremely good though)
Address: 159 Brick Lane, London, E1 6SB
South London – Bagel King
A South London institution, Bagel King resides at the top of the pile when you’re south of river. Granted for some of you, being south of the river might be a foreign concept but if you do happen to cross over the bridge be sure to stop by Bagel King. It is a non-traditional bagel shop, it is less bakery and more takeaway food shop with it offering meals, desserts, slushies and more alongside the signature bagels. Its staple offerings are the: Jerk Chicken bagel (cheese and bbq sauce are a must), apple crumble and custard, and slushies. You won’t be disappointed going there so long as you’re prepared for the mix of cuisines and not just the traditional bagel shop/bakery combination. Also, just be prepared for there to be a queue – especially if you head down there for a late night bite.
Address: 280 Walworth Road, London, SE17 2TE
West London – Bagel Bite
Speaking of bites, next up, we have the Shepherds Bush based Bagel Bite. Bagel Bite is newer to the scene than the previously mentioned shops and aligns itself closer to Bagel King than Beigel Bake. It offers all the bagel flavours you could want, from the traditional cream cheese through to Tandoori or Jerk chicken. But don’t let its name deceive you, there is a lot more than just bagels (it’s starting to become a theme clearly) at Bagel Bite. If bagels don’t happen to tickle your fancy and you for some reason find yourself in Bagel Bite, you can chow down on home made lasagne, shawarma, kebab, a jacket potato, or even biriyani! If you need something to sweeten the deal they also have a range of cakes and desserts for you to round off your meal with.
Address: 22 Shepherd’s Bush Green, London, W12 8PH
North London – The Bagel House
Now this one is probably going to be contentious for a number of reasons, not least because of its location. The Bagel House is based in Stoke Newington, N16 – but is Stoke Newington North or East London? We’re going with North on this occasion. Mainly because East has things well and truly covered on the bagel front. The next reason it’s contentious is because this is one where you have to kind of make the decision for yourself if it’s really good. It is a marmite kind of shop. Some people rave about it others visit once and despise it. It is 24 hours however so meets the true defining criteria for this list.
The bagels themselves, as well as the fresh breads, are delightful. In terms of bagel fillings The Bagel House has pretty much the most complete menu of all the shops on the list boasting the hits of all the other shops – Salt Beef, Salmon & Cream Cheese, Jerk Chicken – as well as the basics like Tuna, Cheese, or even simply Buttered or Plain. If you order, do be careful to pay attention as many people have fallen foul of answering yes without paying attention and ended up with a warmed (in the microwave) salmon & cream cheese bagel, which we wouldn’t recommend for obvious reasons.
Address: 2 Stoke Newington High Street, Stoke Newington, N16 7PL