It’s hard not to fall in love with Brick Lane. Snaking its way from Bethnal Green to Whitechapel, it’s a diverse melting pot of vintage fashion boutiques, authentic curry houses, tasty street-food spots and lively bars that will have you partying into the wee hours. While you’re more than likely to find something that takes your fancy down this street’s famous cobbles, we’ve decided to help you find some inspiration too. So, without further ado, here’s our rundown of 10 of the best things to do in Brick Lane:
1. Stock up on some vintage threads
Two storeys’ worth of vintage fashion await you at ATIKA – a historic Victorian warehouse which is full to the brim with unique pieces from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s. On top of all that retro sportswear and denim, they also stock all manner of homeware essentials, games, comics and toys too – so if you’re looking for some home decor, you’ve come to the right place. There’s also an outpost of Rokit nearby too – and not to mention a pretty epic Sunday market – so you can have quite the fashion crawl down Brick Lane if you fancy.
You’ll find ATIKA at 55-59 Hanbury Street, London, E1 5JP and Rokit at 101 Brick Lane, London. E1 6SE.
2. Find out what’s going on at the Truman Brewery
One hell of a cool venue for pop-ups, small festivals, bars, restaurants, and exhibitions, but come during the weekends and you’ll find almost every cuisine under the sun on offer here. Sip on traditionally brewed Ethiopian coffee, salivate over a chicken-filled Turkish gozleme and finish it off with a vegan chocolate churro. Delicious. They’ve also got some independent shops, jewellery stalls and all manner of trinkets, so you can easily while away the hours.
You’ll find The Truman Brewery at 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QR.
3. Gorge yourself silly on some of Brick Lane’s famous bagels
The long-running debate about which beigel shop to buy from on Brick Lane is a struggle of sorts. Both are pretty great but Beigel Shop (the yellow one) has crispy bacon-filled beigels and Instagrammable, rainbow-coloured ones. Beigel Bake (the white one) similarly serves up delicious slabs of salt beef, gherkins and mustard in fluffy beigels – and they deliver too – but we say just go with the one with the shortest queue. As soon as you smell those baking beigels, you won’t want to be queueing – trust us.
You’ll find Beigel Bake at 159 Brick Lane, London E1 6SB and Beigel Shop at 155 Brick Lane, London E1 6SB.
4. Immerse yourself in the creative world of Gustav Klimt
If you’re looking for things to do in Brick Lane this Summer, then you could do worse than exploring the world of esteemed painter Gustav Klimt. His artworks are known to capture love, femininity and glamour in a distinctive striking style – think abstract strokes and sparkling gold – and you’ll be able to see all of them on show at an immersive exhibition in The Boiler House from now onwards.
The famed ‘Kiss’, ‘The Tree of Life’, and ‘Judith and the Head of Holofernes’ are just some of the works that are getting the 360-degree treatment, enabling you to get a closer look at every brushstroke and see the models in greater detail as Klimt himself would have seen them. You can grab your tickets for it here.
You’ll find The Boiler House at 152 Brick Lane, London, E1 6RU.
5. Discover some of the area’s eclectic street art
Continuing with the art theme here, If you’re a fan of graffiti and street art, then you’re in the right place – Brick Lane is famous for it. You’ll get the most concentration in the area between Buxton Street and Bethnal Green Road, near to where the railway bridge crosses over.
There’s everything here from murals of flowers to giant elephants, and nearby Hanbury Street plays host to perhaps the area’s most famous artwork – a massive, three-story high crane by the Belgian artist ROA. The best way to see it is just to amble down Brick Lane and the surrounding streets and have a gander at it yourself, but if you’d like more insight into the pieces, you can opt to join a walking tour too.
You’ll find numerous different murals of street art all the way down Brick Lane, so just have a wander and you’ll be sure to find it!
6. Catch a gig at the legendary Rough Trade East
A real legend of the record store scene, Rough Trade first opened its doors all the way back in 1976, and it was right at the epicentre of the punk scene. This particular one does a lot more than just sell music. It’s got its very own purpose-built stage for regular gigs, with a standing room in front sensibly factored into the planning. Clever! They’ve also got an in-house coffee shop, a bookstore, and regular artist signings here too.
You’ll find Rough Trade East at the Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL.
7. Head to prison with your mates for a cocktail or two
London’s infamous prison-themed cocktail experience Alcotraz is the perfect day (or evening) out for you and your mates. Hidden behind unassuming doors on Brick Lane, you’ll find ‘Alcotraz Penitentiary: Cell Block Two One Two’, a secret speakeasy-prison cell hosting some of Alcotraz’s longest-serving inmates. You and your fellow criminals will need to smuggle in liquor past the warden, to be used to make bespoke cocktails in your cell. Sipping cocktails has never felt so forbidden, and we’ll cheers to that! Cop your tickets here.
You’ll find Alcotraz at 212 Brick Lane, London, E1 6SA.
8. Satisfy your sweet cravings at Dark Sugars
Chocoholics – listen up! When it comes to the question of what to do in Brick Lane, then this one should be right at the top of your list. Dark Sugars is famous for its hot chocolate – which many (us included) think is quite possibly the best in the whole of London – and it’s the perfect sweet treat if you’re looking to warm yourself up on a cold Winter’s day. But it’s not all about hot chocolate here. Stretching as far as the eye can see are rows and rows of beautiful, hand-crafted chocolates.
Like the drinks, they’re all made from the finest Ghanaian chocolate, carefully sourced by owner Fatou Mendy on her travels. From colourful pearls to giant slabs, you’ll find a massive range here, from pistachio to liquid sea salt caramel via vodka and orange. Are you salivating yet?
You’ll find Dark Sugars at 141 Brick Lane, Bethnal Green, London, E1 6SB.
9. Bowl to your heart’s content at All Star Lanes
Who doesn’t love themselves some bowling hey?! Well, luckily for you, Brick Lane is home to one of the best bowling alleys in the capital, and it’s a great spot to come with some mates and start a night out on the town. There’s a six-lane main hall, a hireable Manhattan-inspired ‘Penthouse’ bowling alley with three private lanes, and ample drinking and dining space for some après-bowl too.
You’ll need to get a main course in their restaurant to secure a spot during peak hours – but there are plenty of yummy burgers, hot dogs and sides to sink your teeth into, as well as craft beers and vino on tap. They also do a mean bottomless brunch – bottom’s up!
You’ll find All Star Lanes at 95 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL.
10. Get your curry fix at one of the area’s many curry houses
We couldn’t end this roundup of the best things to do in Brick Lane without mentioning grabbing a curry. After all, this is perhaps the spot to come in town for authentic Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani food – and at most of them, you can BYOB for little to no charge too. Part of the fun here is shopping around and deciphering what deals can be had from the hosts standing outside. Biryani, bhaji or bhuna? We’ll leave that one up to you!
You’ll find numerous curry houses down Brick Lane, so just have a wander and see where takes your fancy.
So there you have it – our trusty guide on the best things to do when you’re in the Brick Lane area. From bagels to street art, there’s plenty to keep you occupied, so make sure you get out and enjoy it!