Hackney Road begins at Shoreditch Church and winds its way for just over a mile down to Cambridge Heath Overground. While Broadway Market is idyllic and come weekends, full to bursting with blooms, sourdough bread, espresso and french terriers, Hackney Road retains a little more of that rugged round the edges charm where shops selling door handles and suitcases sit side by side with florists and coffee shops. Once an area known for its crime and poverty, Hackney’s proximity to central London has seen a rapid rise in gentrification, bringing with it a host of pop-ups, fancy barbers and restaurants. If you’re not throwing a ceramic pot or whittling a spoon, you’re probably looking for somewhere to grab a coffee or a slice of cake. Here are a handful of our favourite places along Hackney Road.
236 Cambridge Heath Rd
Just a stone’s throw from Cambridge Heath station, Nkora is tough to walk past without popping your head through the door. Light and airy, it’s the ideal pit stop for a coffee, croissant or bite for lunch. From toasties and wraps to freshly baked banana breads and coffees, there’s something for everyone’s taste.
493 Hackney Road
Belinda Carlisle was right. Heaven is a place on earth, and it’s located at 493 Hackney Road. Jin Ahn, the brains behind Conservatory Archives moved from Seoul to set up shop in one of London’s most creative neighbourhoods. Her space is packed from floor to ceiling with flora and fauna - from huge potted cacti to hanging plants and baby succulents. Stop by to pick up a little green friend and get something for the ‘gram.
195 Hackney Rd
Drawing influence from Southern Spain, North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean, Morito Hackney Road serves up a range of colourful sharing plates from lunch to dinner, including traditional Turkish menemem eggs and sujuk sausage to charcoal grilled octopus and grilled oyster mushrooms. Walking through the front door is a treat in itself - from the horseshoe marble topped bar to the open kitchen and floor to ceiling windows. Get there, stat.
184 Hackney Rd
I scream, you scream, we all scream for tacos. Bad Sports is a colourful yet unassuming venue that doubles up as a cocktail bar. Get your fix of tacos upstairs followed by your fix of gin (etc) downstairs, and you’ll be singing all the way home.
Grace & Thorn
338 Hackney Rd
Fluers fleurs fluers. A whole shop full of ‘em. Grace and Thorn are pretty big now but we couldn’t do a Hackney Road guide and not include them. Stop by for a colourful pick me up.
Unit 7, 268 Hackney Rd
A new addition to Hackney Road, Unripe Banana is one of the latest vegan venues to open doors. A sustainably minded vegan coffee shop and arts space, its upstairs boasts an array of treats from banana loafs, bliss balls and cheese and steak toasties while downstairs there’s a studio that doubles up as an art gallery and events space. Pop by for a friendly smile, a nut milk coffee or a life drawing class..