An Incomplete Guide to Hipster Life in London
I arrived at the Victoria Coach Station just in time for lunch. I was starving. The first place I saw, I went. Being an Australian girl who has been living in Spain for the better of six months, I didn’t hesitate in ordering the Steak and Ale Pie, which I paired with a colourfully-labelled craft beer of some description. It was two in the afternoon by this time, and I still hadn’t had my coffee fix, so I went to the first appealing café that caught my eye. I ordered my large skinny latte from Tomtom Coffee House and wound my way through the gorgeous streets, sipping my coffee and taking in the sun which I certainly had not expected from London.
After wandering aimlessly for a while, I figured it was about time I headed to my hostel. I found the Visitors’ Centre, where I entered with the purpose of acquiring an Oyster card, and I left having acquired a bright smile from a great conversation about music and Shoreditch, where I was headed and was “sure to fit in” according to the salesman. I studied the tube map for a minute or two, before I set off for hipster town.
I got off at Old Street, proceeded to walk ten minutes in the wrong direction, gaping at the hipster bars and restaurants I’d been missing of late, before realising, and consulting Google Maps for assistance. The fifteen minute walk to The Dictionary Hostel was spent with a wide smile, making mental notes of places I wanted to visit later on. When I arrived I was greeted by the lovely staff, who didn’t mind me bopping along to their Fat Freddy’s Drop playlist while they checked me in. I grabbed a travel adaptor for £5 at the desk, and I took some free earplugs, too. I browsed the “book swap” shelf, smiling at the great selection. I quickly put my belongings away, before leaving to explore Shoreditch.
The first place I went was Jones & Payne, where Craig helped me become more “Shoreditch”. The staff even brought out a little piece of caramel slice for me to enjoy whilst I was being transformed! I left feeling fresh and new, and grabbed a quick chilli dog and Snickers shake at The Diner before getting ready for the gig later that night. I couldn’t resist a quick craft beer at The Old Shoreditch Station en route to Old Street Station.
I enjoyed my night at The Dome seeing We Are The Ocean’s last ever headline show, which was incredible. I went back to the hostel to put away my new band shirt and I ditched my coat, going downstairs to Translate, where I used my hostel discount to grab a Salted Caramel Espresso Martini for about £6. It was one of the best cocktails I’d ever tasted! I met some people there, one of whom was a fellow Australian, and we followed each other around for a few hours. We noticed a karaoke pub across the road, where we accidentally crashed somebody’s 90th birthday party. Unfortunately the karaoke spots were full, so after singing along with the oldies for a few songs, we went elsewhere. The next few bars we went to were average, but the music was good enough to dance to, so we stayed a while.
The next morning I got up nice and early and treated myself to some free peanut-butter toast from the hostel kitchen. I hadn’t had peanut-butter since leaving Australia, hence the need to mention this. I was so excited to stroll down Brick Lane, however it seemed 9 was too early. I kept walking and found myself at the Tower Bridge, realising I wasn’t far from Borough Market, where I found myself a “Chilli Con Carnage” pie from PieMinister (how could I go past that pun-age?) and a long coffee line at Monmouth Coffee. Needless to say, I waited in that line and I was rewarded with a deliciously smooth latte to accompany me on my stroll further down the river.
I had a quick sticky-beak at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, hoping for some free (or cheap) exhibition goodness, but disappointed by the £13 entry fee, I continued towards the Tate Modern. Everything in the collection at the Tate is free, apart from the temporary exhibitions. I was quite satisfied with the collection on its own, and the current artists weren’t of any interest to me, so I passed on the temporary showcase. I grabbed a quick lunch nearby, before following my curiosity to Carnaby Street. I browsed in all of the expensive shops and pretended that I could afford the designer labels which I only lay my hands on if they’re in an op-shop. The only thing I managed to buy was some hair product for my new do from Boots (still counts!). I treated myself to a health miracle vegan protein smoothie from The Detox Kitchen (it was actually just a delicious avocado smoothie).
It was time now to head back towards Brick Lane to give it another shot. I went via Spitalfields Market, where I picked up a cute ring for £10. Brick Lane didn’t let me down, although I was honestly sick of the overpriced vintage stores towards the end. I mean, I will never pay £35 for a pair of somebody else’s old Converse sneakers! ¡Por favor! I did, however, find an underground vintage market filled with stalls by individuals, where I happened to buy the coolest Wrangler button-up ever.
I slowly continued up the lane, finally resting my feet at BrewDog, where I enjoyed a decent burger and a Jet Black Heart Nitro Stout. I grabbed some bottles from the fridge for Sofar Sounds. This particular Sofar gig was set up in a gym, and although it felt wrong drinking beer whilst sitting on a yoga mat, the bands were incredible, as they usually are at Sofar! I met some great like-minded people at the gig, and I felt more hipster than ever before.
Take my advice. Go to London, even if you only have a weekend. Go to Shoreditch. Go to a Sofar Sounds gig (they’re all over the world). Ditch your diet every once in a while! Drink good beer. Open your eyes to the amazing hipster-ness around you!