A disused car park in the backstreets of Hackney Wick isn’t an obvious place to escape the stress of London, but turn down an alley (stay with us here) and you’ll reach Grow, a little haven along the River Lea. Everything is apparently locally grown and fairtrade, but the main headline is that there’s an excellent riverside setup that’s hard to beat, and on a sunny afternoon it’s full of locals watching kayakers and paddleboarders coast along the water while sipping cold drinks and eating halloumi and pulled pork buns. There are usually DJs and live bands at the weekends as well, so it’s also easy to make a night of it with a few mates.
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Jolene is a bakery, café, and restaurant on Newington Green serving very nice, very grainy, very wholesome breakfast, lunch and (on some days) dinner.
My Neighbours The Dumplings
My Neighbours The Dumplings in Clapton is a dim sum parlour done East London stye. There’s a great bar and Chinese dishes, Totoro optional.
Green Papaya Xi’Viet
Green Papaya Xi’Viet is a Vietnamese and Xi’anese hybrid on Kingsland Road that suits any situation, and serves some really good noodle dishes.
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Portobello Star is a very popular local hangout that also happens to make great drinks. Especially ones with gin.
Max’s Sandwich Shop
Max’s Sandwich Shop in Stroud Green serves inventive sandwiches with buckets of personality. It’s fast becoming a North London institution.
Peg is a walk-in wine and skewers spot in Hackney from the people behind P. Franco and Bright. It’s a place you want to be.
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Martello Hall is an great bar-meets-pizza restaurant on Mare Street in Hackney. Bring your mates at the weekend, or visit it late night.
The best parties involve drinks, pizza, and tunes. Crate Brewery in Hackney Wick has all three, and tons of space to sit by the canal on a nice day.
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