Find out why Hackney Wick’s nightlife is the stuff of legends with our guide to the best raves, bars and restaurants in this playground of East London.
Once the sun sets and the strings of lights begin to glitter, pint glasses glow amber and heavy bass reverberates through corrugated iron, you start to see what all the Hackney Wick nightlife hype is about.
Tucked underneath giant murals or down the side of cavernous warehouses, small doors welcome you to vast, unexpected spaces where you drink, eat and rave the night away.
Best clubs and places to rave
Some of the best nightlife all happens around The Hackney Horseshoe; a cluster of drinking, dancing and raving spots that curls neatly around Hackney Wick Station. Starting in what, from first glance, looks like a large car park – you’ll want to start with some Red Stripes at Grow. Head down a little alley at the far left end of the car park to find this beautiful canal-side venture that often has live music on a floating stage.
In the warehouse next door, you’ll find Studio 9294. You might want to buy tickets in advance for one of their regular events that include DJs nights, cabaret and comedy; but you might get lucky and find some free spots. There’s always space in ginormous sister venue Number 90, offering long communal tables indoors or out, serving burgers and Sunday roasts.
Turn left as you leave the car park and walk a few metres to Beer Merchants Tap, with its easily spottable pink elephant statue. With over 500 bottles of beer to choose from and uniquely brewed craft beers, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Plus, it’s a great spot for some chilled downtime before resuming festivities and frivolities.
Leaving Beer Merchants Tap, follow Wallis Road as it curves left, and you’ll find Station Food and Wine, open until midnight, offering a plethora of premixed cocktails in a can so it’s handy if you need to pick a quick tinny or packet of Frazzles.
Curving around Hackney Wick station, under the bridge of the overground, bending left you’ll find the refurbished Lord Napier Star. With a journey that can be seen as a microcosm of the wider area from boozer to rave squat to artist mecca, and now part of the Electric Star Pubs empire, stopping here for a drink is a requirement. Make sure to admire the contrast between newly commissioned artwork and original green tiles on the pubs’ exterior.
Stop in next door to HWK, a cool, airy cafe for some cocktails. Attached to the side of HWK, is The Lot, with a distinctly festival feel and which is attached to The Lot; a large indoor/outdoor space hosting day and night parties pumping house and techno. Dancing is encouraged.
Entering Queen’s Yard, you’ll see the Colour Factory, Hackney Wick’s only nightclub, if you’d like to call it so. The giant disco ball adds some 90s fun to this giant, low lit warehouse, which also houses a food court. Crate Brewery, straight-ahead offering quirky and delicious pizzas and beer by the canal, and on the right side of the yard. On the right-hand side of the yard is both is Howling Hops Brewery and Old Street Brewery.
So, the golden question, where’s open past 2 am?
While Howling Hops Brewery, Studio 9294 and Number 90 keep their doors open until 1 am, it’s The Colour Factor that attracts those who party hardest, staying open until 4 am.
You could spend a whole weekend exploring Hackney Wick’s microbreweries, but these are our top three.
Beer Merchants Tap is a craft beer bar and bottleshop in a laid back taproom, offering the widest range of beers in the Wick. While their stone-baked pizzas could be the star of the show at Crate Brewery – you’ll find unique flavours you’ve never tried atop a pizza before like Kashmiri dahl, and sweet potato, stilton and walnut – Crate Brewery also has an impressive range of limited edition beers poured straight in the bar. Finally, Howling Hops Brewery and Tank Bar, with their long german beer hall tables offer sour, fruit and dark beers tingle the tastebuds.
Packed with lovingly restored vintage arcade games, Four Quarters in Here East is pure nostalgic fun. Swap sterling for tokens to play all the retro games of your youth – or that you’ve seen in 80s and 90s films – including Pac-Man, Street Fighter and Sega Rally. And of course, there’re beers, cocktails and pizza for when you need a break.
Here East is most easily accessible from Hackney Wick Overground Station, or a 20-minute walk across the Olympic Park from Stratford International and tube.
Newly opened in September 2021, Hackney Bridge sits over the canal, and on the other side of the Bridge to Here East. This giant, newly built space regularly does drinks deals and happy hours, and the sun-trap of a terrace is perfect for mid-week pints. During the day, you can get a haircut at the uni-sex barbers, a manicure, peruse skateboards and vintage clothing, or join a workshop on food waste processing or bike repair. Hackney Bridge Kitchens offers an indoor dining hall, home to an impressive lineup of street food traders, and you’ll find DJs turning up the volume on Friday and Saturday nights.
With views of the Olympic Park Stadium, the floating Dutch barge turned restaurant is surely one of the most unique places to dine on a five-course dinner in London. Soon after opening in 2018, Barge East was rated London’s #1 Restaurant on Tripadvisor 2019-2020. In a rustic, cosy setting, you’ll be served wholesome small and large plates of clean, delicious British produce, as you watch the fairy lights sparkle on the water below.
Zero-waste restaurant Silo is on a mission to prove that there is an alternative model to the current system of industrial food production. The crafty chefs at Silo will pickle or ferment anything, find six different ways to prepare a humble cauliflower, and deliver dishes you’d never have fathomed could taste so delicious.
Cornerstone by Chef Tom Brown
Funded by This Morning and Great British Menu Chef Tom Brown, Cornerstone serves up a beautifully delicate menu centred around seafood. In a sleek setting that keeps Hackney Wick’s signature industrialism – with a lick of polish – you’ll find a menu that changes regularly based on the daily catch. We’ve heard that whatever they’re serving on a crumpet is a must-order.
Established in 2016 – that makes it deeply established by Hackney Wick’s transient standards – PEARL is a community favourite. Here’s where residents head over to chat with neighbours, catch up with friends to sip on coffee and eat a hearty brunch. You’ll find all the classics like avocado toast and house-made granola, as well as Turkish Eggs and Huevos Rancheros to add a bit of spice to your life. Start the night early by making it boozy with mimosas or frozen margs.
This independent and family-run Italian is the closest you’ll get in Hackney Wick to that nostalgic idea of a neighbourhood pizzeria where the waiters know your name. Based on the canal side of the giant Here East complex, you can enjoy a spritzer overlooking the water. Come here for traditional Italian fare including hand-rolled pasta and homemade vermouth.
Andi’s Wadadli kitchen brings gloriously multicultural comfort food, mixing Caribbean flavours with British and French foods. Their Chocolate Curry Goat, seafood boil and spit roast roots would be top of our list. This is a lively restaurant offering cocktails that focus on rum, lime, freshness and fruitiness.
At the south end of The Hackney Horseshoe, you’ll find street food and kiosks aplenty, most open till 10 pm. Maize Blaze – serves up Colombian Street Food from inside the Howling Hops tank bar.
Inside the Colour Factory, you’ll find the best vegan food going; The Hogless Roast – The UK’s only 100% vegan hog roast – serves mac n cheese and ‘dirty’ hashbrowns as well as incredibly well-stacked burgers; and Veganushi does what it says on the tin with the best non-fish salmon around; all served in recyclable or compostable takeaway cardboard packaging.
If you enjoyed this guide, then read our guide on the best things to do in Hackney Wick during the day.
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