Locally roasted coffee with an Antipodean twist is the order of the day at Reilly Rocket, where creative latte art is par for the course. Alternatively, head over to Gillett Square for an al fresco cuppa at Kaffa Coffee morning, noon and night. The small cafe takes its name from Kaffa, the south-western region of Ethiopia where coffee is said to have been born.
As further proof of the neighbourhood’s eclectic credentials, the Instagrammable options are as varied as they are creative. Shop interiors and coffee art fill the Dalston hashtag, as well as the ever-changing street art by the Tina We Salute You N1 cafe.
Caffeine isn’t the only thing they take seriously at Coffee Is My Cup of Tea over on Dalston Lane. With its orange-coated front and Scandi-chic interior, the cafe offers up a range of foodie delights. It’s a popular Dalston port-of-call for weekend brunch (expect lots of sourdough bread, smashed avocado and kale).
Another year, another outing for Dalston in the Hip Hangout rankings. The neighbourhood continues to tick all the boxes for local creatives, many of whom flock from nearby Shoreditch as it becomes more and more saturated with brand names and over-gentrified businesses. While maybe not as polished as Shoreditch, Dalston does offer what any urbanite dreams of, and that’s quirky and affordable things to do by the bucket load.
The calm oasis of the Eastern Curve Garden has kept its programme of markets, performances, art projects and music nights going throughout 2017 and into 2018, while movie lovers only need look to the independent Rio movie house for a deluge of foreign and classic films.
Much of Dalston is shrouded in mystery, with quiet unassuming streets offering hidden gems you wouldn’t even dare to consider. Blink and you’ll miss To The Jungle, a corner cafe covered in black and white street art and with no obvious shop sign. Donna Fügassa is another hidden gem, sitting snug inside the Dalston CLR James Library building, where freelancers are often found tucking into snacks while hunched over laptops. As well as specialising in authentic Italian dishes – vegan pastas and sandwiches are available on demand, as an added bonus – the cafe also doubles up as a place for local and Italian artists to exhibit and sell their artwork.
Meanwhile, the interestingly named Tina, We Salute You, N1 gives absolutely no clue as to what it could be. Step inside, though, and you’ll be drafted into a creative space that’s half coffee shop, half art gallery. Every eight weeks the interior and exterior walls are painted white, ready for another local artist to impart their creativity on. Other interesting spots to drop by at include FED By Water, a restaurant which only serves food that uses water as its base ingredient, and The Wilton Way Café, which serves local coffees and organic bites to eat. The latter is a social hub for local creatives, and is even the home of London Fields Radio. Lastly, there’s Doomed Gallery, an exhibition space that has exhibited over 300 photographers since its doors opened back in 2011. Students, local creatives and seasoned professionals are all welcome under this eclectic roof.