Shoreditch, The Eagle and the Badass baristas
Overlooking the Old Street roundabout may not make for one of the most classically beautiful views in the world. Granted, it’s more high-rise than high-luxury. However, nestled here is the Shoreditch Grind, a hipster haven where the grind of the beans matches the grind of the city traffic outside.
Anywhere with the word ‘Shoreditch’ in it’s title makes me automatically feel nervous. I’m definitely not cool enough for Shoreditch. I like Judy Garland and my snack of choice is a grab-bag of Quavers. However, I am yet to meet a male face that I do not think could be improved by a moustache or beard which makes me think I would very much like East London if I just made a bit of effort to be friends with it. Gave it a hug and a high-five, paid it a couple of compliments and (hopefully) discover it’s not so scary after all.
So the Old Street roundabout seemed a good place to start, on the cusp of trendy Shoreditch and suity Moorgate. And I was wooed. Shoreditch Grind, sporting a lovely old cinema style front courted me hard. The place is full of lovely big wooden tables and brickwork. A bar full of delicious pastries attempted to seduce me (BUT ALAS YOU FLAKY DELICIOUS TEMPTRESS I AM ON NO CARBS SO I WOULD NOT SUCCUMB. But my resolve did wobble for a moment I’ll grant you.) The coffee was excellent. Really top notch. Even the design in the top of my latte foam seemed genuine rather than smug. But really, we need to talk about the baristas for a minute. Bearded, tattooed, pierced and rocking their aprons like A MOTHER, they were exceptional. Foaming milk, flicking levers and working that coffee machine like a lover they’d been holding for years, they were full of attitude, and I instantly fell in love. They also ask your name when they take your order, but not in a creepy soul-sucky Starbucksy way, but so that when they bring your coffee over to you they can sing your name whilst holding your coffee out like a gift of gold/frankincense/myrrh.
Then I teamed up with a curly headed pal and danced over to The Eagle Pub. I wanted to go here purely because on the pub front, they have a piece of sheet music which they’ve made into a big sign, as they proudly display their entry into one of the kingdom’s best loved nursery rhymes- “Up and down the City road, in and out The Eagle. That’s the way the money goes. Pop goes the weasel”. I mean I always thought it was half a pound of treacle, but whevs, when a place is this lovely I’ll believe anything. (That rule often goes for men too FYI). ANYWAYS now to be fair, I am a huge pub fan. I’m very easily pleased. As long as it’s not a Wetherspoons (which I always feel is like drinking in a call centre) and doesn’t feel like a working men’s club has died in it, I’ll probably be squealing in delight.
But this actually was a real treat. From the front, it’s all lovingly restored (or preserved- I can’t work out which) as a proper East End boozer. Inside there’s fresh flowers on all the tables, quirky prints up on the wall, and a decent selection of craft ales on tap. TICK. We sat outside in the garden, where on one table sat a big group of boys all eating burgers, clearly purging the Hoxton Hangover from the night before and on another, a family with a lovely, big, soppy and slobbery Labrador. We didn’t have time to eat, but I was so charmed by the murals on the walls, the temptingly teetering look of the burgers and the deeply trendy yet friendly staff (the girls had one side of their hair shaved and big nose rings. How I admired them from inside my Cath Kidston dress and Clarks sandals. I LOVE QUAVERS OKAY) that I will be back for certain. East London, ya might not be so scary after all. WELL PLAYED.
For more information on these hangouts check here: