A thriving part of East London that can call itself home to some of the most creative independent venues and legendary late-night party spots in town, there's an energy to Hackney Central that you definitely need to tap into, and our area guide is here to help. Here's five of our favourite E8 hangouts all located within an easy stroll of the overground station.


Conveniently located right next to the station, hop off the train and make straight for Oslo, Hackney Central’s prized all-round venue occupying a corner plot where Mare Street meets Amhurst Road. An open and inviting hangout with Norwegian accents influencing the decor, dig into food that’s a cut above your standard gastro fare, slope in for a couple of pints of their signature Oslo lager or head to the upstairs floor dedicated to pulsating club events and live gig nights.

oslo hackney area guide london

Oslo is Hackney Central's multi-experience venue next to the redeveloped rail station.

The Star by Hackney Downs

The Star is a gem of a neighbourhood boozer on the fringes of one of Hackney’s most loved open green spaces. Influenced by a Victorian circus theme, it’s a place with genuine creative character, and locals are invited to donate their weird and wonderful possessions to contribute to the already eclectic design. There’s award-winning Sunday roasts, an eagerly contested quiz night, weekly life drawing groups, live acoustic music and top-notch value for money (you can get a pint or a glass of wine for just £3 on a Friday) to this much-loved pub on the park.

star by hackney downs london

A trusty boozer where creative spirits flourish.


Wondering exactly where to get your hands on a good quality glass of wine? Enter: Verden, a charming wine bar and relaxed eatery found at the end of Clarence Road. Trusted to supply the wine by acclaimed Dalston speakeasy Ruby’s, Verden is the place to be if you’re looking to set the world to rights over a bottle or red or tuck into some brunch goods at the weekend.

verden hackney area guide designmynight

There's a sumptuous brunch spread on offer at Verden, and a cheeky alfresco patio too.

Palm 2

My housemates call Palm 2 “The Awesome Shop”, which is a pretty damn accurate summary of the place. A family-run shop and events space within a 10-minute walk of Hackney Central, Palm 2 comes stocked with fresh and exciting produce as well as takeaway meals cooked fresh on the day, while the spacious first floor hosts private functions and pop-up supperclubs with views that look out over Clapton Pond.

palm hackney area guide london

Palm 2's open and airy function room is available for private hire.

The Dolphin

No-one’s really going to take a guide to Hackney Central seriously if there’s no room for The Dolphin, are they? Quite simply a legendary dive bar with a loyal cult following, you could have every intention of walking home at half-past a sensible hour, but the incredible lure of some absolute 90s hip-hop GOLD and the idea of jumping onboard the jagertrain will almost always prove too difficult to resist.

the dolphin hackney area guide

If not for the drinks and rowdy atmosphere, their Twitter is a must-try too.