Here at KOMPAS, we love a good East London neighbourhood, so for this area feature, we wanted to highlight Hackney Wick. This used to be a gritty industrial area and has maintained a lot of its roots, despite Hackney’s quick gentrification. In the recent years, much like the rest of East London, Hackney Wick has started becoming more of a destination to see. Somewhat of a boom hit the area with the Olympics in 2012 when the stadium was built and since then the area has jumped to its feet. The industrial feeling is still there, but the beautiful street art and authentic food make it worth the journey.
What to See
A hidden gem by a mystery artist but definitely worth it, this colourful piece of art stands out from the rest of the street art in the area. The piece captures the feeling of the area perfectly. It is vibrant and lively, despite its location on the side of a regular apartment building and partially hidden behind a dumpster.
This street art depicts parts of both Native and Latin American cultures, combining nature and spirit, depicting shamans and their visionary plants surrounding them. This is one of the largest murals in the area, spanning the top of the No. 90 building. The two artists, Martin Ron and Jiant, have recently become frequent collaborators.
Seen around the East London area, Anna Laurini has a recognizable style that she has brought to Hackney Wick with this mural. Across the garage of a photography studio, this one stands out among her other pieces for its stark contrast against the black background.
In the middle of industrial Hackney Wick, a small park has popped up. The green of the park contrasts the grittiness of its surroundings. It’s a great area for kids to spend some time outdoors as it sits among many residential houses.
A grand brick church with some modern additions make this a sight to see in the area. Still a stunning church on the inside, St Mary’s has been partially repurposed to be residences. With a nice courtyard inside, the church offers a calming space to take a breath and relax.
Where to Get Coffee
A spot loved by the locals, there are constantly people shuffling in and out of the Wick Cafe. The cafe serves up delicious meals and all the coffee you will need for the day. Booming with personality from the staff, the friendly atmosphere pulls people in and keeps them coming.
Pearl is the place if you’re looking for something a little trendier. Radiating hipster coffee shop vibes, there are always people working on their laptops here. If that doesn’t say that people like staying here, we don’t know what does. If you fancy an artisanal coffee, this may be your new go-to spot to sit and work.
Where to Eat
For some authentic Turkish food, skip the dodgy kebab shop and head to Scoff’s Grill. With plenty of people always sitting in the window, it’s well appreciated. Sit down and enjoy yourself: part of the experience is being able to relax and have a good meal.
No. 90 is inside a beautiful building that looks just as cool on the inside. With the Mapacho artwork adorning the building, you walk inside to find a nice interior but then continue through to find a deck over the canal. Staying true to the atmosphere, they’re serving up new twists on classic pub food. Grab some food, a pint, and maybe even a cocktail if you’re feeling cheeky. No. 90 is picturesque and makes you want to stay for the whole evening.
Where to Drink
In the back of a parking lot, Grow is keeping Hackney Wick rooted. While it may seem like a more gritty location, this bar focuses on creating a community in the area. As a business, they emphasize the community, often hosting local artists, as well as keeping their operations sustainable.
A brewhouse right in Hackney Wick, Paulaner has 22 different taps and over 600 bottles on offer. Opening their premier pub, Paulaner is inviting people inside to try their brews. They’re welcoming people to come enjoy their pints either inside the taproom or outside in the beer garden if it’s a (rare) sunny day.
We’ve enjoyed being able to explore this dynamic area, but we may not have found some of your favourites. Let us know if we missed any hidden gems in Hackney Wick. If you enjoyed this area feature, be sure to check out our posts on Hoxton and Broadway Market, & sign up for our weekly London email.