The Coolest Place in Shoreditch
There’s no question about just how cool Shoreditch is. Being an arty area, it’s full of young creatives and trendsetters, with fashionable clubs and bars that surround Shoreditch High Street, Great Eastern Street and Old Street. There’s an eclectic dining scene that features everything from trendy chain restaurants and smart gastropubs to artisan coffee shops and noodle bars. Vintage and design shops are plentiful but what does any of this mean if us hounds don’t get to join in on all the coolness? We can be cool too, right?
I’d heard that there was a place in this world of coolness where us hounds could join in and be on trend too so I packed my doggy bag, donned my pirate bandana (I felt this was very appropriate) and travelled across urban lands on one bus, one train and one tube, to hunt down the pinnacle of coolness, The Bike Shed .
We landed in Shoreditch without any idea where we were going so I dragged Mummy along some of the artisan side roads full of yummy smells, creative graffiti and vibrant colours.
We kept our eyes wide open because it’s one big urban art space with hidden speakeasies, hidden pop-ups and underground venues. Mummy was looking at so many things as we walked that she tripped over my little ginger body and knocked her head on some scaffolding. I’m surprised she didn’t take a photo of it because it was painted in garish pinks, blues and yellows. I’m not sure how she actually didn’t see it, or me!
In the distance, we saw it, we saw the signs to our hipster oasis. The Bike Shed is hidden under a bridge but with its bold signage and brick-glass frontage, we knew exactly where we wanted to go so I tossed my bandana over my furry ginger shoulder and held my head high as we crossed the road and entered the venue.
As I pulled Mummy through the door, no one batted an eyelash at my presence. I expected to be turfed out, to be told those words 'sorry, no dogs allowed in here' but that didn't happen. As Mummy cooed over the first motorbike she saw, I threw myself at the feet of Jane, the friendliest sales manager I have ever had the pleasure to get a tummy rub off. Jane made me feel so welcome that I forgot my manners and immediately aired my tummy to the ceiling (normally I keep this side of my personality in check for the first three minutes but Jane got the full works within seconds). Mummy asked if I was really allowed in because there were motorbikes, sofas, and merchandise everywhere. The lovely Jane didn't just say yes, she said we could take photos too.
All of a sudden I was allowed off lead to do some modelling. Can you believe it ... I was allowed on the sofas! I wasn't just sneaked onto them with Mummy breaking the rules, like she does, I was actually allowed. Allowed. This is hound heaven my furry friends. The sofas are scattered around behind the merchandise and humans can get coffees or other beverages and just sit to ponder the workings of motorbike life, or random things hidden in nooks and crannies all over the place. While they're doing that, us hounds can get even more tummy rubs from anyone and everyone because everyone there loves dogs. Everyone! And hounds ... we can make ourselves at home, explore the coolest motorbikes, pretend to be cast members in Sons of Anarchy. Oh yeah, I was starring as the lead role in my own 'Hounds of Anarchy' and it felt so damn cool that I wanted to burst.
Things just got better and better at The Bike Shed because then I met Frank, the proprietor of Thy Barber. Now, I can be a bit wary of men and sometimes I can give them a good old grumble to tell them to back off but Frank and I, we hit it off and had a love affair within seconds. Thy Barber is situated at the back of venue but that doesn't lessen the power of its presence; if anything, it is like a magnet because of its cool music, traditional old fashioned yet edgy modernness, and Frank. I became so obsessed with Frank that I didn't hear one word my Mummy said and allowed him to lure me into the barbers. Barbers are places for boys, right?
Once lured into the cavern of creativity, I became hypnotised by Frank and underwent a consultation of what he could do with my gingery curls. Here was a man that listened to my girlie needs as I told him about the difficulties I faced with tight Poodle curls and the perils of matting.
Frank and I chatted for ages as he played with my curls and let me give him nose kisses. As a barber he didn't trim my locks because I'm a hound, and a female one too (I also have the best groomer in existence at Adorable Dog Grooming), but oh I had the best, if not shortest, love affair with him and I can't wait to go back to see him again.
Being in love and having my curly curls twiddled was ever so tiring so we moved into the restaurant. Yes fellow hounds, this is a restaurant not a pub, not an outside eating area with heat lamps, but a proper restaurant where I was allowed to sit with Mummy. She was so thrilled that I was allowed to sit with her in the warmth, and when I sat next to her in the cubicle, no one cared.
There was nothing more I could ask for in visiting The Bike Shed (well, maybe a doggy menu but that would just be cheeky), yet on our way out we bumped into Dan, who also worked there, and asked if I had been allowed to try a motorbike out. Cue 'Hounds of Anarchy' music in my little ginger head because I so wanted to sit on a motorbike but knew I might be pushing my luck if I tried. Doggy dreams can come true though, especially at The Bike Shed, and Dan revved up his rather cool Triumph, taking it to a safe place for me to sit on it. I loved Dan too, although I hadn't forgotten Frank and Jane either.
Everything about The Bike Shed was, and is, the most dog friendly place I have ever been. It even beats the cafe at Wells-next-the-sea which all us hounds absolutely love visiting after a 'chariots of fire' kind of run on the beach. My guess is this ... if you're looking for a really cool place to visit in London, you have a love of motorbikes, want a hipster style hangout, a 'Hounds of Anarchy' experience, or a damn fine barber, The Bike Shed and Thy Barber are both the places to go. In fact, you don't need a reason to visit because they're worth visiting for no other reason than because you are a hound, and you can!
(I may have to admit that at times I got so excited that I did a few little bottom burps due to the lack of self-portioning on my rather large paddywhack yesterday evening. I would like to apologise to Frank and Jane who were privy to my lack of etiquette in those moments).