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Lesser-known gems and staples of the community featured in new area guide book

PUBLISHED: 16:37 22 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:20 22 January 2019

Wilton's Music Hall is one of the book's must see venues. Picture: Charlotte Schreiber.

Wilton's Music Hall is one of the book's must see venues. Picture: Charlotte Schreiber.

Archant

A former Time Out editor is about to release the second edition of her popular book - An Opinionated Guide to East London. It details 66 of her favourite spots in the community and will be available to buy from Thursday February 7.

This is the second edition of Sonya Barber's East London: Opinionated.This is the second edition of Sonya Barber's East London: Opinionated.

January doesn’t particularly lend itself to exploring, does it? Dark when you leave for work. Dark when you return home. Grey, drizzly, cold throughout. But Blue Monday is done and dusted, February is inbound and with its arrival comes a new book unearthing some of the best spots in east London.

An Opinionated Guide to East London is an “unashamedly biased, highly subjective selection” of foodie favourites, cultural gems, coffee shops and marketplaces picked out by Sonya Barber, a former news and events editor at Time Out.

February’s release is the second edition of this carefully curated guide after the original went down a treat when it came out in May 2017.

“It’s still pocket-sized, but this one has even more crammed into it,” explains Barber, a long-term resident of this part of town.

The book features words from Sonya Barber and images, like this one of Hackney City Farm, from Charlotte Schreiber. Picture: Charlotte Schreiber.The book features words from Sonya Barber and images, like this one of Hackney City Farm, from Charlotte Schreiber. Picture: Charlotte Schreiber.

“We’ve taken out a few entries from the first edition and added 23 new ones, giving a grand total of 66 amazing places to visit – from bookshops and pottery studios to restaurants and even a lighthouse.”

Published once again by Hoxton Mini Press – a company committed to “making collectable photography books that are accessible, affordable and playful” – Barber’s words are illustrated with beautiful pictures taken by photographer Charlotte Schreiber.

Barber continues: “It feels great to be able to champion the places that I love, and this was the perfect reason to revisit old faves and discover a few new ones.

“East London is constantly evolving, and a few of the places in the first edition had sadly closed.

Mare Street Market is another of the featured attractions. Picture: Charlotte Schreiber.Mare Street Market is another of the featured attractions. Picture: Charlotte Schreiber.

“Some areas have changed a bit in the last few years: for instance, many of my favourite late-night spots in Dalston have shut down. Meanwhile, there are more high-end restaurants in east London than ever – not that I could afford to eat there much if I didn’t have the excuse of researching a book!

“The good thing is that there are still lots of pockets of creativity and places that are accessible to everyone.”

Included among the line-up are the likes of Hackney City Farm and Ruby’s cocktail bar in Dalston, as well as Haggerston’s Burley Fisher bookshop and Temple of Hackney, a Morning Lane favourite serving vegan fast food. Each of the 66 sites are featured as part of a map also included in the book.

So how would the author herself recommend spending a day off in our neck of the woods?

“I’d grab a coffee at Violet Bakery to fuel myself for a bracing swim at London Fields Lido, and then head to E5 Bakehouse to stock up on carbs.

“Then I’d mosey down Broadway Market and along the canal to Victoria Park for tea at the Pavilion. After that I’d maybe head back to Dalston for yakitori at Jidori and a film at the Rio, perhaps followed by a few margaritas at Del 74 (if I don’t have to get up early the next day).”

An Opinionated Guide to East London (Second Edition), is published by Hoxton Mini Press on Thursday February 7. The book is £9.95. For more details, click here.



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