Our Beyond Retro London stores are not vintage clothing warehouses in the middle of nowhere. We didn’t want your visit to see us to be a mission up the M25 trapped in a tiny car with your most annoying mate because, despite their insistence on playing the Black Eyed Peas on repeat, they’re the only one who can drive. We chose to open up in our three favourite parts of the capital, so the jaunt down to your fave Beyond Retro isn’t just a shopping trip, but a full day (and night) out in one of the most lively areas of not just London, but… well, anywhere!
TBH, we picked scenes that would be more of a laugh for us as well. Our crew have smashed heads together and come up with some neighbourly knowledge, so you can have an affordable experience of our ends, Beyond Retro-style.
From the Shop Floor to the Local Tour
Each of the three stores is bang in the middle of a cultural hot-spot, which in turn are very different. We’re all about individuality, so here are few suggestions to help bring out the unique personalities of the areas.
For a long time, Soho was famous for being London’s red-light district; both steamy bedrooms, and a hotbed of arts and culture. These days, the main roads nearby have become more mainstream, but in the backstreets surrounding Beyond Retro, you will still find little gems paying homage to the scene of the old Soho, very much keeping the new one alive and kicking.
Denmark Street: Full of music culture, this guitar shop heaven is home to many bars and live venues. The likes of The Stones, The Beatles, John Denver and Black Sabbath have played here. Why not check out our vintage band tee's, an essential for anyone wardrobe!
Photographer’s Gallery: One of the more affordable galleries in central London, and the first ever in the UK dedicated to photography. Always has a buzz and truly eye-opening exhibits.
The Soho Theatre: On-the-button comedy and theatre, on a mission to make you laugh and think. First chance to see some fresh material from some big acts, and you can be guaranteed that if you’re not familiar with the names you see listed here, you will be soon.
Probably the fastest-changing area of London, Dalston is a vibrant home to people of all ages and backgrounds. A warm, tolerant neighbourhood feel is essential to the locals and makes it a haven for those who have just arrived.
Rio Cinema: Possibly the best independent cinema in London. Dates back over 100 years and hugely important to the community. Mainstream and world cinema, LGBT-friendly nights, vegan food… open 364 days a year.
Ridley Road Market: African prints, phone chargers from 1998, far too many pigs trotters for comfort, this classic London street market has everything. “Pound yer bananas! Two paaahhhnd yer paaaairs!” Actually, a big bowl of any fruit or veg is a quid here, including avocados. Remember to check the ones at the bottom of the bowl too, some of them are, erm… pre-smashed. Ideal for a packed lunch at our next venue…
Eastern Curve Garden: This free-to-enter East London oasis provides relief from the busy and urban surrounds, and perfectly sums up the neighbourhood vibes Dalston exudes. A team of volunteers runs a café, with a pizza oven, home-made soups and cakes, and independently-brewed beers. The proceeds all go to keeping this vital, tranquil green space growing. Join in with the love.
Our first UK Beyond Retro, set up in an old dairy, lies just off the world-famous Brick Lane. This area was the most difficult to come up with the list for because you just can’t go wrong. This really is London’s centre for vintage and alternative shopping. Here are a few of our favourites.
This Shop Rocks: If it could, Google would mark this on its maps with an X. A treasure trove of vintage homeware, clothes, books, furniture and toys.
Rough Trade: Record shop, label, with a café by day and gig venue by night, Rough Trade is a rite of passage for any breakthrough band or artist. Keep your eyes peeled for record launches, and get a gig with a signed vinyl LP, all for the price of a ticket!
The Vintage Market: Even we can’t stock everything. After picking your pieces at Brick Lane Beyond Retro, go on a vintage voyage to complete the look by heading to Lunettes London for vintage specs and sunnies, pop-in to a pop-up and unearth a pre-loved pearl, and dig up some vintage vinyl at, well… Vintage Vinyl. Did I use the word ‘vintage’ yet?
Special Mention: Nomadic Community Garden.
From the Racks to the Snacks
Make no mistake, shopping sustainably is an exciting challenge, and you gonna gets hungry. Satisfying shopping isn’t as simple as grabbing a one-use-only t-shirt from PriMan and covering it with greasy fingers of vintage oil from the bottom of the Chicken Cottage fryer. Let’s eat the way we look: economical and delicious.
Thirty years before the vegan junk food explosion, Mildreds was one of the first veggie restaurants to move away from dull pulses and dry desserts. Burgers and pies stand out on an international menu, and the puddings are as full-on sexy as the 80s S&M dungeon this restaurant was built on. No bookings, come early.
Mangal Pide & Lahmacun Salonu
Home to a titanic Turkish community, many of the restaurants would be worth travelling across London for. We’ve gone for Mangal Pide & Lahmacun Salonu, as it’s our favourite spot to grab a lahmacun (lah-ma-choon, kinda Turkish pizza wrap) on our lunch break for only £2. All the salad, all the sauces please, boss! For vegans, there are a thousand falafel places nearby, or if you are chock-full of chickpeas, check out Fed By Water, or Dalston’s recent addition to the Mildreds family.
The north end has bagels for under two quid, the south end has curry for days (sometimes literally; never underestimate the power of the phall), and you are encouraged to haggle your discount with the dudes out the front of the curry houses. My PB is 30% off each, two free beers cheers Monsoon. Our recommendation here though is Mooshies, a completely-plant-based burger bar. Healthy junk food?!!! Keep up.
From the Shop to the Chop (Stylists)
You’re not done yet. You’ve got that new garms feeling, and you can’t wait to show it off. You’re probably gonna sleep in ‘em tonight, but first, time to take the new you out for a spin. Chuck on your clobber in the restaurant bogs and… wait. Your barnet is a mess. So much static from trying on 70s shirts all day, your perfect peroxide lid has ended up looking like Boris Johnson’s crotch. Time for a fix-up.
Not much in the budget range, but for a top-class cut head to Beak Street’s vintage style Barber Barber, or around the corner from our shop to Fish London, whose first-rate range of products is beginning to make it onto the high street.
A short bus ride from our store, ‘London’s Cutest Hair Salon’ Rockalily Cuts is worth the trip. Friendly, cosy and specialising in bright colours… the ultimate vintage salon experience. For guys cuts, the Turkish barbers nearby will do a grand job for a fraction of the price. Especially if you have hairy ears.
Make an exception to the old rule. Judge Not Another Salon by its cover. There is nowhere like this place. Looking initially a bit like an episode of Maniac, step inside and it’s a playground. Also, a big retro shout-out to The Hairy Bastard, timeless experience at about half the price.
From the Shop to a Drop of Hop (Places for Beer)
I’m thirsty. Are you thirsty? I’m very very thirsty, for a proper pint. A proper pint, at a proper pub. Poured properly down my proper gullet. Pub? These are our regulars. Let your grub go down a bit, do up your trousers and we’ll see ya there.
Finding an affordable pint in a pub central in Soho can be a challenge. Ticking the boxes is our local Sam Smith’s pub The Red Lion. A bit chicer is the French House – opened in 1891, by a German, obviously – a Soho boozer with a Parisienne vibe.
Home to a lot of bars, good pubs are a little harder to come by in Dalston. But no matter, because here stands The Shacklewell Arms, everything you need. Great pints, a crowd of happening young regulars, and a huge range of live gigs and DJs almost every night keep the feels strong.
A proper boozer. The carpeted, wood-panelled Pride of Spitalfields is possibly one of the most authentic pubs in London. You get the feeling the staff turned up for work in the 1960s and somehow haven’t left the building since. If you can wade through the street-pint city-boys outside… This. Is. London. If you’re after being a bit more hip, try our neighbours at the Carpenter’s Arms.
From the Shop to the Bop (Places to Dance)
Thirst quenched. No? Course not. But you’ve had a sit-down, and you’re ready to get your jive/groove/skank/foxtrot/dagger on (delete as applicable).
When in Rome, ride on a moped and shout at pizza. When in Soho? Go to G-A-Y. If you’re after something a bit more classic, time-travel to Trisha’s in your red lipstick and 50s dress and go for a boogie in the back room. This place hasn’t changed since that dress was born.
If you’re new to Dalston, try out Dalston Superstore or Birthdays. Our favourite is the sweaty little basement Vogue Fabrics Dalston (or VFD). Self-styled ‘incubator of queer arts’, you won’t find a more inclusive space anywhere in London. Join their social revolution. Dance, party… just be.
A stone’s throw from Shoreditch, the nightlife isn’t difficult to find yourself immersed in. Café 1001, just up the road from our gaff, turns from daytime café to all-night playground. If we had a penny for every time we’d found ourselves settling down for a coffee and ending up raving till sunrise, we’d have… well obviously, we wouldn’t actually have very much money, it’s a pants metaphor. But it happens a lot.