Even if you loathe the term, the culture or the very idea of hipsters, you should watch this program from the BBC. Hosted by management consultant, TV personality and stoggy old British guy straight from central casting Peter York, the Hipster Handbook explores what it means to be a hipster, how they came to be and it’s affect on consumer culture.
He focuses on the once dodgy neighborhoods of Shortditch, Bethnal Green and Hackney in east London. I was hanging in those areas before it was cool, which in itself a hipster idea.
York illustrates the global meaning of hipster culture — artists and entrepreneurs go to run down area for cheap rent, area becomes cool, independent businesses open up, rents rise, gentrification grows, locals get priced out and the backlash begins. This happens in every major city in the world.
Give the show a full watch below because it will point out decent places to visit for shopping, relaxing, grooming, drinking and eating. Here are a few of the places shown in the video that I’ve frequented:
— The Cereal Killer Cafe — this cereal-themed eatery bore the brunt of the backlash against gentrification. The locals armed with paint, pitchforks and torches protested against the cafe located on Brick Lane because … umm … because successful business shouldn’t exist? If you are there on a day without a riot outside, peruse the international selection of fine breakfast cereal paired with your choice of milk.
— The Electric Cinema — this multi-function event spaces shows movies, has a full-cafe, bar and barber shop. I like the cinema because of the comfy recliners which makes it feel like a living room.
— Blitz — The main reason I would head straight to Shoreditch when I was in town was for Rough Trade Records, the £1 bagel shop and the vintage clothing stores. While Beyond Retro is my go-to shop in the area, Blitz has a better curated collection, which leads to insane prices on ironic t-shirts (£28).
— Murdock — Hipster men must have beards. I couldn’t tell where York visited to see some manscapping being performed, but the place I went to once set me back £90 for a shave, haircut and a glass of scotch. Yes, these were the days where I didn’t care about expenses. Anyway, it was damn a fine treatment I got from one of the barbers who could have doubled as a member of Mumford & Sons.
— Redchurch Brewery — As York points out, it seems that most of the craft movement in London takes place under railway arches. Such is the case for the taproom of Redchurch Brewery on Bethnal Green Road. With the beer named after London neighborhoods and tube stations, the head brewer cut his teeth at other well-known local craft breweries, The Kernal and Beavertown.
— Look Mum No Hands! — The finishing touch to the hipster lifestyle is a vintage-looking fixed gear bicycle. Combine that with the quest for a great cup of coffee and that will take you this bike shop and coffee cafe.