Brick Lane vs Rough Trade

Brick Lane vs Rough Trade

If you consider yourself to be pretty hip and like to make sure that you stay on trend with music, food and everything else, then you’re sure to be interested in spending time on Brick Lane or at one of the Rough Trade stores in London.

Although there are arguments for which is better than the other, the reality is that they’re both pretty great and it’s hard to make a closed case on whether the shops on Brick Lane are better than the Rough Trade businesses.

Instead, we think it’s much more helpful to you if we pick out some of the highlights of each for you to make a decision on some fun things to do when you’re in the city.

Brick Lane – Beigel Bake

Although it might not look like much, Beigel Bake is an absolute institution in this part of the city, particularly with those who are out late on an evening.


There’s a lot of walking around involved when you visit Brick Lane, so having a delicious bagel is a good way to make sure that you don’t go hungry when you’re exploring. The signature flavour is an enticing salt beef with pickle and mustard and the best thing is that you can get it at any time of the day because Beigel Bake is open 24 hours a day, all week long.

If you’re here first thing in the morning and don’t fancy something savoury, then we recommend that you come here for a sweet pastry or a slice of cake. Treat yourself – you’re on holiday after all.

Rough Trade: Live events

There are two Rough Trade spots in London, one in the east at the Old Truman Brewery and the other in the west on Talbot Road. There also happens to be one in Nottingham and another in New York – if you fancy going on a far-flung trip after visiting the spots in London.

For those who aren’t familiar with Rough Trade, it’s basically a hub of music and is extremely well known for its live events. Bands from all over the world come to play sets in the different stores and the calendar of events is seriously impressive.

If you are a follower of hipster bands and trends, you’re probably going to be very into the different bands who come here. Previous acts have included the likes of Friends – from Brooklyn – and one of the upcoming gigs for this year is Curse of Lono. What’s even better is that bands often have a Q&A or signing of merchandise or music after their show so you can meet the people behind the music.

Brick Lane: Close-Up Cinema

If you consider yourself something of a movie buff, then you’re going to love being around Brick Lane because there are lots of cinemas for you to visit.

Rich Mix is a great spot for new releases, but it also has an exhibition space and live music programme, so you could spend most of the day there.


Electric Cinema is something of a special treat though, as everything about it screams luxury from the squashy armchairs, thick carpeted floors and expertly crafted drink and food options. It’s a little touch of old-world glamour set amongst a very modern London.

However, where you really should go is Close-Up Cinema, if only because it’s a lesser-known spot so it isn’t likely to be overly busy. Primarily, there are films screened here that reflect the history of cinema and features can be both reel-to-reel and digital projections.

If you are someone who is really into your movies and history, we’re sure you’ll appreciate Close-Up Cinema’s library and archive, which houses more than 19,000 different titles from all ages of cinema.

Rough Trade: Club

If you like what you see at Rough Trade’s live events, then we think you’d also appreciate being part of their club, which encourages music fans to stay up-to-date with the most interesting and sometimes unusual artists and recordings.

When you join the club, you’ll get a new LP vinyl in the post at the start of every month, along with a copy of the Rough Trade Membership Magazine.

You’ll get lots of different perks and treats through the post from the club too, such as early-bird tickets to gigs, invites to member-only events and early pressings of new music that other people won’t have access to. Being a member also means that you’ll be directly supporting independent businesses and acts.

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