SECRET GEMS: The Bridge - Shoreditch High Street

Wednesday 5th March 2014 | Bloddick

Wandering around London on a random night can turn into a great adventure. And every adventure aims to discover its 'Secret Gem'. We found an absolutely fine one!

I was looking for a place to write, and hide, on a Monday evening. It was early, probably around 7.30 pm, and I didn't feel like staying at home to work on the computer. It would turn out to be a sad experience, since the triple room I share with two other guys doesn't really represent to me a huge source of inspiration. So, living very close to Brick Lane, I just headed there and then kept walking towards Shoreditch High Street. I passed the station and then took the main road. After less than 10 minutes walk, I found myself right underneath the overground rail that crosses the street from above. And “The Bridge” was there, squeezed into a small corner of dark.

A charming and suffused light came from the inside, making it look like a lone shelter in a wasteland. I mean, that area is not much of a wasteland. It's still freaking Shoreditch, probably one of the coolest areas to hang out in London. But still, in that particular case, the metropolitan surrounding didn't give me the impression to find myself in a trendy spot. It might had been because of the rail covering the whole skyline, or because of an irrelevant number of people passing by. Point is, though, that it would have not looked this fascinating if it wasn't for that.

I walked in, and a bunch of old people were talking in a foreign language right at the entrance. Probably a mediterranean language.

I asked for a beer, and the barman kindly indicated the refrigerator where I could get a bottle from a quite wide selection of blondes. I got a bit disappointed for not getting a pint instead, but I soon realized the place is definitely more into coffee than alcohol. They have these really cool old machines to make coffee, but I don't even know if they are working, and they also have some other very particular antiques, like an early 1900's cash machine.

Anyway, I payed the price of a pint for my bottle of beer (£4.50) and moved upstairs, where the real magic struck in. I climbed the tight stairs and travelled back in time. It felt like I had been taken back to the Victorian Age. There were big draperies and tents, comfy and cozy sofas all over the place. Bizarre and yet sophisticated lamps rose all around the room to spread an intimate light that would reach every single angle. Yeah, I kinda felt like in Woody Allen's “Midnight in Paris”. Except there was no famous artist or writer from the past, and everybody inside there looked like a hipster. Including me.

I sat down and enjoyed the magnificent view for some time, sipping my Czech lager beer.

The music was great as well, with the only problem being that the cd or the playlist had to be restarted every once in a while, creating moments of absolute silence in which any conversation going on in the room could be heard. It can definitely get awkward.

But all of that meant nothing anymore when “Wish you were here” by Pink Floyd started playing. I couldn't ask for more. Actually, I could. I asked for another beer. I gave the waitress 5 pounds and told her she could keep the change, but she returned it anyway. At this point I would say also the service at the table is really nice. There is always someone around, and that someone doesn't even expect a tip, even though they gave me the impression they wanted to do things too quickly. You know when you're not even done with your beer and they are already asking you if you want another one? Or right after you took the last sip and you place the empty bottle on the table, it just disappears as if a ninja passed by? I mean, that attitude clearly doesn't fit with that incredibly relaxing environment.

After I finished the second beer, I got up from my bunk. I was calm and satisfied. I had spent almost 2 hours inside there but they felt like barely 20 minutes. I guess time goes faster when you travel back into it.

p.s. WiFi is Free!

p.p.s. Better visiting the place during weekdays and pretty early

Here are the directions to get there, Enjoy:,-0.0779519,16z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x48761cb06f953a1f:0x1e78faa70d611307