By Amy Laughinghouse
Photography by Lisa Linder
Experience Olympic spaces from an athlete’s perspective at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which is opening key sites from the 2012 London Games. Test your pedaling mettle on the velodrome cycling track, where athletes set 20 world records; unleash your inner Michael Phelps at the Aquatics Centre; and climb the scarlet spiral of the Arcelor-Mittal Orbit for views from 260 feet up. Thirty new shops and restaurants will also open in the East Village, as nearly 9,000 residents move into the transformed Athletes’ Village accommodations. Beyond the park, join locals in Stratford and an influx of artists and bohemians in Hackney Wick, where galleries, bars, and cafés are springing up in converted warehouses and factories.
Dine on Welsh lamb and aged rib eye alongside Britain’s most passionate sports fans at Café Football (Westfield Stratford City; 44-20/8702-2590), a new venture from Manchester United legends Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, with a menu by two-Michelin-star chef Michael Wignall. At Formans (Stour Road, Fish Island; 44-20/8525-2365), feast on house-smoked salmon while looking out at Olympic Stadium. Dane’s Yard Kitchen (133 High Street, Stratford; 44-20/8803-0003), with a canalside terrace, favors British fare such as smoked mackerel and Hereford steak.
Sip a pint at Crate (The White Building, Unit 7, Queens Yard, Hackney Wick; 44-78/3427-5687), a brewery housed in a former print factory. For a more traditional atmosphere, find a nook at King Edward VII (47 Broadway, Stratford; 44-20/8534-2313), a nineteenth-century wood-paneled pub that serves British beers and more than 100 wines.
Browse for jewelry, clothing, and accessories by East End artists at SHOP (7 Roach Road, Hackney Wick; 44-20/8985-7827) in Stour Space, which also houses a gallery and café. Vinyl Pimp (14 Felstead Street, Hackney Wick; 44-20/7998-8586), a record shop in a former shoe factory, stocks nearly 65,000 albums, with a focus on dance music from the past 30 years. The new Westfield Stratford City (2 Stratford Place, Montifichet Road, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park), one of the largest urban shopping centers in Europe, houses more than 250 stores, including classic British brands such as Mulberry, Russell & Bromley, Hawes & Curtis, and Jo Malone. The best spot in the mall for views across Olympic Park: John Lewis department store.
Originally appeared in Virtuoso Life magazine, March 2014.
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