Looking for places to stay in east London? Want a pub-with-rooms in Shoreditch? Read our hotel review, and check out more pubs to stay at here…
The Buxton in a nutshell
A former Brick Lane boozer turned polished pub-with-rooms, reimagined by the team behind Commercial Street’s The Culpeper.
The heart of the action occurs in the slickly refurbished Victorian pub, on the ground floor (there are bedrooms and a roof terrace above). Tall, graceful arched windows introduce plenty of light, while a sweeping rosso levanto marble counter acts as a stylish focal point. Pendant lamps hang from high ceilings and polished, ruddy-brown wooden tables, retro stools and mustard loungers add to the mid-century feel. Abundant pot plants (we are in east London, after all) add verdant touches. We arrived late on a Friday afternoon and, because The Buxton does a brisk trade in post-work drinks, the vibe was decidedly buzzier than your typical hotel bar.
With an impressively modest flat rate of £100 per night (including breakfast and a welcome drink) for every room, it’s an astute option for solo travellers who have outgrown hostels, or those looking for a comfortable yet affordable base in this fashionable and often pricey part of London.
Which room should I book at The Buxton?
Bedrooms are on the small side, which is one reason for their affordable pricing. Clever design and attention to detail, however, ensures they don’t feel cramped. High ceilings and original features add space and character while whitewashed walls and smart navy accents lend a fresh and contemporary feel.
There are also plenty of creature comforts: beds are topped with thick, inky-hued blankets, shelves are stocked with coffee machines, fresh milk, water in reusable bottles, homemade biscuits and mini libraries. Bathrooms are equally cosy in size but are well presented and stocked with Bramley toiletries (in larger bottles, which makes them more eco-friendly).
The hotel’s position at the south end of busy Brick Lane means that some street noise is inevitable, including at night; if you’re a light sleeper, ask for a room on a higher floor.
The food and drink
Diners sit at a polished, oxblood-coloured counter that surrounds a compact open kitchen. It’s slightly hectic (you can sit further away, if you like) and punters ordering drinks can crowd into your personal space, so while The Buxton may not be the ideal spot for intimate date-night dinners, the atmosphere is enjoyably lively, and the service is prompt and efficient.
Food is affordably priced, with an emphasis on prime produce and seasonality. Meat (high-welfare native breeds from Swaledale in Yorkshire) is butchered in-house, and fish comes from day boats on the south coast. Simple dishes don’t stray far from British and European classics – the pithy menu covers everything from cottage pie to homemade tagliatelle – but they are well executed and deliver on flavour. Asparagus spears come draped in milky folds of stracciatella, with impeccably crispy, golden polenta chips, while pillowy gnocchi with umami wild garlic pesto has a thick parmesan cheese blanket. Rosy bavette steak, chimichurri sauce and Jersey Royals is perfectly done bistro food. Old-school desserts also impress, from a well-made rhubarb and custard tart to warm, springy doughnuts filled with homemade jam.
The wine list is made up of Old World vintages – we had a mineral chardonnay and a silky malbec – while a short cocktail list riffs on classics. Negroni lovers should try the Red Torch: a spicy, agave-inflected version which sees Olmeca Altos tequila matched with Cocchi Americano vermouth, Averna amaro, Campari and Angostura bitters. Beer drinkers will find the likes of Pravha pilsner and Shandon stout on tap, Sharps Atlantic and Anspach & Hobday pale ale on cask, and Camden Hells, Kernel IPA and Sassy Cidre in bottles. Bar snacks include charcuterie and cheese boards, terrines and rillettes, plus classics such as scotch eggs and chips with aïoli.
Head downstairs for breakfast after a night in the bar and you’ll find the space transformed, and surprisingly serene. Sip local Exmouth coffee while grazing from a continental buffet that includes sourdough toast, homemade jams and granola. Or order a cooked breakfast, including thick-cut English ham with poached eggs, mustard mayonnaise and, best of all, a brick-shaped potato rosti, all golden crispy edges and soft, fluffy interior.
What else can foodies do?
The Buxton’s convenient location in an area thronged with restaurants, shops, markets and bars makes it a base for exploration, rather than somewhere to hide away. On bohemian Brick Lane, you’ll find no shortage of places to eat and drink; try the street’s many curry houses, 24-hour bagel shops (salt beef is a must) plus nearby restaurants such as Lahpet, Blanchette, Smokestak and Sichuan Folk. Good local bars include The Cocktail Trading Co. and Apples & Pears.
Is it family friendly?
This is one to visit sans enfants – there’s no lift, which makes negotiating the hotel’s five floors tricky with a pram, and noise from the street might wake children up. Instead, enjoy a weekend spent exploring the city by yourself.
If you find the bar downstairs too busy, then take your drink up to The Buxton’s intimate roof terrace. It’s lined with herb beds (used in the kitchen) and has panoramic London views.
Words by Hannah Guinness