35–47 Bethnal Green Road, Bethnal Green, London E1 6LA
This aptly named arts venue successfully reflects the ethnic make-up of the Bethnal Green area, with an astonishingly diverse and packed programme of live music, art, cinema, theatre and lectures. From poetry slams to Trinidadian liming sessions, Cuban films to ping-pong tournaments and political theatre to Brazilian DJ sets, it’s consistently vibrant and happening. The purpose-built centre, with its distinctive slatted metal shutters, is an impressive addition to the area’s architectural jigsaw, too. The café is a letdown though – you’re better off eating on nearby Brick Lane.