I’m dancing! I have two cocktails in my hands and I’m shaking my hips and I AM BEYONCE. I’m laughing, surrounded by a group of strangers and I feel entirely at ease. Cocky even! Who would have thought it and, on a London dance floor? A dance floor in a city, which gives the impression, it would sooner stab you than shake your hand.
I’m on a tour with the London app, Hype and I actually feel pretty cool about it.
Even meeting at Aldgate East, then standing in a circle telling the rest of the tour group my name, somehow feels painless.
Perhaps it’s because I am ‘Dating Blogger’ and I often find myself doing embarrassing, stare at the floor, red face inducing activities. And with the added desperate twist of having to introduce myself to a group, half of whom I hope will find me attractive. As for the other half, well I’m just hoping they wont bitch about my outfit in the toilets…
…Or maybe it’s because Shane is our East London Tour guide and, he looks every inch the man for the job. Understatedly cool. He’s sporting two neat little buns at the back of his head and, I notice, the remnants of gold nail varnish on his fingers. He’s American too, so instantly my brain is trained to like him, from a childhood of Nickelodeon and later every single Hollywood ‘world disaster’ movie.
Setting off I mingle in with a group of girls with whom I feel instantly part of the same flock. They’re around my age, standing, grinning at the group and me in anticipation. They’re also possibly wearing Topshop.
By the time we reach our first spot, a sweet shop called Spun (which looks like it’s been plucked from a corner of Willy Wonker’s. -If Wonker had been a hipster) I feel as though I’ve made friends!
We get straight into making lollypops! I never knew that I never knew how lollypops were made!
And guys FYI – there are freebies and tasters and you get to keep the lolly that you make!! Not one for the diabetics but I recommend this place for kids and sweet tooth junkies like myself!
(Spun also told me that there may in fact be a dating event happening there so watch this space!)
Lollies in hand the Hype gang and I set off on admittedly a long walk into Shoreditch – definitely not a night for heels, ladies!
I take the opportunity to grab a different member of the group and I get talking to a sweet guy from Michigan. Still at University and still not allowed to drink in his home country. The night was to be somewhat of an alternative education for him.
As we reach Shoreditche’s newest food market, Pump, I take a moment to look around at the group. There are about 20 of us, ranging from our early twenties through to… well I’m not good at guessing ages and I’d hate to offend anyone who I told about this blog… But lets say it’s a mix. Everyone is chatting. Everyone is getting along without the awkward pauses or sizing each other up.
Walking around Pump the once abandoned petrol station, now foodie heaven, it takes me about 20 minutes to figure out which stall I want to eat from and, then almost as long to get served. My advice is don’t hang out at a trendy Shoreditch food market at peek time if you’re on a schedule. But, my Japanese hotdog is delicious, if a tad over priced and soon we’re back on the move.
I would have loved to have hung out longer, maybe bought a few over priced beers, but Hype is more of a taste of what the city has to offer. At the start of the tour Shane had said that the app is a bit like your best friend “who knows all the cool new spots in town” and as we arrived at Translate a cool (not so new) bar in town I had to admit he was right.
Just what you would expect from a Shoreditch cocktail bar: Cool, moody lighting, hot bartenders and it’s just small enough to make you feel as though you’re part of an elite club where you just managed to squeeze in!
The cocktail list has its new spin on old classics and for a relatively small list its pretty eclectic. Happy Hour runs from 4pm – 9pm EVERYDAY so the prices when we arrive were super reasonable!
Feeling buzzed from sugar, full on hotdog and a little loosened up from the world’s strongest mojito (curtsey of Translate), we headed to our final stop on the Hype mystery tour of cool!
We ended up at a Be At One.
…Now call me a snob but I am not a fan of a chain. And, with all the ‘hype’ leading up to cocktails in the trendiest part of the city (a part of the city in which you can’t even use the word trendy – unless it’s laced with irony) I was a little disappointed to land at one of the most soul crushing cocktail chains in the city.
But not only am I a snob I am also an optimist and by this point I’m a little tipsy. So I follow the group and, agree to be branded with the Be At One stamp on my right hand, letting the bartender know that I’m ‘Part of the Group’ - entitled to some sort of VIP service!
So slap my wrist and call me a bitch too. The place is great! I forget it’s a chain instantly, we get given a complimentary tray of shots. And, FYI they’re made of the strongest stuff since the rise of the Translate Mojito! Then we’re all off to the dance floor.
I later find out that the stamp I so begrudgingly accepted gains me two for one at the bar!
"I’ll have TWO margaritas please!"
Tequila fuelled dancing follows:
My new friends and I dance to every song and shriek ‘This is my JAM!’ at almost every tune!
A group of us leave arm in arm, (the three girls and the guy from Michegan) at around midnight, to catch the tube at old street. I exchange numbers with them all, not in the hopes of a date but because we’ve all had an awesome night together!
So the point of this blog has been to make the most of my single status. To find dates and dating events, test run apps and nights out, for my fellow superhero singles out there!
Hype is a free app. Not a dating app but a way to meet genuinely cool and interesting people who are up for fun and exploring the city.
Wait… doesn’t that sound familiar? Isn’t that the kind of person we would all love to date?
Hype is ace if you’re new to London or just haven’t found your tribe yet. Yes it might sound kind of lame to join a group of strangers on a tour, but has sitting at home tweeting and watching reality TV found you a whole gang of mates yet?
Swallow your pride, fear and inhibitions and whatever your status, get yourself on Hype and join one of their free tours. Who knows who you’ll meet or where you’ll end up dancing..