Playing hard to get has become a highly developed tactic: bars in London’s East End try hard to avoid looking like they’re, well, trying too hard. Based on appearances alone, scene-makers Pablo Flack and David Waddington’s Bistrotheque has perfected this art. Located in a converted clothing factory on an unprepossessing Hackney side-street filled with identical industrial buildings, Bistrotheque – with impressive self-confidence – eschews any exterior decoration that might distinguish it from anonymity (from Cambridge Heath Road, it’s the first entrance on the left – a discreet concrete courtyard). Upstairs, you’ll find a whitewashed brasserie – the best and still most fashionable in a now-fashionable area – and downstairs, a comfortable bar with a nicely spare colour scheme (mostly black) and not-too-loud music. Given its far-flung location, the crowd is ‘genuine’ New East End – fashion types, artists or those connected to the local gallery scene, and a generous camp of gays, to whom Bistrotheque’s girly cocktail menu may well be targeted. The scene is completed with regular outre cabaret and tranny comedy in the ‘Cabaret Room’ where, amusingly, not trying hard goes out the window.