It’s hard to miss the fabulous display of high-heeled buxom womxn reading on the glass front of Brick Lane’s new shop. Considering all it has to offer, nor should you. Serving the area’s marginalised communities, the Glass House Project venues are exciting additions to Bethnal Green’s bustling hub.
The Glass House Projects is the umbrella to three unique venues in the heart of Shoreditch: The Common Press, a bookshop and cafe; The Commons, a multimedia events space; and The Common Counter, a soon to be restaurant and bar. They are all underpinned by their commitment to intersectionality and inclusivity.
They platform LGBTQ+ and other marginalised people and their work, providing a space for Londoners to come together under one roof.
Centering trans and non-binary people, women and people of colour in the heart of Shoreditch – London’s cultural and commercial hub – is nothing short of radical.
This community hub joins ranks with Bethnal Green’s notable history of queer politics, anti-racist movements and protests, and home to the institutional queer venue, Bethnal Green Working Mans Club. It stands in the footsteps of the ‘radical femme acid queens’ of 1973 who opened the gay bookshop and commune, the Bethnal Roujes. Down the road is the Brick Lane Bookshop, brought about through campaigns to champion the arts in the area.
Unlike many other inclusive spaces that came to early ends during the pandemic, The Glass House closed in lockdown as a restaurant and opened as an entirely evolved entity, gaining the two sister spaces. The owners’ flagship restaurants also include The Bun House, Wun’s Tea Room and the Pleasant Lady.
Walking into The Commons Press bookshop you will be welcomed with the smell of freshly brewed coffee and new books, with genres that range from graphic novels, cookbooks to LGBTQ+ dating zines. This space is a sober one, offering an alternative way to hangout or meet cute than in alcohol heavy contexts. Next door, catch people chatting away as they record podcasts in the pod lounge, open for hire.
Last week the bookshop celebrated its launch with a party, complete with an open mic extravaganza. You can find their October events schedule on their Instagram, which has a heavy focus on people of African descent in commemoration of Black History Month.
As proud allies to the Save Brick Lane campaign, the Glass House Projects offers its community a new establishment that we can get on board with. It champions the rights of those that are otherwise overlooked, and it looks like they’re going to have a good time whilst doing it.
If you enjoyed this, you may enjoy reading about the Brick Lane Bookshop.