Free clubbing in London

Traditionally, post-pub partying involved forking out a fortune to get past the velvet rope into a heaving nightclub - but now dance emporia across the capital are ditching the door charge. Time Out presents your guide to the clubs that are doing it for nothing across the capital

  • Free clubbing in London

    Antisocial at Hoxton's Bar Music Hall


  • ‘Are you writing about this? You’ve got to write “rave on”, because this is crazy, people are fucked up, they’re asleep on the sofas, they’re in fancy dress, they’re dancing like fools… The theme of this party is rave. You’ve got to write “rave on”!’Okay! Okay! When three girls tell you what to write at 11pm on a Sunday night, you do it. That’ll teach me to get out a notepad in a nightclub. This was no ordinary night, though. People were ‘fucked-up’ in the messy, carefree, hell-bent-on-hedonism style of clubbers who’d already been out for 24 hours. We were in the T Bar at Fabric’s seventh birthday after-party and most of the crowd had carried on here after Fabric’s marathon birthday bash finished around noon.

    You might have expected more of them to be stretched out on the low sofas or slumped in the stylish café chairs, but the brilliant techno-house mix played by Ricardo Villalobos and Craig Richards kept on firing up a crowd so they just couldn’t stop. Maybe music is the answer; certainly the stacks of Funktion One speakers standing proudly around this loft- style space make the basslines sound even deeper and a whole lot better…

    This was a one-off, but it’s not unusual to hear world-class DJs playing at the T Bar and, whoever plays, every night (except New Year’s Eve) is gratis. The T Bar hosts nights where labels like Haywire and Freak’n’Chic showcase their artists, nights like Andrew Weatherall and Ivan Smagghe’s rockabilly-to-techno monthly, Wrong Meeting, the packed Monday monthly Stink where Crosstown Rebel’s Damian Lazarus spins alongside Michael Mayer of Kompakt Records, all to punters who can’t quite believe their luck. And they’ve got some great weekly clubs, too.

    The T Bar has blazed a trail for price-less nightlife and other bigger venues, like Bar Music Hall in Curtain Road and the new Big Chill House in Kings Cross, are doing likewise. Of course, DJ bars have delivered free partying for years, but these venues are operating on a larger scale, yet their standards remain consistently high.

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