This wonderful little club, tucked away in London's East End has the air of a fin de siecle absinthe bar, a Hogarthian gin bar, a shebeen straight out of "Playboy Of The Western World" and a bohemian hippy squat all rolled into one deliciously decadent package. The club inhabits a single large room on the ground floor of Cable Street studios with industrial ceiling girders and pipes, original parquet flooring, a stage made out of pallets but with beautifully made velvet drapes, a collection of decrepit, mismatched and wonderfully comfortable furniture scattered around, a small bar, a lost-looking grandfather clock and a piano (of course). Ancient and battered musical instruments from all around the world hang on the walls amongst huge, gaudy post-impressionist and surreal paintings which look disturbingly like the club's regulars, a few bookcases (full) and drawers of board games fill in the gaps and streamers of ribbons and paper chains festoon everything (well, it was coming up to Christmas when we visited). The bar has an interesting range of beers, wines and spirits including Fentiman's entire range of authentic Victorian soft drinks -that was us sold on the ginger beer for the rest of the evening, whilst my mum enjoyed a lemonade. A charming young lady reserved a table for us when I contacted her through their website (and facebook, just to make sure) and was ever-attentive in the dual roles of barmaid and bus-girl. The night we were there was their regular Tuesday drop-in jam session for Celtic / Scottish / mediaeval music, which attracted no less than nine violinists, a guitarist, a flautist, two banjo players and a lively and mixed crowd of hippies, folkies, crusties, trusties, beardies, weirdies, nerds, geeks, all of a most bohemian bent, intent on having a good time and covering all ages from dancing toddlers to my septuagenarian mother. If this is what this amazing discovery of a jive dive is like on a Tuesday, the quietest night of the week, it must be quite incredible on a weekend with live balkan / gypsy / jazz / kezmer / blues / rock'n'roll / everything and anything! Highly recommended at any time and we shall return for sure.
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