It doesn’t sound like a place for an exciting night out, but behind the sedate name is one of the most consistently creative bars in London. The Book Club is a popular, laid back, lived-in basement bar that originally helped Hoxton earn its hip title, and in intervening years little has changed down in the basement, which remains plain and comfortable.
You could visit for the drinks alone: cocktails are served in glasses or jugs to share, and come with names like Don’t Go To Dalston, or the Lorraine Kelly (made with tangy grapefruit and rum) – the emphasis is on fun and easy drinkability rather than serious mixology. (A better beer selection would be welcome, however.) You could visit for the food: breakfast starts at 8am, when the laptop tappers who work in the area use it for off-the-cuff morning meetings; lunch and dinner are simple but filling and homely, with a small menu including the likes of bar snacks, nachos and sharing platters (worth a punt).
Or – and this is what sets Book Club apart – you could visit for the packed timetable of events, which includes bands, DJs, lunchtime discos, film dance-a-longs, alternative dating nights, ping-pong tournaments, informative talks, life drawing and classic video game nights. The young and relaxed crowd that pack into the spacious artwork-dotted space and its atmospheric basement are here for a bit of everything.