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Nightlife, theatre and clubbing in London
Downstairs the BGWMC is the same working men’s club – with many of the same working men – that it’s been for 50 years. Upstairs it’s a retro-tinted home to cutting-edge entertainment including comedy, cabaret, magic and, if Diane Evans is to be believed, ‘nights of shameless and spontaneous decadence and debauchery’. Ooh Diane!
The home of the English Folk Dance and Song society is every bit as eccentric as you’d expect. As well as promoting barn-dancing, quadrille, ceilidh and country dancing, the venue hosts less active and more contemporary entertainment and, accordingly to folkie Jane Newburgh, ‘a bar where men with major facial hair consume more beer than darts players do’.
For those who like their live music challenging, unpredictable, improvised or just plain weird, Dalston’s Cafe Oto is the nuts. With ‘an intimate vibe, spot-on acoustics and beers from the Kernal microbrewery,’ says Jonathan Douglass, ‘it’s every muso’s dream venue.’
If Secret Cinema (motto: ‘tell no one’) hoped to remain a cult concern, they’ve failed miserably. Readers L Hesks and Stephanie Haywood are among many thousands of fans of this monthly gathering that once drew 15,000 cinephiles to Alexandra Palace to watch Lawrence of Arabia. Visit www.secretcinema.org for details of screenings.
Southwark Playhouse has established itself as the go-to place for exciting, inventive theatre, and its dark and musty space in the vaults beneath London Bridge station offers bags of character. With its pay-as-you-go pass, Southwark Playhouse also proves to be fantastic theatre at fantastic value.
Recently voted London’s best music venue by Time Out readers, this Grade-I listed gothic masterpiece hosts the free Daylight Music series most Saturday lunchtimes where, says Tim Britton, ‘you can see a lot of people introducing their children to music’. Nice.