Just when we thought things were looking up for London’s nightlife, what with a recent tweak to planning law that aimed to protect clubs from noise complaints, here comes another body blow to the capital’s party reputation. Dance Tunnel, one of the few recent purpose-built small clubs in London, has announced that it’ll shut in August. The venue in Dalston blames the ‘licensing climate’ in the borough of Hackney for its closure, implying that it was refused a licence for the opening hours required to make the venue work as a business.
It’s particularly shocking because Dan Beaumont, who opened Dance Tunnel just over three years ago, is a leading member of the Night Time Industries Association: a body that aims to get local authorities and clubs and bars into fruitful dialogue. When we spoke to Beaumont in 2013, at a time when Hackney Council regarded Dalston as being at ‘saturation point’ from a licensing point of view, he was optimistic about the future of Dalston’s thriving party scene: ‘I don’t think for a minute that Hackney [Council] are trying to shut down the night-time economy.’
But now that Dance Tunnel is about to join Plastic People, Madame Jojo’s and so many other great London venues that have shut in recent years, that optimism is starting to look more like wishful thinking. If London does eventually decide to appoint a night mayor like Amsterdam’s, he or she might not have much left to protect.
Update: an online petition has been launched asking Hackney Council to work with the venue and stop it from closing. Sign it here.