Clubs in Shoreditch
Established in 2010, this excellent Shoreditch venue quickly cemented itself as one of the most on-point clubbing spaces and gig venues in London, thanks to a booking selection that ignored genre and simply focused on quality. Scores of London's hippest punters and party-lovers flock to XOYO every weekend to hear the latest DJs, producers (and – on weekdays – bands and singer-songwriters) do their thing over the club's two floors. XOYO has run a regular residency series since 2014, asking top DJs (Eats Everything, Jackmaster, The 2 Bears, Simian Mobile Disco) to curate the club's Saturday night programme for three-month slots. The series proved extremely successful and 2019 brings yet more awesome selectors to whip up the crowds. There seems to be no stopping XOYO, and that's a fine thing indeed.
Despite its location at the epicentre of the Shoreditch party scene and its association with hipster bible Vice (which bought the place in 2004), the Old Blue Last does a remarkable job of defying preconceptions. Absent are the bare lightbulbs and brick walls of those that have arrived in its wake, and, while London- and US-made craft beers are available, big-brand brews like Heineken and Grolsch get prime representation on the taps. Furniture is minimal, something you’ll be thankful of from 7pm onwards, when nearby digital drones flock in to decompress over pints. It’s this enduring popularity – and a reputation for first-class live music – that’s elevated the Old Blue Last above other East End scene spots.
A classy basement bar in the trendy Ace Hotel in Shoreditch. Kitted out with its own stage and removeable tables and chairs, Miranda is the perfect place to host club nights, live performances, film screenings, stand-up, immersive evenings and private parties. See their website to find out what's coming up.
One of east London's few purpose-built venues, Cargo launched with a clubbing-focused profile, but has since radically expanded its live remit, which now ranges from art punk through dubstep to psychedelic prog and pop. Its programme also includes plenty of underground artists building themselves a profile, provides intimate showcases to big-name artists ahead of their record releases and hosts label parties. The outdoor courtyard acts as a third room, away from the often over-stuffed performance space and lounge-bar area, and gigs are usually staged seven days a week.
The Queen of Hoxton – pub, club and everything in between – offers an eclectic mix over two fun floors, with DJs playing on a cutting-edge disco/house tip on the weekends, while film nights, fringe theatre and food often take centre-stage during the week. Their huge rooftop is one of the funnest in London too – with an enormous wigwam set up during the winter months.
Co-owned by East End legend Jonny Woo, this agenda-setting LGBT+ venue hosts everything from cabaret to club nights and drag talent contests. Located just up the road from Shoreditch in Haggerston, it's a welcoming space with a bar for casual drinks and a disco room downstairs for dancing and other events.
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.
There's more to this two-floor, pay-by-the-hour co-work space on Kingsland Road than just the desk space. There's a cocktail lounge, a café and a programme of events ranging from launch parties and DJ sets to spoken word, poetry and industry talks. During the day (from 8am-6pm) it's a pay-by-the-hour venue, but then it's open to all.
The appropriation of an icon is pretty blatant at this popular east London lounge bar-cum-club, with name and inspiration coming from king of cool, Steve McQueen. They're admirably quick to admit it too, so expect an homage, with plenty of pictures of the man on set peppering the walls. Many head down for the regular funky house nights that take place in the club downstairs, with nights usually kicked off with drinks in the more chilled-out bar – expect a long list of cocktails as well as high-end spirits served at the table. Beers include Sagres, Kronenbourg, Moretti and Sol. There's a restaurant too, with a menu taking influence from across the globe.
Local lad Stuart Patterson took over the Medicine Bar in 2007, transforming it into this ‘real house’ bar-club. One of the East End’s best medium-sized venues, East Village is spread across two floors with a laid-back lounge space on the ground floor and a serious beat basement below. The top-notch, eclectic programming of DJs at East Village should suit any sophisticated clubber, with everything from monthly reggae sessions from old master David Rodigan to the finest house, disco and techno sounds from a glittering array of big names DJs (Luke Solomon, Juan Atkins, Skream, Prosumer and Norman Jay) and the capital’s best underground party crews: Low Life, Loose, To The Bone and more.
A two-floor Shoreditch party spot, this Rivington Street bar-cum-club proves a pull for the party crowd throughout the week. There's something going on pretty much every night, from live acts and DJs to comedy nights and open mic sessions. Keep an eye on their website for regular updates. It's not all about the party though, with cracking Turkish food on offer too and a strong beer selection.
London’s trend for pub-clubbing continues apace in this revamped Shoreditch spot. During the day, it’s a good old East End boozer, but at night, the two-floor space turns into a disco hotspot. Thanks to some quality programming, some of the scene’s best DJs, including the likes of Fabric’s Craig Richards, Secretsundaze’s James Priestley and the legendary Greg Wilson, have played in one of the pub’s three rooms. Its latest addition, the Boudoir, could rival fellow pub-club the Lock Tavern as having the capital’s dinkiest dancefloor, which makes for an intense dancing experience. Further perks include a late license, the homemade grub and purse-friendly cover charges.
No-one quite knew what would happen to 89 Great Eastern Street when the popular East Village club closed suddenly in 2014. Thankfully, in March 2014 Trapeze opened, ensuring that one of Shoreditch's best-loved clubbing spaces didn't go to waste. Trapeze is a two-floor venue with a bar and kitchen up top (themed, as you might guess, around a colourful, twisted circus) and an intimate basement club down below. The house, disco and funk feel of East Village's programming remains a fixture at Trapeze thanks to EV's Stuart Patterson remaining in control of the line-ups, and you can expect to see all manner of top DJs spinning tunes to a crowd that know – and love – their house music. Terry Farley, Marshall Jefferson and Joey Negro have all played sets there, so expect acts of a similarly high calibre to continue setting the scene. Hip hop fans can also get their fix from occasional nights run by prime London beat crew The Doctor's Orders.
What’s on? Club nights in Shoreditch
The long-running hip hop and R&B night now has a Friday night residency at Colours Hoxton, the venue formerly known as Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen. The first Friday of the month features music from Emily Rawson’s all-female DJ collective ‘Rock The Belles x Hiphop Hype’, while the second Friday of the month has an ‘Everything R&B’ theme – expect to hear everyone from TLC to MJB. Then the third Friday of the month is branded ‘Back to the Old Skool’, so expect bangers from the ’90s and ’00s, and the final Friday brings ‘The Missy Elliott Party’ where you can get ur freak on and lose control until 2am. Ace.
This new Saturday night staple at Shoreditch club XOYO is a response to rising prices on the London scene and a growing reliance on superstar headliners. Doing things their own sweet way, Pleasurehood instead hands over the decks to a fab five of resident DJs (Joshua James, Coco Cole, Luke Solomun, Eliza Rose and HiFi Sean) and sells early-bird tickets for a fiver every week. ‘We want our dance floor to be affordable for everyone’, they say. Preach.
Quentin Tarantino loves a bit of gore so spending Halloween night listening to his greatest soundtrack hits performed by an orchestra makes a twisted kind of sense. Fancy dress is encouraged – dig out that yellow catsuit, ‘Kill Bill’ fans – and ‘jaw-dropping visuals’ are promised, too. Frankly, it sounds like a bloody good time all round.
Cargo, a Shoreditch club with a large outdoor terrace area, is doing NYE with ‘pure non-stop party vibes’. DJs will spin commercial club music and, in a separate room, R&B and hip hop, while you sustain yourself with street food, drinks from the tiki bar and cocktails. Oh, and if you like confetti canons, you won’t be disappointed.
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