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Music, Music venues Mornington Crescent
3 out of 5 stars
(29user reviews)
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Time Out says

Please note: Koko is currently closed while it undergoes a major refurbishment. It's due to re-open in spring 2020 - Time Out Music & Nightlife Editors.

Housed in an ornate, Grade II-listed building, this institution has endured through numerous incarnations. First opened on Boxing Day 1890, it was renamed The Camden Hippodrome nine years later, operating as a vaudeville house in which a young Charlie Chaplin trod the boards. Between 1913-40, the venue was a thriving cinema (often with supporting live acts) and subsequently (for 20 years from around 1945) a BBC theatre, which saw recordings of the legendary 'Goon Show'. In the '70s it was turned into a live music venue and renamed The Music Machine, before being taken over by Steve Strange and Rusty Egan of Visage in 1983 and undergoing yet another name change – to The Camden Palace. As such, it enjoyed a high profile on London's New Romantic club scene and hosted the very first London gig by Madonna, no less. It relaunched in the late '80s as an indie club and then - after closing its doors for refurbishment in 2004 – was rebranded as Koko. Despite the name change and major refit, it retains its indie/alternative pop/rock remit, while also embracing everything from hip hop to trance. With its colossal mirror ball as the ceiling centrepiece, its painted gargoyles and steep tiered balconies, Koko remains one of London's most atmospheric music venues.



Address: 1a
Camden High St
Transport: Tube: Mornington Crescent
Price: Prices vary
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Users say (29)

3 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:13
  • 3 star:6
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:3
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1 of 1 found helpful

I agree. Not the most welcoming of places. As for the refit?? I used to go there in the mid 90's and I could not tell what they had changed since then?... Sticky carpets, awful toilets and grumpy staff. Regretfully, best avoided.

1 of 1 found helpful

I don't get the idea here. It's a lovely building with an interesting layout, but they treat their customers like cattle. They charge insane prices for a can of appalling bitter emptied lovelessly into a thin plastic glass. Queues 10-deep at the bar. Events where the comperes verbally abuse people for needing the toilet while they're speaking (and I mean abuse, not joke about, Patrick Kielty). It's bad enough that you start to think, 'Well if you really don't want me here I'll leave.' You're just a commodity, being fleeced for as much as they can get away with. It's a shame, as it has so much potential. But it's top of my blacklist nowadays.


Brilliant venue!!! Loved the old school music hall feel. 

Amazing views of the stage from all the balcony's and oh so many bars!!!! Thank the gods for not Qing for an hour for a beverage!!! 


Recently went to Koko for a gig, and it was lovely! I always took it to be a commercial club, but it was an amazing venue for an intimate gig. We stood on the main floor, but I'd definitely get there early next time, for a view from one of the upper level balconies (remnants from its past as a theatre!) They also have one of the biggest disco balls I've ever seen...


Koko is a classic trashy rock/club venue but with some added quirkiness that has so far remained untouched. I love watching gigs here tucked away on the balconies, particularly if the music is heavy. DJ set nights can be really fun and the crowd is generally good spirited. It's not somewhere you'd go to see necessarily but if someone, or thing, you want to see is on here, you'll likely have a good night.


Make your way to the Camden institution of Koko when you’re in the mood to party.

The venue is enormous, be prepared to get lost, but gorgeous. You’ll be guaranteed a crowd, drink prices are reasonable and it’s open late.

A night at Koko will never be dull!


KOKO is an absolute treasure located in the heart of Camden Town.

It’s well known for its prominent architecture, elaborate rococo style and its red decor.

It’s not the best music venue that I’ve been to, but it’s definitely a diamond in the rough.

I’ve been twice this year for the first time. Both occasions have been an exceptional, intimate evening of pure talent.

I went to see Sophie Ellis-Bextor for her ‘Familia’ World Tour which was a fantastic night.

Just recently I went to see Jessie J for a very special show related to her upcoming album.

She put on a mighty good show for KOKO. Second time round and it was mind-blowing to see KOKO full of people and to feel the love from Jessie J was quite touching.

Although KOKO is quite ornate and chic at first, if you look twice you’ll notice that there isn’t much care or cleanliness around the venue.

I found it quite dirty, dusty and the furniture was rather torn apart and looked awful.

I do like the interior design of KOKO, it reminds me of labyrinth in some way. Once you go in and look up, it’s extremely high.

It’s almost like an old-fashioned theatre, but with small, hidden spots to sit and enjoy the show.

The balconies truly make KOKO standout and I mustn’t forget the magical centrepiece of KOKO. The magnificent disco ball which creates an incredible atmosphere.

Wherever you stand you’ll have a great view of the stage. The whole layout has been carefully thought about.

The design is somewhat unique and is a great place to enjoy music.

A must go venue if your going to see an artist you love, otherwise I wouldn’t really recommend going at all.

I’m not one to go clubbing and getting drunk. I go purely for the artist and their music.

I’m sure you’ll enjoy a mad night at KOKO.


Love MD.


If you're looking for a guaranteed busy club night then Koko is a good option. However, I feel that the building is wasted as a club venue as it is an old theater with decadent interiors and wonderful red carpets which is masked by hoards of drunken people falling clumsily up each level. Furthermore I have been on a number of occasions and the music has been completely terrible. Recently I went and it was advertised as a hip hop and RnB night (my favorite kind of music) and I was disappointed to find a night filled with drum and bass. So if there is no alternative, head to koko but for me it is a let down. 


Koko is, without any doubt, a Camden institution. Yet, inexplicably, I've never been. Until last Monday. My loss. It's such a beautiful venue. The location is brilliant (just a stone throw away from Mornington Crescent tube). There's ample space to queue as the venue faces a square (or you can take a strategic spot at Simmons bar across the street and walk over once the queue dies out). The venue itself is gorgeous. There's red velvet and gold works and an imposing red bar, which could have looked gaudy but instead work to create a nice 'special occasion' atmosphere. The queues and prices and service are London standard. They should really improve their vodka offering (it's either Grey Goose or Eristoff, none of which I fancy). All in all, this could become my preferred mid-size music venue. I can't wait to go back, just need to find a suitable gig (they could do well with a bit more curation).


This rock'n'roll venue is just amazing. It hosts gigs and club nights and looks absolutely beautiful. It must have been a theatre back then (when, I don't know) and still has the initial decor. It is filled with really sexy statues (I mean, really mouth watering Greek God style statues) and the main colour theme is pink.


Fabulously large and unique venue in the centre of Camden. Having been there for both clubbing and live gigs, the acoustics are very good and the various levels give interesting perspectives on the stage. The club nights can be hit and miss... I would suggest Buttoned Down Disco and Antics for first timers and on the whole part both club nights and gigs are affordable for central London. Drinks are on the expensive side and due to the huge scale of the venue, bars tend to get very busy so be prepared to wait. The venue is a bit grubby and battered so don't look for a classy night out, but one full of charm and character... The epitome of an evening spent in Camden.

This historic music venue has kept all the charm of it's original purpose as a theatre with various stairways and balconies to explore and a large open dance space for those club nights, a great historic music venue that has been witness to many changes in musical tastes through the years.


I like this venue for a night out. It is laid back and fun. Ok it is not classy but you are in camden. I think the venue is really pretty and they hold some decent nights- buttoned down disco and guilty pleasures. 

Each time I have been I have had a great time and the drinks aren't as expensive as some of the closer venues. 

Went to one of the NME night, which turns out to be a student night too. Which is a great night out for a student, but not great setting for a laid back gig. 
The bands and performances were exceptional. Enjoyed a sound quality too, unique interior of the place and a layout.

However, the club was very cold at first, toilets are in a in a poor condition. Bar staff is rude, and even with no customers, they rather chat around than serve you. Pretty pricy too. 

My first visit to the famous Koko.

The event was Gavin James concert and although I had heard it was a tough I have to say I was impressed by the venue.

I even think that it really gorgeous inside and a great place for small concerts.


Once upon a time,when being an au pair in London - Koko used to be my favourite club. I must have spent most of my Friday or Saturday nights there: dancing until the lights went on (it took some time to get used to finishing a club night around 3am) and happily grabbing a wrap on the way to the bus. All I could have asked for really at least at one point in my life. The interior itself is stunning: an old theatre turned into a music venue, which provides the perfect background for concerts. Unfortunately, for my liking, the club idea did not work out - after haven't been for a couple of years I planned a night out and was rather shocked about the changes including the audience, staff and facilities. I don't might the musical changes, but had the feeling the whole place have been kind of neglected and quantity beats quality.  

I have just been to see Teleman there last week and despite all the old memories I didn't feel the same vibes (the band was brilliant btw). It's a real shame how a London gem can turn into a pebble. 

It's a must go in London.

Not like other night clubs. Koko is a theatre, having several floors and a big balcony. Have been there clubbing but also for concerts and the acoustic is pretty good 

Physically disgustingly Dirty - sub student acts - horrible atmosphere - overpriced bar with undercut dubious quality drinks - it was SO dirty that EVERY floor stank of sick & the surfaces were sticky with alcohol. I will never ever go to Koko again - i cannot believe Time Out lists it in best clubs - VILE. Go anywhere but here.

im forced to put a star rating to post the comment.


I love Koko because there is something going on, it's never boring or crowded and the overall atmosphere is nice. The venue is beautiful and the fact that it is big means that unlike a lot of other clubs it is actually possible to have your own space. The music varies but it's mostly techno and chart hits which I enjoy. The drinks are slightly expensive, but the club is located in the heart of London and is to expected.

Am I allowed to post a review saying how excited I am to be returning to KoKo ? The scene of many good nights, but The Isle of White reunion is one of the biggest. Great line up this year. The poster says #bethere - I will be ! 


4 stars for the unique layout. Maybe it was just because it was a random Friday night, but the atmosphere just wasnt quite there.



Great gig venue. Agreed prices are steep but was to be expected,. Definitely worth a visit

A good venue for gigs but not so much for club nights.

I saw The Band Perry at the Koko club and it was a lovely venue, it is an old theatre with all the seating taken out in the stalls (I didnt see upstairs) and has a full bar at the back. The acoustics were very good, as were the Band Perry! Would recommend! I would like to go to one of their guilty pleasures nights and club nights soon!

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