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So you've never been to.., Koko

So you've never been to… Koko?

Party with the gods in this velvet-clad former theatre on Camden High Street

By Nick Levine
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In a nutshell…
It’s the glitziest live music and club venue in Camden.

Where is it?
Camden High Street, diagonally opposite Mornington Crescent tube.

What’s the vibe?
Koko’s red-velvet main room (complete with one of Europe’s largest disco balls) hosts an eclectic mix of gigs and club nights. The live calendar mixes up-and-comers with secret shows by superstars like Prince and Kanye West, and the regular nightlife calendar includes Buttoned Down Disco’s indie mash-up and the tongue-in-cheek pop cheese of Guilty Pleasures.

What makes it a great venue?
It’s dramatically tiered, so there are good views of the stage all over. The four levels (including a roof terrace) also mean you can spend all night here without going stir crazy. Its rich history helps too. Koko first opened as the Camden Theatre in 1900 and had Charlie Chaplin treading its boards, before it became a BBC radio theatre where Monty Python taped programmes. Later known as Camden Palace, the venue hosted Madonna’s first ever UK show in 1983. It reopened as Koko in 2005 following a multimillion-pound restoration, so it feels authentic without being at all dingy.

Koko crowd shot

What’s the booze situation?
Various beers including Red Stripe, Theakstons and Deuchars IPA, plus all the usual spirits and shots. There are bars on every level so don’t worry about trekking up and down stairs with your drinks.

Finally: what happens to all the coats left in the cloakroom?
According to the venue: ‘We keep everything for three months and then it all goes to local charity shops. Strangely, someone once left a single six-inch leopard-print stiletto in the cloakroom. We never did find the other one.’ 

Previously: So you’ve never been to… Royal Vauxhall Tavern?

What's on at Koko?

The Koko
Michelle Grant / Time Out

Full calendar

Check out the full Koko listings and get tickets for club nights and events taking place throughout the year.
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