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Paper Dress Vintage, press 2018
© Zigpix Photography

So you've never been to Paper Dress Vintage?

Everything you need to know about the shop that doubles as a gig venue

By Lisa Wright
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In a nutshell…
It’s a small gig space above a vintage shop in central Hackney.

What’s the vibe?
Downstairs, there’s a fully operating vintage shop (watch out for drunken impulse buys) with a bar tucked away at the back. Upstairs you’ll find a dinky, 75-capacity room where bands play in front of a glass shop-front window overlooking the area’s bustling main road. A place to catch future stars in their most formative stages (previous bands to grace the stage include Teleman, Fat White Family and Public Service Broadcasting), it’s also a destination for more established artists to do something a lil’ different. Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor has pitched up in the past, while indie-folk duo Slow Club played a four-week residency in 2016.

What makes it a great venue?
Its low-key nature means it feels a bit like stumbling into the house party of someone with an exceptionally curated wardrobe. Nestled on the corner of Mare Street, it still has the aura of an in-the-know secret. And who doesn’t want to be in the know? Also, on weekends, it often have club nights playing retro sounds until 1am.

What’s the booze situation?
As you might expect, Paper Dress are well into its craft beers – expect offerings from local neighbours Hackney Brewery, Crate Brewery and more. It also does a rather nifty cocktail menu with drinks coming in at around the £8 mark.

What’s the weirdest thing to happen there?
According to the venue manager: ‘One of our very first shows was gatecrashed by a man in a deerstalker hat acting erratically. He’d been rehearsing around the corner and wanted to know if we wanted him to do a set. My wife recognised him as Adam Ant so we moved things around and got him on stage. Afterwards he took out one of our ceiling tiles and signed it in fake blood.’

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