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Ridley Road Market Bar
© James Kirkup

So you've never been to Ridley Road Market Bar?

Get to grips with this effortlessly cool East End bar in the middle of a market

Written by
Emily Watson

In a nutshell...
An inconspicuous dive bar with makeshift interiors, a chequered dance floor and dangerously cheap cocktails.

Where is it?
Tucked away in the truly global, often fishy-smelling Ridley Road market, this place has an atmosphere that more than makes up for the odd whiff outside.

What’s the vibe?
Think ‘Club Tropicana’, but slightly less glam. There’s no bookings, no guest list and it doesn’t even have a phone. The best bit? It’s a little too far from Shoreditch to attract suit- shirt, weekend wankers.

What makes it a great venue?
On the surface, Market Bar encompasses everything Londoners love to hate about Dalston: grungy exteriors, DIY decor and a clammy dance floor. Don’t take that last fact lightly – during the summer, even the disco ball drips with sweat. But this little place is as lovable as they come: DJs spin hip hop, funk, soul and everything in between; staff are friendly; the hooch is cheap, and there are vibes aplenty.

What’s the booze situation?
Drinks aren’t quite free, but they’re not far off. A can of Red Stripe is three quid, cocktails are a fiver – the ginger mojito is a must – and the house plonk is £15 a bottle. Heads up: they’ve just gone cashless, so it’s cards only, people.

What’s coming up soon?
On November 12 it’s the next instalment of One Stop – a monthly celebration of the Golden Age of Jamaican music – with a guest appearance from Rasta Queen. While there’s often queues after 9pm, pizza babes Slice Girls serve up their wood-fired cheesy discs, so you can fuel up to keep those dancing shoes stable for longer.

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