Koko

Music, Music venues Camden Town
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(23user reviews)
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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.

Posted:

Venue name: Koko
Contact:
Address: 1a
Camden High St
London
NW1 7JE
Transport: Tube: Mornington Crescent
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  • Rap, hip hop and R&B Friday May 26 2017
  • Pop Friday May 26 2017
  • Pop Saturday May 27 2017 - Saturday November 25 2017
  • House, disco and techno Sunday May 28 2017
  • Rock and indie Tuesday May 30 2017
  • Rock and indie Wednesday May 31 2017
  • Rock and indie Saturday June 3 2017
  • Wednesday June 7 2017
  • Rap, hip hop and R&B Friday June 9 2017
  • House, disco and techno Saturday June 10 2017 - Saturday December 30 2017
  • Show more

Average User Rating

3.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:10
  • 3 star:5
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:3
LiveReviews|23
1 person listening
Jimmytwigg
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.

Dazbert
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.

Kateryna V
Tastemaker

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).


Elisa R
Tastemaker

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.

StephDye
tastemaker

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.

John C

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.

Ladyvp
Tastemaker

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. 

Explorer S

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. 


Tiago Almeida
Tastemaker

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.

MissLDN
Tastemaker

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. 

Javier M

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 

M M

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.

Corina B
Tastemaker

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.

The Man on the Street

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 ! 

Sarah R
tastemaker

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

Alexander

"title"

Potential

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

PS

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

Eleanor

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!