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We've all heard the phrase ‘lost in music’ but London’s hottest hangout this summer has been taking that disco motto literally. It may be the daytime, but on the dancefloor at Giant Steps in Hackney Wick a billowing fog hugs the floor. Encircled by huge potted palms and four enormo speakers, the smoke machine belch shrouds your ankles like you’re dancing in a stage production of 'Macbeth’. Beyond the haze though, music comes first at Giant Steps.
Giant Steps is a joint venture between the brothers behind cult Dalston DJ bar Brilliant Corners and Analogue Foundation, a roving crew who promote analogue sound at festivals and events. Amit and Aneesh Patel’s vision for Brilliant Corners was ‘simple things, done well’, says Amit, with an ‘unpretentious’ atmosphere. Their new temporary venue delivers on the same level: quality food, drinks and music, all on an outdoor terrace overlooking the canal and the Olympic Stadium.
Whatevs, I hear you thinking: yet another alfresco party in the arse end of Hackney Wick, and another cruel cap on my dating app radius. But there’s reason enough to return here weekend after weekend. It’s family-friendly (dear parents: there’s a giant sandpit), has more benches than the World Cup, and its roster of guest restaurateurs is top-notch. Last weekend it was the turn of l’Entrée Des Artistes from Paris, who seared fleshy white tuna and served it with juicy Basque dish piperade for their two-day residency, while previous popups have included Brawn and Morito.
The star of the show, however, is the perfectly formed club space tucked away in a former factory block above the main bar. The vibe channels underground NYC party The Loft, David Mancuso’s feted !70s club where crystalline sound, free-ranging selections and an inclusive atmosphere were vital ingredients. The point, says Amit, is that you’ll probably enjoy whatever pumps from the speakers, regardless of whether it’s spiritual jazz or cosmic disco, because of the quality. ‘Anyone who comes here,’ he continues, ‘no matter which DJ is playing, will still get an enlightening and nourishing experience. It’s good music, all the time.’
Giant Steps has had no problem reeling in guest DJs that would ordinarily be playing at clubs such as Oval Space and Fabric. Since it opened inMay, festival favourites Floating Points, Hunee and Secretsundaze have already come through. Even so, Amit says the decks aren’t exclusively reserved for big names. If you want to get a set yourself, you just need to ‘write in’. ‘I still like to maintain that we have an open-door policy and a neighbourhood restaurant,’ he says. ‘Anyone who collects records, has good taste in music and lives locally could, should and would get a go.’
An A-grade sound system where anyone can spin on the decks? That feels like a giant step in the right direction.
Giant Steps runs until Sep 19 at 60 Dace Rd, E3 2NQ