The Book Club

Nightlife, Late-night bars Shoreditch Free
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(33user reviews)
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The bar (Dom Fisher)
1/7
Dom Fisher
The Book Club
2/7
Stairs (Sylvain Deleu Studi)
3/7
Sylvain Deleu Studi
The Book Club
4/7
The ceiling (Sylvain Deleu Studi)
5/7
Sylvain Deleu Studi
The Book Club, crowds (Mark Hucks)
6/7
Mark Hucks
The light bulb ceiling (Mark Hucks)
7/7
Mark Hucks

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It doesn’t sound like a place for an exciting night out, but behind the sedate name is one of the most consistently creative bars in London. The Book Club is a popular, laid back, lived-in basement bar that originally helped Hoxton earn its hip title, and in intervening years little has changed down in the basement, which remains plain and comfortable.

You could visit for the drinks alone: cocktails are served in glasses or jugs to share, and come with names like Don’t Go To Dalston, or the Lorraine Kelly (made with tangy grapefruit and rum) – the emphasis is on fun and easy drinkability rather than serious mixology. (A better beer selection would be welcome, however.) You could visit for the food: breakfast starts at 8am, when the laptop tappers who work in the area use it for off-the-cuff morning meetings; lunch and dinner are simple but filling and homely, with a small menu including the likes of bar snacks, nachos and sharing platters (worth a punt).

Or – and this is what sets Book Club apart – you could visit for the packed timetable of events, which includes bands, DJs, lunchtime discos, film dance-a-longs, alternative dating nights, ping-pong tournaments, informative talks, life drawing and classic video game nights. The young and relaxed crowd that pack into the spacious artwork-dotted space and its atmospheric basement are here for a bit of everything.

Posted:

Venue name: The Book Club
Contact:
Address: 100-106
Leonard Street
London
EC2A 4RH
Transport: Rail/Tube: Old Street/Shoreditch High Street
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Pick a date

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  • House, disco and techno Thursday August 17 2017 - Thursday December 21 2017
  • Thursday August 17 2017 - Thursday December 21 2017
  • Hip hop and R&B Saturday August 26 2017 - Sunday August 27 2017
  • Hip hop and R&B Sunday August 27 2017 - Monday August 28 2017

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Average User Rating

3.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:12
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:7
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:8
LiveReviews|33
1 person listening
Avatar for Ana M
Tastemaker

Overwhelmingly pretentious and a bit lacking in character, this place nonetheless hosts some interesting events - I went to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch with a friend in the downstairs area. The issue is that there's nothing special to make this bar stand out amid a host of other Shoreditch bars.

Avatar for jeaniekarl
Tastemaker

Now you ain’t going to find your run of the mill book club here. I’ve visited here during the day and by night for drinks and it isn’t a bad place. Ok come evening time, it’s admittedly not the quietest place to go to, you may find yourself shouting over the music to your mates when the DJ session kicks in but all in all there’s a nice chilled out Shoreditchy atmosphere to the place with communal tables and currently an art exhibition from the Mighty Boosh which I absolutely love. People there are friendly folk and approachable and to add to it all, there is a ping pong table as well. The loos are bizarrely unisex even though there is a male sign on the door which is a little confusing. As for events they have a variety of weird and wonderful stuff going on ranging from speed dating, sex ed for grown ups, request line DJ nights and networking events, gamer disco and live game shows.

Avatar for VanessaK
tastemaker

Amazing place for breakfast, brunch or party. The food is great, space is lovely, with art on the walls and ping pong table in one of the rooms. The downstairs space opens for clubbing in the evening and has a great vibe as well. Colourful lightbulbs on the sealing and good sound system.

Avatar for Soso T
tastemaker

This trendy place is very befitting for Shoreditch. There are a couple of steps to get in and they have a ramp for wheelchair users, but it's still too steep to attempt it without any assistance. It was difficult to tell who the staff were, and no one came to serve us... I then realised it was a kind of self serve and you had to order at the bar... Not very convenient since the bar is so high, but I managed to get the attention of someone who actually worked there and they were nice enough to take our order. I wasn't very impressed with the weekend brunch selection and although brunch is my favourite meal of the day, I wasn't too impressed with the food. The venue itself was quite spacious and casual, but it didn't have accessible toilets so thumbs down for that. Staff were quite helpful when you manage to get their attention. I don't think this is somewhere I would visit again... Well not for brunch anyway.

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Avatar for Vishaal V
Tastemaker

One of the more unusual bars out there in that they put on some interesting events. I went to a science talk event that was free to attend (result!) and we got into a philosophical debate about death. I commend the Book Club for hosting such unusual events. The decor itself is quirky with the roof covered with old school light bulbs in the basement. 

Avatar for Sheens86
Tastemaker

Trendy hipster bar alert!

I tend to refrain from going to such places as I usually bring the average age up to 18 years old.

This is a nice bar though, catering to two types of nights in one venue. The more ‘mature’ adults can stay on the ground floor, enjoying each other’s conversation with the occasional game of table tennis or they can bravely venture to the basement bar with the ‘youth’ and party down to the latest popular mixes and so on … it is awfully loud though. :)

The drinks are quite reasonable given the location and the cocktails were different but tasty (Ba-na-na what’s My Name?).

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Avatar for Louise H
Tastemaker

The Book Club is one of my favourite places to go in London, both in the evening and for food in the daytime. At night cocktails such as 'Don't go to Dalston' and R&B beats in the downstairs room make this an excellent place for a fun (and inexpensive) night out. The finger food is delicious- the Cajun potato wedges in particular are to die for! During the day their excellent and hearty brunches are served- with plants on the walls and a ping pong table, this place effortlessly goes from day to night and is my favourite place in Shoreditch. 

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Avatar for MissLDN
Tastemaker

First time I went for a club night at the Book Club has been for a friends birthday a couple of weeks back. Although I have given up listening to Hip Hop properly years back and did not expect to know any of the tunes. I felt like being transported ten years back and we had such a great night out. It's not a "typical" club, but more a cosy bar with some room to dance (I should add that I have not been to the upstairs part yet). The food was really nice and much needed at one point (lots of lovely finger food) and the staff has been really attentive and nice.

Book Club definitely made it into my top 5 of places to have a good night out.

Avatar for Ros A
Tastemaker

The Book Club isn't really a club, more a very busy bar. Sometimes the queue goes down the road although not always. It's fun when you get inside although it will be what I would call RAMMO, aka busy busy. Cocktails are good, bar staff are usually friendly. There's a ping pong table. The toilets are unisex and everyone hates it because the queue comes out of the door and winds through the whole bar usually. There's a downstairs that is more club-like for a boogie later on but I prefer upstairs.

Avatar for Babs - Working Girl London
Tastemaker

One of my 'go to' clubs for a night out. Great location, only about a fiver entry and reasonable drinks. They play good hip hop/RnB on Friday nights. Even though the venue is quite small downstairs, it's a great dancefloor which makes for a fun night out. Not the best place for food though - stick to drinks and dancing!

Avatar for Jo N

Went there tonight. Full of pseudo-hipsters who did not even care to move in the dance floor (if that can be called one)-- they literally just stood there in group with their drinks like children in kindergarten holding their milk; the DJ was terrible, no sense of rhythm. Too many people trying so hard to look cool and waiting to be checked out. "I am on the guest list" and so they said...

Avatar for David

I was physically beaten by the bouncers without cause.  When asked they said I had been seen 'touching the ceiling'.  I found that many others had had needless problems with the bouncer (an obese Asian man). I found I have quite extensive bruising and am now pursuing the matter further.

As for the actual club, the music was basically just an ipod of cheese on shuffle but that was expected so can't complain really. However, the general vibe was pretty aggy too - probably due to people having to constantly deal with the horrible security staff looking to ruin peoples' evenings the whole time.  All in all, one of those places that is rammed full of people all acting aggressively towards each other and irritating music that changes every 20 seconds.

There's so many places if you want rent-a-dj in shoreditch, but this is the worst of them due to the clueless security staff who think they are the stars of the show, as well as it taking hours to get served at the bar.

Avatar for Pip

Always so rammed and busy, but still great. The drinks are inventive and not over priced for the area. Variety of events is always imaginative.

Avatar for Katerina Ruseva

I went to the The Book CLub on Sunday for brunch with a couple of friends. I had heard of it before and was looking forward to it but unfortunately it didn't deliver. The service was pretty bad but the food was the real downer. I ordered freshly squeezed orange juice, salmon, scrambled eggs and sourdough bread and a portion of chips. The juice had so much ice in it that it barely tasted of oranges. The eggs were average, the salmon was dry and very salty and we never got the sourdough bread. Instead we got a regular slice of brown bread. Definitely not what I would expect when I eat out. The chips was definitely not freshly made, it was served to us looking rather grey and soaked in fat, it wasn't hot and tasted stale although the waitress claimed that it was freshly made. When I asked for a new portion she said she could get me one but it will probably be the same. Really disappointed with this place. I won't be going back.

Avatar for Kat

I've been to the Book Club on a few occasions now and always had a great experience! Food is tasty, some of the cocktails are really interesting and the staff was always nice too. I do have to say though that on weekends we tend to go a bit earlier as the queues get veeeeeerrrryyyyy long.

Avatar for Tom

I think people go here because they think it is 'cool'. You can't move. The music is average. 2/5 at best. It's just very very forgettable.

Avatar for Dot

I personally think this place is slightly overrated. Long lines..all the time on the weekend. Cool decor, trendy people. But the time to get a damn drink just takes too long. Worth checking out at least once, but I haven't gone back.

Avatar for Amanda

A friend recommended this place to me so I went on Saturday, had a great time! It was very busy but i got in quickly. Drinks were very reasonable for a London bar and the staff all seemed to know what they were doing, very friendly. Highly recommend this place!

Avatar for Catherine

It was a shame that the chef, as the waitress told us, was 'in a bad mood', and refused to cook pancakes, despite all of the ingredients being readily available. It was nice that she told me I was 'taking it very well'. I would have enjoyed my coffee with milk, had it come with milk. The tomatoes in the 'cooked' breakfast I settled for were utterly cold. My friend described the Hollandaise as 'metallicy butter'. On the upside there was a very sweet little girl in a Paddington Bear raincoat, but I can't guarantee she'll be there again.

Avatar for Rob

Seems like a good idea, but I've left twice after waiting at the bar for over 15 minutes - at the front of the bar, I might add. I'd much rather spend my time talking with my friends than standing there like a lemon. Door policy is bizarre - bouncers are very pushy, making us queue up to have to give our email address for what, exactly? I declined and was allowed straight through - but this queue was essentially for nothing!

Avatar for Dan

Got to agree with some of the reviews here. Actually had a good time and bar service team were great. Being of a more mature age and having worked in a bar i really appreciate this. However comments regarding door policy are spot on. Made to queue for no good reason and then treated with disdain.

Avatar for jon-j

Went to The Book Club last night for life drawing and had a great time. So busy for a Monday but nice crowd, nice staff and patient teacher (just as well!). Will be back.

Avatar for Varsha

There was a fight outside. Not to busy on a Tuesday night. It was okay, I had a good time but this was probably down to the company I was with. Bar staff were polite. Security let us straight through, experience was fine but reading all these comments makes me wonder how good it would have ben if we had been there on a busier night. thank goodness we didnt run into the fat asian security guard mentioned below. Had a Shoreditch Twat cocktail, was alright, £8 seemed a bit much though. All in all it was okay, not amazing, not shite, just okay.

Avatar for Mary

I had plans to invite people for my birthday in this place and decided to check it out first. Staff at the door were incredibly rude and prescriptive (apparently giving a phone call while you are in the queue is not on) and put me in a bad mood before I even got through the door. I didnt like the fact that they charge an entrance fee while much nicer bars in the area do not. Inside it was really overcrowded and people at the bar were so slow that it took 25 min to get served. Cocktails were very small for the price as well. The rest of the evening was not better, having to yell to be heard because of what really was background noise rather than music while drunk people kept hitting my chair (the place was so full that there was no space for them to stand). Bottom line: I won't go there for my bday, as it seems that people who had booked an area were having a similar experience to mine, with other people using their table, etc. Will never go back there: there are other, much nicer places in Shoreditch.

Avatar for Jamie

Was in the bookclub friday just gone 9th of march. Had an amazing time music bar staff was awsome. Door staff was very friendly and helpful. Will be going back again.

Avatar for Rachel

I went to this place for the first time recently and was really impressed! It has a really open and friendly feel probably due to open plan upstairs but I also found the staff helpful when asking for a cocktail recommendation. Just a nice place to chill and have a drink with my friends. I noticed they do pretty off the wall events as well- life drawing etc so will definitely be going back!

Avatar for Emily

wicked bar. best in shoreditch. they are selective of who they let it - just make sure you dont we are a suit or turn up in your best shirt and pointy shoes. no stags or hens allowed in either so all good! £4 for spirits and £6/£7 cocktails is actually really good for the area so not sure how some see this as 'not good for value' - generally just a great place to hang out with mates

Avatar for Kas

Busy bar, generally ok, nice bar staffs. Not good for value though....... There is an awful female bouncer at the door as well. Anyone know who she is?

Avatar for Jimbobsquarepants

ha ha the books are in the basement. I LOVE the book club, best place to go on a Sunday if you are feeling delicate and in need of some tlc. i've always found the staff really friendly and helpful.

Avatar for the hospitality pro

I've been to the Book Club a dozen or so times, at different times of day. I've always found the staff helpful, professional and friendly. The atmosphere is fun and the drinks are reasonably priced. I fully recommend it!

Avatar for Kathleen

I work locally and go to the book club morning, noon and night. I find the staff super friendly and have never encounted rudeness. Yep, you do have to queue most nights but thats because they are so popular. you just have to get down early. drinks are actually cheaper than most venues in shoreditch which is why i frequent there. are you sure you went to the same place? the book club rocks.