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East Village (Bar, Restaurant, Club)

Picture of East Village in Shoreditch, London

89 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3HX
Cuisine: Eclectic
Tel: 020 7739 5173 | Email to East Village | Transport: Old Street | Write review

East Village Review

Best for: something different on a Sunday afternoon.

Great dance-offs.

“Is this your first time?”

“Yes, I can’t dance. Well, I can do the Macarena.”

At 2pm on a Sunday afternoon I’m in the dark basement of East Village bar and club in Shoreditch, stumbling around, trying to convince my uncoordinated feet, which suddenly feel at least five sizes bigger, that they have Latin rhythm. My feet are not convinced they do.

A few years ago I might have looked at you a bit oddly if you’d told me I could go to a nightclub in the daytime. Surely that defeats the point? And how can I justify a kebab when the lights come up at 7pm rather than 3am?

Older, and more easily tired these days, I now think it’s something of a revelation.

One Sunday a month, East Village plays host to Shiftless Shuffle. It’s a club night, but in the day, for ‘Bebop, Fusion, Latin, Afro and heavy, heavy Jazz Funk’ music.

For the rest of the month East Village does, for conventional night owls, play host to a number of other club nights (from hip hop to disco, and grime to house), which take place at the usual nightclub time of day: night.

The daytime session kicks off with an hour’s dance class for those who want it; or in my case, for those who desperately need it. Luckily I’ve brought a friend whose dancing skills are on a par with mine, and the class is led by the affable and enthusiastic Perry, whose face lights up as he dances, breaking down the moves into manageable chunks and telling us he’s being clubbing since ’76 (he looks very well for it, I must say).

The class is a great icebreaker as well as a confidence builder for newbies, but as the club part of the afternoon begins and the crowd builds, it’s clear that there are not in fact many of us ‘newbies’.

At this point I stand to the side, for two reasons: we have firmly established I can’t dance (this style of dancing involves a lot of hips and shoulders, and I’m closer to resembling Michael Flatley; more a result of a strangely rigid posture than my excellent footwork, I hasten to add); and because these people are amazing.

Watching men jazz-dance-off with each other is a true sight to behold. The talent in the room is incredible and the mixture of people that have come together, to a dingy club in Shoreditch, to share their pure love of dance is astounding.

“You just don’t see this at any other club, do you?” comments my friend, nursing her weary feet. She’s taking a break with a well-earned Ameretto and Coke, from a well-stocked bar, Latin-bias with a great selection of rums.

“My friend is a regular and told me I had to come along; it gets packed and the atmosphere is just great,” one girl tells me. It’s her first time here too and she is equally awestruck but happy to join in as the party mood is so contagious.

“Everyone just looks so happy having so much fun,” says another onlooker.

And it’s true, there is such a great feel to the place. East Village isn’t swish or swanky or hi-tech. In fact it’s basic, edging on scruffy, and the bathrooms leave a little to be desired, but what runs through the very core of this place is fun, like I’ve never experienced in any other club before.

As I stand sipping happily on a well-mixed gin and tonic, I reflect that it’s nice to feel like you’re part of something exciting.

Clearly most of the dancers (a surprising proportion of which are men) taking to the floor really know their stuff, and come kitted out with spats and jazz shoes hiding surreptitiously away beneath their usual daywear.

It could, in another environment, perhaps, feel a bit intimidating to see these jazz extraordinaires in action, but here it is, absolutely captivating and inspiring. It makes you feel so happy to know that while the rest of the world nurses a hangover over a Sunday roast in a grotty pub, there are people just embracing life and having a wonderful time.

As we emerge back into the daylight, our brains confused after being tricked into believing it’s the middle of the night (and time for that kebab), we walk down the street practising some our new moves – looking like pros by now, I’m sure – and I can’t help but think: maybe they’re on to something here. more

Customer Reviews for East Village

Average (based on 6 votes): 6 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of East Village.

“This club is dingy and a bit shabby but the atmosphere is amazing, I'd recommend it to anyone looking for something that's fun and a bit different from the usual Shoreditch spots. Drinks were quite reasonably priced too”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Clare, London (7 years 9 months 26 days ago)

“Spot on venue, easily one of the best in london, the atmosphere is relaxed and unpretentious, the music programming is absolutely first rate and the food is pretty decent, but lets face it, you go to east village for the music, its a quality music venue with two floors of absolute spot on cutting edge talent. nuff said. You want a 5star meal go to a french restaurant, heres the place to GET DOWNNNNN!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
[ Unknown ], London (11 years 9 days ago)

“This bar has pretty reasonable decor and music but the drinks are pretty poor. i had a mojito that was way too sweet and a daiquiri that had the paint stripper taste that comes with poor quality rum. The staff were also quite rude, i had to wait at the bar for staff to finish their lengthy conversation before they served me. But the biggest issue i have is with the management - we had our coats on the seat where we were sitting and standing and were asked to move them on health and safety grounds which then turned into because they couldn't take responsibility if they were stolen but was actually due to the hefty profit they wanted to make on the cloak room. Trust me there are much better places to spend an £8 cover charge.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Ed, london (11 years 1 months ago)

Show all user reviews for East Village

“Astonishing venue, very good music, staff very friendly.. Had a very good time with my friends there, definitely will comeback!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Dany boy, london (12 years 1 months 6 days ago)

“Went to East Village on a Friday night for food and a boogie. Ate some lovely tapas (great for lining the stomach!) and then went downstairs for some excellent house music. The staff were really friendly and although the drinks weren't cheap they did the trick! After looking at the great lineup for March we definitely plan to go again!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
clairebare, london (12 years 1 months 12 days ago)

“Really ordinary - much better options for the money in the area.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Running Bull, London (12 years 1 months 21 days ago)

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The East Village menu has a traditional british taste with a twist of Mediterranean flavours.

Updated 25/08/2008

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