Our check-in on London venues is back featuring Werkhaus, The Backstreet, Magazine London, Potemkin Theatre, Fairfield Halls and more.
An intimate new club called Werkhaus has opened in East London. The 300-capacity venue in the Truman Brewery complex is fitted with a Funktion-One soundsystem and will host live music nights, art shows and workshops. Events manager Sean Hitchings said: “London’s music scene has gone back to its roots. We wanted to create space for the innovative, boundary-pushing artists.” The new Brick Lane venue is holding a Halloween party on Saturday November 2nd with Mason Collective, supported by RENKO and Rollar. Watch this space for more events.
Magazine London, another new venue that’s just opened, is a 3,000 capacity venue in Greenwich and the next project of the ever-expanding Broadwick Venues/Venue Lab team. Previous club hits include Printworks in Surrey Quays and the new Drumsheds in Tottenham Marshes.
The warehouse space is 24,000 square metres with views of Canary Wharf and can accommodate 7,000 people outdoors on the Greenwich Peninsula. Watch the venue’s interior being fitted out here. The first announced event is a takeover by Michael Bibi (Solid Grooves) on Saturday October 12.
A long-running gay fetish bar in Mile End has been saved by its local council. The Backstreet bar proudly declares one of the strictest dress codes of its kind – leather or rubber. Tower Hamlets backed the 34-year-old club for its contribution to the LGBT+ community and refused a planning application for a 12-storey tower block on its site. Cllr Rachel Blake, the borough’s deputy mayor, told The Guardian: “It’s the last true gay fetish club. It’s very important to have safe spaces for the whole community”.
You can now party a bit later in Shoreditch thanks to basement venue Concrete winning an extended licence. The space, which is owned by Soho House and sits below the popular Pizza East in Shoreditch High Street, managed the victory despite being within Hackney Council’s new special licensing area. It also withstood forceful objections from the local police. Concrete will now stay open until 2am on Thursdays and 4am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Another venue in Hackney now serving drinks in a restricted licence area is Dalston vintage shop and art gallery Pelicans & Parrots. The application was fronted by BBC Bargain Hunt star Ochuko Ojiri who told the Hackney Citizen: “We’ve been trading since 2010 and we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved in those nine years. We’ve taken risks and we’re proudly part of the community.” The well-dressed shop will sell ‘organic wines, orange wines and small-batch beers’ – leaving the heavy drinking to its basement bar, Below.
Meanwhile, the award-winning architectural gem that is the Potemkin Theatre in Hackney Docks has faced down noise concerns last month over its application to launch an open-air rooftop cinema. You will be able to enjoy the view – but headphones are required.
London Fields venue Hangar has shut. Previously known as both Mangle and The Laundry, the 6,500 square foot concrete basement space previously used as a commercial laundry was a strong feature of the annual Visions festival. But it also attracted the wrong attention in April 2017 when Arthur Collins [ex-boyfriend of reality TV star Ferne McCann] threw acid at club-goers. The attack left 22 people injured – including one woman partially blinded. Collins was jailed for 20 years.
A disused carpet factory in Ilford is set to become a live entertainment venue and workspace. The project to transform the Janice Mews building is led by non-profit arts and regeneration company Things Made Public. The building will be used as an affordable office called The Muse, while also giving local artists space to perform.
The Ilford project is one of three schemes announced to improve its town centre after the Mayor of London contributed £70million. It will be joined by Hackney’s renowned art gallery Space moving to Redbridge Town Hall, while Mercato Metropolitano will open a covered food market in the town hall’s carpark. The departure of Space from Mare Street after 16 years caught the art world by surprise.
Down in Catford, a new live music venue and three-screen cinema has opened. It’s part of the new Catford Mews development that also boasts a bar, café and community space.
Following a multi-million-pound redevelopment, Fairfield Halls will be the start of a new cultural and education quarter in Croydon. It is South London’s largest arts centre and has re-opened after a three-year refurbishment. The venue contains a playhouse, concert hall, studio spaces, rehearsal rooms, as well as restaurants and bars. The London Mozart Players return as the resident orchestra.