LILY COLE is a fan and now Loving Dalston has visited Passing Clouds, only about three years after the club’s opening and near-instant acquisition of coolness. Loving Dalston, no fashion victim, does not rush to judgment.
The venue is on two floors, each with the orientalist look inspired by the late Yves Saint Laurent’s Marrakech villa, although the wooden-hut entrance in Glebe Road, a cobbled railside lane off Richmond Road, resembles the outdoor privy of my deprived childhood. Downstairs is a stage, dancefloor, bar and comfortable chairs; upstairs another bar with comfortable chairs — see pix (and spot the quality one, ie, mine. Wrong choice! The one at the top is a handout from the club).
Drinks are reasonably priced: £3 will get you a glass of house wine or a bottle of beer and the staff are proud of their cocktails. But ambience is the key to the venue’s success: informal like a St James’s establishment club reimagined for Dalston ’10. And unlike some E8 venues, not a dinner-suited, barrel-chested, diamond-studded doorman in sight.
The venue books excellent acts: established musicians of the quality of Justin Adams, the guitarists’ guitarist, as well as young bands such as the cheekily named AJ Holmes and the Hackney Empire, a gang of lively Afrobeatists. In case any reader still thinks this is a plug for a lig, I’ll say that my visit lasted but a few hours and only one free drink was accepted (the Passing Cloud Cocktail — excellent).