This hard to find Dalston club personifies shabby chic and has a soundtrack resembling a backpacker's iPod after a year in Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean.
Tucked away, down a cobbled alleyway off an unassuming Dalston side street, and with no signage, Passing Clouds may be a little tricky to find, but it’s worth the thrill of the chase. Passing Clouds could be in Maputo or Bogota, rather than Dalston: downstairs is where the action is at, with a dancefloor facing a wide stage, and small bar. Upstairs is the kind of hippy-ish hang out, with cushions on the floor, sofas with ethnic print throws, soft lighting, and incense, that you find anywhere on the backpacker trail. On Sundays there’s a film club here.
There’s something about the space and décor that makes you feel like you’re in keep-it-real tropical climes and as a result the weekend vibe is often footloose and fancy free. Equally it’s off the beaten track and a destination venue, people don’t stumble across Passing Clouds, which in turn means they’re up for a good, big night. It’s small, busy and the dancefloor does what it says on the tin, standing around chatting or exuding cool is not a good look here, it’s a waste of a drink – that inevitably goes flying thanks to a dancer’s stray limb. Shaking your booty – Shakira or Beyoncé-style - is the only survival technique.
You’ll always find a band or two of a weekend night – whether roots reggae, Latin, African-reggae or sinuous Afro-Latin sounds from Latin America’s Caribbean coast. Homegrown hip hop, of the conscious one love variety, makes an appearance before DJs either maintain the slinky tropical sounds or move between golden age hip hop, drum & bass and jungle.
A fairly limited choice but enough of what you need – lager, ale, cider, a wide range of rum, and the mythical, magical rum punch.
The Last Word
You won’t find anywhere like this in London, so Passing Clouds is perfect for a ‘different’ night out. Yes it’s rough round the edges, and the sound can sometimes be patchy, but what it lacks it makes up for in character and charm. We don’t want slick, sharp, and modern, all the time, do we? If you take an open mind, you’ll be chatting to a stranger, dancing like a loon and be utterly oblivious to the heaving dancefloor and toilet queues within seconds.