Populating a part of town fast becoming affectionately dubbed 'Dalst Newington', Bar A Bar is a grimy basement club with a progressive music policy and the kind of crowd typical of the area.
Bar A Bar has a sharp-edged logo lit up in neon green come night, announcing itself to Dalston stragglers who have made their way this far up Stoke Newington High Street. A bouncer and quite often a crowd of smokers also mark the imposing entrance and you may feel a little intimidated on your way in as it’s so grimy from the offset it can almost seem shady. But don’t be put off, as this club holds a lot of promise once you pass in the door, through the curtains and down to the basement where you’ll find the bar, decks and dance floor.
Sofa seating takes up the perimeter of the front half of the room for the more laid-back clubbers, but there is a dedicated dance floor to the rear that provides plenty of space opposite the decks. A makeshift cloakroom and some dingy toilets can be found at the very back of the club. This is a minimal basement rave – don’t be expecting opulence of any sort, with the most advanced decorative flourishes including a glitter ball and some back lighting in neon blue, almost ironically seedy touches to the club.
This is a down and dirty club typical of the area, but it doesn’t mean the staff and clientele aren’t friendly. They are pretty cool though, and you’ll find your fair share of hi-top trainers, flashy clobber and edgy haircuts. Most people will be over on the dance floor as the evening progresses, getting into the electronic music or bass-heavy beats.
The line-up at Bar A Bar is quite staggering for such a small and obscure club, and there’s always a quality DJ on the decks come the weekend. Expect jungle and DnB, reggae, dub and dancehall, tech house, and maybe even old school disco, with current club nights including Kitsch and Sync, Bassfoundation and Huntleys & Palmers.
Prices and tipple options are just as you’d expect from a basic basement club, with beers by the bottle proving popular along with spirits and mixers for around £6. Beers are made up of simple crowd-pleasers like Corona and Becks. It’s no frills to the end at Bar A Bar.
The Last Word
Grimy yet satisfying, Bar A Bar brings the boundary-pushing, Dalston music scene further up the road towards Stokie and as long as you’re willing to get stuck in, this basement club can provide quite a down and dirty night on the dance floor.