Shoreditch has started to become the Leicester Square of East London as once cool and trendy bars and clubs suddenly discover their commercial side. Luckily, openings like Basing House remind us of how Shoreditch used to be.
Based in an old pub, Basing House has a large exterior that’s simply decked out all in black with an understated sign and mirrored windows. It certainly doesn’t give too much away. Inside, it’s a lesson in Shoreditch cool. The space is almost cavernous, with a mottled stone ceiling and exposed brick and stone everywhere you look – even the pillars look like stalactites. There’s a well-sized dance floor with a few coloured lights and a fenced-off DJ area with a huge Funktion One sound system, which really acts as the centrepiece to the space. You will barely notice the small bar, in fact. Upstairs is a more sophisticated private hire space complete with a fireplace and they also have a small roof terrace area. The whole venue feels very understated and stripped back, with the focus purely on the music.
The skinny jeans, cool haircuts and checked shirts are out in full force at Basing House alongside those electro T-shirt wearing guys and girls who really know their stuff. Thankfully, the suits from the nearby City offices and the shiny-shirt chavs that seem to have moved in on some of Shoreditch’s other clubs and bars are absent. It could just be that this is still new enough that the word hasn’t got out yet. Here’s hoping it doesn’t.
Every Friday and Saturday Basing House hosts DJ events, running from 10pm until 4am. The cost is often free, although some events are ticketed, so it’s worth checking ahead. The venue makes a lot of its promise to be ‘open-minded’ and they are up for experimenting with disco, deep and tech house and techno regularly mixed by well-known acts and up-and-coming DJs. Whatever the music, though, that sound system ensures your entire body feels every single beat and the cavernous space reverberates the sound to give it a raw, warehouse feel.
Drinks are typically East London cheap and play second-fiddle to the tunes at Basing House. Bottled beer like Becks and typical high street spirits are the most popular and they do drinks promotions like the first 50 people receive a free shot with their drink or two-for-one deals. However, this isn’t the kind of place where people turn up pissed and then make it their mission to consume as much drink as humanly possible before being thrown out. That's a very good thing.
The Last Word
Basing House shows us what Shoreditch used to be about. Now we just have to hope that the suits and the stags don’t come knocking...