One of the oldest gentleman's clubs in London, Shoreditch's Browns just about lives up to its illustrious reputation.
Located on a prime stretch of real estate at the intersection of Old Street and Shoreditch High Street, Browns is instantly recognisable with its stark grey brick entrance and silver torches looking out onto the street. Inside, the layout is fairly straightforward, with a high-ceilinged main room comprising of a bustling bar on the left-hand side, and a large, raised stage towards the front for regular floor shows. Facilities can be found at the far end of the venue, as well as a “private” room, partitioned by curtains and furnished with sofas and armchairs for more intimate gatherings. Maroon flooring and dim overhead lighting lends the place an unfortunate resemblance to a Wetherspoon-esque chain pub, but the bar is spotless and well-stocked, and there is plenty of seating space to accommodate the ever-popular stag do's and office parties. Plasma screens are ubiquitous, with all the latest sporting events broadcast throughout the evening.
Populated mainly by City workers from nearby Bishopsgate as well as those who head to Shoreditch for a lads’ night out, Browns attracts a sizeable crowd under most circumstances, and maintains a cheap and cheerful outlook throughout, with no cover charge for entrance (patrons are instead requested to donate £1 per floor show, which take place every ten minutes, to the girls) and a smart-casual dress code. Private dances cost £15 or £10 before 5pm, and on the whole, an evening will not hurt the wallet nearly as much as other similar establishments. The staff are friendly and obviously quite close-knit, the music is fairly low-brow but good fun, and as mentioned previously there are sports and social gatherings aplenty, particularly towards the end of the week when the bar really comes into its own.
Another point of pride among the ownership is the fact that the bar maintains “pub prices”, with fairly standard draught and bottled beers and ciders on sale for under £4, and spirits and mixers not far off either. Customers are effectively free to spend as little or as much as they like, with ridiculously-priced bottles of champagne and spirits also readily available at the other end of the spectrum.
The Last Word
Accessible and good value-for-money, Browns is a slightly downmarket but eminently affordable alternative to the City's elite gentleman's clubs, should you be in the area or organizing a night on the town.