A typical, achingly-trendy E8 hangout, Dalston Superstore is a nicely presented gay bar with a penchant for the arts.
Deceptively shabby looking from outside, Dalston Superstore’s long and narrow upstairs bar reveals itself to be a smart, bright and airy space decked-out in quirky chic. Memorable features include the brightly painted pipes and papier mache sculptures that adorn the walls, and the private, raised booth accessible via a small flight of stairs at the back of the room. The venue plays host to a number of art exhibitions in its basement level, which thankfully consist of more than just the ‘edgy’ photography of a Hackney arts student that one may expect. The remainder of the time, the space is occupied by the venue’s various weekly club nights – the majority of which are disco and electro in theme.
Here it is East London hipsterdom all the way, and those who are not part of this select clique may want to approach with caution. Bar staff are efficient, if a little cold, and – as with the majority of the clientele – preened to perfection. Somewhat grating image-consciousness aside, the cheery, brightness of the space during daytime service encourages relaxation, and, despite being a gay bar, the venue is welcoming of those of any persuasion – as long as you’re wearing the right trainers, of course!
A menu of relatively uncomplicated but nicely put together fare is available from midday to early evening , and includes a sizable selection of brunch dishes such as scrambled eggs, toast and pea shoots with smoked salmon (£7.50) and a bacon, egg and maple syrup toasted bagel (£6.50). Burgers also come highly recommended, and include a tasty pork and chorizo option (£8) as well as a halloumi and aubergine ensemble (£7) for the (unsurprisingly abundant) veggies in the crowd. Homemade cakes are displayed temptingly on the bar, and for £2.50 you can nab yourself a generous slice.
Cocktails are a main feature of the drinks selection, and are generally of the sweeter and more flamboyant variety. Quality varies from your standard Smirnoff and Jose Cuervo based concoctions to the more appealing Stoli vodka and El Dorado rum options. However, at £7.10 a pop, you may not feel you are quite getting your money’s worth. A fair range of bottled and draft beers to suit most palates are sold – from erdinger (£3.80) and desperados (£3.90) to the locally brewed Hackney Gold and Bethnal Pale ales (both £3.90) – as well as a succinct list of wines of a decent quality (with prices starting at a reasonable £3.90 a glass).
The Last Word
If you’re prepared to face the fashionistas in their full-force, Dalston Superstore reveals itself to be a fun and interesting place to while away an afternoon or evening. Art fans may want to do a bit of research before paying a visit in order to gauge the best time to check it out.