Dalston has a new dance music destination, furtively tucked under a hip pizza place, of course.
While Voodoo Ray’s calls in the customers with bright light neon, Dance Tunnel keeps it typically understated with just small, bold font on a darkened doorway to the side of the pizza place. Down the stairs and past the cloakroom then through the double doors and the Dance Tunnel wallops you in the face with moody lighting and a tonne of bass. The narrow room has a couple of high tables to one side for perching drinks and a decently lengthy bar to the right, and the room leads back to a small dance floor and DJ decks. It’s as minimal as you’d expect in terms of décor, but with Brooklyn-aesthetic influences in rough, exposed brickwork and corrugated steel as well as a bare concrete floor that slightly slopes up on the approach to the decks.
The Dance Tunnel is from Dan Beaumont, the brains behind London’s famous Dalston Superstore stationed further up the road, and being a DJ himself it’s clear Beaumont has clubbers in mind at the Dance Tunnel. A Funktion-One sound system is incredible down here in the basement and offers fantastic bass and clarity – although your ears will certainly be ringing once you step out come 4am. And do expect the party to keep going into the wee hours – Dance Tunnel is a committed house music venue hosting some of the best underground DJ talent and large, leftfield names. As a consequence, in its first few months of being open, Dance Tunnel has garnered an audience of committed clubbers. Such a muso crowd is a refreshing sight for sore eyes in this increasingly mainstream part of town.
Leftfield house, disco and techno are on the bill at Dance Tunnel and line-ups are refreshingly free of mainstream DJs, instead favouring those with a more underground following. That’s not to say that the DJs attracted to Dance Tunnel aren’t worshipped in their field – the club has already had Detroit house legend Patrice Scott, electronic heavyweight Ivan Smagghe and fabric regular Craig Richards getting the intimate crowd going. Notorious London club nights FWD, Huntleys & Palmers and Trouble Vision are all future fixtures at the venue, too, attracted by the spotless sound system and up-for-it, intimate crowd, no doubt.
The drink offering is as you’d expect from a basement rave spot, with spirits and mixers doing the majority of trade and just a couple of beers being on tap. And to go hand in hand with the Brooklyn vibe, there’s Voodoo Ray’s upstairs to satisfy any midnight food cravings or post-club munchies.
The Last Word
Dalston’s Dance Tunnel is a bone fide rave basement with the kind of quality sound system and ground-breaking underground DJs that it’s luring in a very solid crowd of clubbers indeed. Venture down now, before it’s overrun with the wannabes.