The Shacklewell Arms is in Hackneys back streets somewhere between Dalston’s lively bars and clubs and Stoke Newington’s lovely gastro pubs. As soon as you open the door you are greeted by a warm, busy, noisy pub. A surprisingly young crowd jostle to get rounds of drinks in for friends crowded around a mish-mash of tables. Every now and then the door to the back room swings open and you are treated to a preview of what’s on that night.
The back room (or Dance Hall as the neon sign suggests) acts as a gig venue and night club, often both in one night, and if you’re lucky, it’s completely free! Gigs and club nights cover a range of genres. They had a huge Bowie tribute night when he sadly passed away earlier this year and for New Year’s Eve they had a wild NYC NYE theme where Blondie fancy dress was encouraged.
The venue is often a popular spot for overseas bands gigging in London for the first time, with some of them making it big a few years later. Most nights, once the headliner has finished, a DJ will carry on the party. With DJs often keeping with the theme of the night. It’s worth checking the listings on their website before visiting if you have a preference or just turn up and try your luck!