Top 5 Small Club Nights in London

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Our pick of the cosier side of London's club culture

The criteria for what constitutes a ‘small club’ is fairly vague; does it relate to just capacity? The overall size of the floor? The number of rooms or number of bars? Or simply a space to show smaller, up and coming artists?

For us, a small club is one with one modest main room, perhaps one much smaller room, and a generally cosy atmosphere that is maximum 2000 people (trust me, 2000 isn’t as many people as you think). This can also include pubs that stay open far into the wee small hours.

Why a small club night? Well, not everyone wants to deal with thronging hoards of the great unwashed, losing your friends at every turn unless you come equipped with a mate over 6’3, and in some cases to have a more intimate experience with the performers, even a chance to meet your favourites before or after the event.

Smaller club nights usually come with cheaper entrance fees, less bothersome individuals, and a more targeted audience of club-goers who are there for just the music and the good times. For some, a small club night is the definitive club night, with all the makings of a quality night out without all the added fuss.

Here are our London selections which aptly befit our criteria:

Colour Factory

Photograph of the interior of Colour Factory, Hackney Wick
Image via The Evening Wiki

8 Queen's Yard, London E9 5EN

While a largely cosy affair, Colour Factory’s high-ceilings, drawn-out bar, extensive smoking area (with big comfy seats and outdoor bar), and left-sided bleachers make the space feel much more open than it actually is. The best of both worlds.

A 1200-cap venue, hosting some of the best nights in bass-heavy dance, emboldened by a raucous, skull-modifying sound system, Colour Factory makes the top of most ravers lists when it comes to smaller venues.

With their smart use of the space, which creates the big club feel without the big club means, this gem of Hackney Wick gives you the right to believe you’re on a BNO, while actually being in a contained, protected environment unlikely to lose your friends therein.

See upcoming events here

Corsica Studios

Photo of the inside of Corsica
Image via Time Out

5 Farrell Court, Elephant & Castle, SE17 1LB

This isn’t a top 5 list in order of preference, but if it were, Corsica has rights to make the top of our list. Rough around the edges, tucked away in the labyrinthine arteries of Elephant and Castle, and a tight yet jovial main room, Corsica similarly feels both sprawling and cosy.

A dancefloor that feels quite navigable even when one is worse for wear, a long smoking area to find your niche, and a generally easy-going, copacetic club atmosphere, this spot is one of South London’s best, big or small.

On top of that, their parties are some of the best in the capital, especially when Rhythm Section come to town. Their New Years romps remove all the inevitable stress at that time of year; you’d be forgiven for even forgetting the nova annum is round the corner when in the throes of the event.

And just in 2024 they have hosted artists including Harrison BPD, Bakey, and Sleeparchive. As well as catching big names like these, Corsica places great emphasis on rising talent in the world of dance. If you know you know, but if you don’t know, you’ll soon find out.

See upcoming events here

Dalston Superstore

Image via secretldn

117 Kingsland High Street, London E8 2PB

Generally a bar through the day and on midweek nights, the intimate downstairs space opens up on weekends to provide a multi-layered experience: a rocking bar upstairs, with hired dancers on tables, and a fully-fledged club room downstairs. The music ranges from tech to house to pop to disco with a significant degree of overlap.

During the week and on quieter nights, they also hold Drag Brunches, with games, quizzes, shows, and prizes, and Queer open decks nights on Mondays.

But to be direct, and if it already as plain as a pikestaff, this is first and foremost a Queer space. It’s a very welcoming atmosphere to those who are welcoming themselves, and a great chance to find other like-minded people in the community. Not for the cold or callow.  

See their upcoming events here

Venue MOT

Interior of Venue MOT, with a DJ behind the decks
Image via Mixmag

Unit 18, Orion Business Centre, Surrey Canal Rd, London SE14 5RT

Nestled in the bosom of Bermondsey industrial estate, a short cry from The Den, the acclaimed Venue MOT is favourite amongst underground ravers and dance fanatics alike.

The South London spot is known for promoting smaller artists and up-and-coming acts, as well as their off-kilter events like night the ‘Naughty London Fashion Rave’, ‘������ ��◯����’ (let’s see how the CMS copes with this lettering), the ‘it’s not a phase’ emo rave, and their frankly horrifying ‘Mum’s Against Donk’, playing distasteful and hilarious Donk music all night long.

All flavours and tastes of dance music can be found in the warehouse, some sweeter than others. For the adventurous, the explorative and brave, or for those whose music taste can only be explained by a crib-age head injury, Venue MOT is the venue to be. Expect a crowd dressed like victims of a crochet bombsite, and enjoy the endless musical surprises.

See upcoming events here


Photograph of the two owners of Jumbi Peckham, Bradley Zero and Nathanael Williams
Image via jumbipeckham

133 Copeland Rd, Sutton SE15 3SN

Opening in 2022, led by Rhythm Section’s Bradley Zero and The Colours That Rise bandmember Nathanael Williams, Jumbi has in a short timeframe the Peckham late-night spot has become one of SE’s most talked-about venues.

Jumbi has been described as a ‘church to music’, prioritising the sounds of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora that give life and luxury to the culture of Peckham, itself named after a mythological spirit from Afro-Caribbean folklore.

With a stunning set up, and a comprehensive hospitality experience with offerings of great food and banging cocktails, this unit in Bussey Building has a whole host of offerings, including a vinyl record library that, midweek, punters are encouraged to browse and pull up favourites. The set-up is powered by Rogers LS 5/8 speakers, and Quad 405’s amps, which, and you can take my word for it, are absolutely massive.

Don’t wait another second. Day or night, Jumbi has it going on.

See upcoming events here