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Top 5: Small Club Nights in London

Image © Rhythm Section

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

London is one of the undisputed clubbing capitals of the world. From underground favourite Corsica Studios to the new 6000-capacity behemoth Printworks, the capital has a dizzying spread of big clubs. But sometimes you're looking for something a little more intimate - where beers are cheaper, the music is more varied and you'll meet the same friendly crowd each time. We've picked out five of the best small club nights in the capital.


Rhythm Section

Rhythm Section started life like all the best parties, as a family affair. Bradley Zero and his crew took over Canavan's Pool Club in Peckham each month for a night of soulful house and sinuous grooves. Rather than fancy lasers and photos, Rhythm Section offers two turntables, a single red light and a strict no phones on the dance-floor policy. This no-nonsense approach was made all the more unique by its unusual location, where locals would thread their way through the dance-floor to get to their weekly game of pool. Rhythm Section's star has risen over the last five years, and they now run an excellent label and have vacated Canavan's to run a roving party series across the capital.

Rhythm Section can be found in various locations throughout London. Their next two confirmed parties are June 30 at Corsica Studios and August 12 at Sunfall Festival in Brockwell Park.

Image courtesy of Rhythm Section


Wild Combination

There’s nowhere better to spend the night getting sweaty to cutting-edge dance music than Wild Combination. The East London party usually takes place at The Yard in Hackney Wick with DJs spanning the full spectrum of club music and weaving together the likes of reggaeton, techno, bass music and hip hop. The soundsystem is second to none and The Yard also sports a big, relaxed smoking area to head to for your inevitable breather from throwing furious shapes. They don't crow about it, but Wild Combination also line up female, minority and non-binary gendered artists for every event.

Wild Combination can be found in various locations throughout London. Their next party is TBC.


inner u

This loft party in Manor House focuses on self-expression: come as you like, wear what you want, dance like only you know how. The intimate space has a big, comfortable chill-out zone and esoteric decorations (we particularly like the banner that instructs dancers to "slip thru ur own surface"), but it's the warm musical selection and – more than anything – the crowd that will keep you coming back to inner u. At any given party you'll see all manner of outfits, from the arty to the DIY to the mind-bendingly bizarre, with a pair of performers that set the tone for the dance-floor. There's a sense of freedom there that makes for one of the friendliest crowds around – you'll leave at 4am knowing half the party. But don't worry if your inner self doesn't wear feather boas, cling film or gauze – you're just as welcome in a t-shirt and trackies.

inner u can be found at Low Key House, Manor House. Their next party is TBC in Summer 2017.

Image Credit: Dan Douglas


Ø

This monthly party at Corsica Studios is another tip for finding futuristic sounds from the fringes of the London scene. Run by Kode9, the head of seminal record label Hyperdub, Ø is a midweek affair where you can catch some of the best DJs around for only a fiver. Previous guests have included Arca, Laurel Halo, and even a surprise set from Björk that sent the club into meltdown. The most unusual thing about Ø isn't the music – it's the visual art installations that occupy the club's main room, providing stimulation for your mind as well as your body.

Ø can be found at Corsica Studios, Elephant and Castle, every month. Their next party is on July 19.

Image courtesy of Corsica Studios


Lucky Cloud Sound System

We love all the parties on this list, but this one might just be our favourite. Lucky Cloud has been running for fifteen years and has close ties to the late David Mancuso, the pioneering New York DJ who ran the legendary Loft parties in the 1970's. If you're used to the hassle of London clubbing, you can leave your expectations at the door with Lucky Cloud's impossibly friendly security: the party goes down on Sunday afternoons four times a year, with a free vegan buffet and the most diverse crowd you're likely to see at a party. You'll come across hardened ravers, casual dancers and even young children during the party's first few hours. The soundtrack is a mixture of soul and disco, mixed every time by cult selector Colleen Murphy. After each song the music stops and the crowd bursts into applause. It may seem strange at first, but once you enter Lucky Cloud's unique atmosphere and hear Colleen's impeccable selections, you're going to want to put your hands together too.

Lucky Cloud Sound System can be found at the Rose Lipman Building, Dalston, four times a year. Their next party is TBC in Autumn.

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