Yup, this is basically a hipster disaster zone, it looks like terrible wedding venue/school disco but that is because it actually is a legit old workingmens club, which is pretty awesome and makes me feel bad about the hipster bit...BUT NOT THAT BAD because I had an AMAZING time here. We went for the Coney Island themed party, which happened to be on my birthday and there was indeed a freakshow, the highlight of which was a man threading round the back of his nose/throat and pulling it out of his nostrils/mouth. The drinks were shockingly cheap, it was like being back at uni. The staff were really nice at the door, cloakroom & bar and the crowd was relaxed (although to be fair I'd had so many snakebiteritas at Underdog by the time we got there I was basically in love with everyone anyway.)
It's too much fun. Just go, have a laugh, and don't touch anything in the toilets.
Thoughts On The Way There:
- This place is SO far from everything!
- There's a cover charge. Boooooo!!!
Thoughts When I Was There:
- Ooooh. I like these cheap drinks.
- Ooooh. I'm somehow leading a conga line of 30 people. How'd that happen? Oh well... guess I can check that off the bucket list.
Thoughts On The Way Out:
- I'm definitely going to "steal" this rubber floatation device as a symbol of my amazing conga leading abilities. Well, that and I can't get it off me.
- Let's walk home!!! Yeeeaahhhh. That sounds like a GREAT idea.
I think the real members of the BGWC hate the babarian hoards that descend on them for the evening. They really do. Where else do you see octogenarians having to sit next to a guy in a mankini? And as an octogenarian, how would you react to that?
Sink the Pink is one HECK of a camp, glitterific caberet/ party. And from my experiences with Hot Breath parties there (where you have to use an exercise bike to power through the karaoke song), BGWC is a very special, grubby space with a penchant for the weird and wonderful.
Sorry, real members of BGWC, us t**ts are here to stay.
*Beware, the BGWC always smell of B.O- there, I've warned you!
*Also, free self defence 121 tutorials with the barmaid/men who collects the glasses. Yup, just what you need when very tipsy.
Don't go! Seriously - it's all mine and I don't want to share it.
Okay that is a bit extreme but this place is the most magical club in the world and I'm resenting every letter I type here. So here's the deal, I'll write this and you'll appreciate it but never actually set foot it this place..okay? Good!
I discovered this club/venue through my far too cool flatmate and we went on Halloween. It was like a huge house party full of your friends in some of the most horrific fancy dress I have ever seen. They have a small stage at the front where local artists perform alongside burlesque dancers for a truly eye opening experience. The place is filled with party people who dress funny even when they aren't in fancy dress and the drinks are cheap enough to get drunk on £20. That is after playing a whooping £10 to get in.
Since that night I have been back a few times and every time I do it gets harder to get in. The queues are longer and the door staff ruder, in fact this Halloween we got there and they wouldn't even let us in at all. At 7pm (and I like to say that the normal starting time for things like this is about 11pm) there was over 200 people outside all waiting. We were not one of the lucky ones.
So if I have had all of this trouble why so many star? It will still always be an amazing mixture of students, artists and free thinkers out for a good night with like minded people in a historic venue. There is even a Banksy painted on one side of it's wall.
I wish more places would be like this so that we could all fit in!
What -is- this place?!
A girl was putting on lipstick in the mirror whilst I was using the urinal trough in the gents'. Another girl was in the toilet stall.
The seat of the chair I sat on fell through between the legs as I adjusted my bum on it, and the stage was set with a massive light-festooned heart and a fabric vag the size of a sofa.
Admittedly, this happened to be on the night of The Vagina Monologues performance and the crowd was teeming with lesbians and feminists, so that might explain the decor.
I figure that the booze is typically cheap and that the space is just as grotty for any other event. The beauty of it is that's all it's meant to be - no more and no less.
As an aside... how does one punctuate the gents'? Gents? Gent's? Gents'?
There is (almost) always something (fun|fascinating|odd|great|dumb|WTF?!|ust plain weird) going on here.
The door? Cheap as a 60p cuppa tea (prices may vary)
The beer? Cheap as chips
The entertainment? Cheap as yo mama.
Before we went in we were given a little speech on how to leave quietly at the end of the night and to tell any friends who would be joining us to arrive before 12 as there would be no admission afterwards.
Within minutes we were up in the dancing area and, dressed in the most disgusting combination of clothes I'd managed to dig up in from my dressing up box for the Bad Taste party, danced the night away.
This place goes all out to create a night of fun and frolicks for all. We had a live band playing great covers of cheesy hits (including the theme music to Grange Hill), we had two guys in Blades of Glory outfits perform the most amazing dance medley and we had masses of awesome tunes in between. There were people dressed as whoopie cushions, several Amy Winehouses, leotards galore on both girls and boys and even an odd banana.
We conga'd, we did the Irish Rover, we dirty danced, we sang Oh Happy Day on the stage with arms aloft, we drank, we swapped accessories, we laughed and we stumbled home at 2:30am with smiles on our faces. Ashley V even had a karate stand off with the old drag queen glass collector.
I've only been here during Hillbilly Hop, so I can't comment on the other events. However, this was good. Teddy boys (and girls) , Shanghai girls and various other swing-set drag mingled with butches, trannies and local Bethnal Green hipsters. There were even a few real working men. An espadrille-wearing snag wondered in from somewhere, (I don't know what that was about. Perhaps he was European). We could have been at the Club Deluxe, except that in San Francisco, real working men are few and far between.
The highlight of the evening was the Fulsom Four, whose lead singer did an excellent job of channeling Johnny Cash. I didn't know he was considered Hillbilly, but what do I know. The band did sing at least one Hillbilly song, by Dolly Parton.
So this review is based on my recent expedition of BGWC's fun-filled theme of Games Night.
I like games. Specifically social games. Not mind games (I tend to be pretty direct with people, and say what I mean, and mean what I say). And not computer games (though one day I may be sucked more and more into online social games - early predictions say, it's going to be the biggest growing industry in 5 years) but I like pub quizzes, board games - you know, random games and if you like social games then BGWC is the place to play them.
I've been to a few nights here before and to be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect ''because it's all about fun, & money's a dirty word unless you win it!!!!'' (Their words, not mine). But if I had predicted I was going to challenge two other contestants to a game of utter flexibility to pick up a Kellogg's cereal box with only my teeth - in front of a room full of boozed-up strangers chanting my name - then I would have known what I was getting myself into!
There was bingo (£1 for two games) with fabulous prizes such as toilet seat covers, fishing reels, t-shirts and free sambuca shoots, karaoke which normal folk in the crowd can get up and belt out a tune (no not like Lucky Voice but actually a stage performance! There was this amazing guy who alternated between falsetto and bass to Blondie's Heart of Glass - I think he had rehearsed this one...), the tape measure challenge where participants had to measure-out to the roof - without bending the tape and my personal favourite (apart from my apparent graceful attempt at doing the splits earlier that night) 'Queoke' - that's right, you form a que and each singer gets to sing a few lines each while everyone else dances in the front!!
Like I said, I have been to a few other nights here. And they can cost up to £10 entry-fee but Games Night is free to get in, and it's certainly a night where the crowd start off tentative and as the evening wares on, people are more likely to loose their inhibitions and volunteer themselves for a bit friendly gaming-malarkey!
£3 for spirits and bottled beer. You can also order takeaway. But my friend's order arrived almost 2 hours later and with no cutlery - so it's a bit hit and miss to be honest.
Other nights are brilliant too by the way!
But my first games night will be a night I certainly won't forget! Go and find out for yourself.
Off the beaten path.
Ok, not going to lie, had a great time. Not too crowded, drinks not terribly expensive, somewhat obscure location, but a really fun time. If you like themed nights where people dress up, this may be the place for you.
I normally on principal "don't do" cover charges, but they seemed to make it worth the money. Its not just a scene you're getting in exchange. My night I had: a live band, a burlesque dancer, temporary tattoos complements of Sailor Jerry and an accompanying shots of rum (and ginger beer), two photo opps in against a "jail" mug shot and a fake electric chair, plus dancing, etc. I felt that for £5, that was enough bang for my buck.
I'll be back for sure and bringing friends. Sorry Lizzie G. Only cool ones, I promise. ;)
The BGWC is an interesting place.
When you first enter, you'll notice that its located in the middle of a council estate. Don't worry. Its perfectly safe so say the bouncers at the door before they tell us to keep quiet when we leave so as to not wake the neighbours.
The second thing I noticed was that there was a massive cutout of a heart on the wall of the stage. It was totally something out of a 1980s high school dance. I was waiting for someone to throw pigs blood on me. Sadly, that did not happen.
The third thing I noticed as I left the swell of queer hipsters for a smoking break were the groups of pensioners in the basement having a drink and play cards. I'm not sure who was more surprised, them or me.
Yea, BGWC is that kind of a place which is why I love it.
I got into a karate fight with a cross dressing busser.
She kept cutting through our dancing group and tried to karate chop my friend in the neck earlier. When she came round to clear our glasses again I challenged her. We took our bows and began. It was a close call but I won, and in doing so earned her respect. We were free to dance in our little corner near the dj booth in peace.
And the busser and I have a standing date to go shopping at a nearby market for a costume for next time cause I wasn't wearing one that night.
Jail House Jam
This little venue was neatly decorated to represent a Jail House with everyone dressed as a cop or in a striped suit. They had tattoos you could get, a bar, and an electric chair. They played old jail house jams, had a stripper, and even a show with inmates performing. It was great!
Me and my mates had such a wonderful time here. The theme was very exciting and I just know that they have great parties and shows every time. Definitely go here and you won't regret it. It's a great time and makes for awesome pictures. Dress up in costume if you can, it makes it that much more fun :]
If nostalgia alone could drive a place's reputation, the Bethnal Green Workingmen's Club would be untouchable. Any drawbacks that one could point up can easily be wiped away by its merits. It succeeds in comporting a kind of instant credibility by virtue of its griminess and the variety of the nights hosted. That it's ultimately cold in its self-centred scenester M.O. (an attitude imported, I imagine, from similarly ramshackle clubs one finds in major American and Canadian cities) does not seem to bother the clientele one bit as they consume £3 bottle of beer after £3 bottle of beer.
It does, however, bother me. Can't we all just have a good time without resorting to Vice Magazine irony with a twee sensibility? More than anywhere else I feel like I am in Williamsburg circa 2003 when I'm at BGWMC. But I had a fun time back then, so it can't be all that bad.
It is good, clean fun. Meh. Sometimes. But it could easily be more interesting, and every time I've been I've left well before the last bell has been rung.
Ever been to a school disco, where the gym equipment was only partially concealed, the floors were a little sticky and the walls smelt faintly of malt whiskey? Well that would be capture the charm of the Working Men's Club then, steeped in East End history demarcated by a summertime Banksy print sprawled across its outer walls, commissioned by Tower Hamlets (at least that's what the stamp reads!)
It may look a little like an antiquated backwater, but the events are varied and attract both the quirky and avant garde. Thursday night burlesque is particularly over indulgent, just don't bring any hard boiled eggs! Confused, then get down to Pollard Row to see what I'm harping on about!
I like it here. I think. I spent my birthday here and that was great. It was my 25th and was much fun indeed. I'm just not sure how much I like the club. I think I do. It's a cool indie trash glam burlesque type place. Or something like that.
But it's a strange mix of trash and glamour. But it's more trash. The Banksy print has made it annoyingly easy for people to find. Grrrr.
It's small, cosy and intimate, but it's full of people who are too cool for that. You won't find yourself having random conversations with people. I didn't anyway. But I did get free drinks for no reason and started a locomotion when Kylie was playing and that was fun.
The nights are varied here and that's great fun. You never know what you're going to find. But you should prepare beforehand. If you're late and you're not all dressed up, they might not let you in at all.
Unless you have nerves of steal like me and blag your birthday latecomers in while you're smoking a fag outside. In fact, for that, they can have another star.
Bethnal Green Working Men's Club was one of the first places that opened when Shoreditch began its slump as the ideal place for arty, alternative clubbing. I remember wondering whether the owners were being a bit too ironic, with the plastic school hall chairs, MDF tables and bar reminiscent of something slightly less classy looking that the Eastenders' Queen Vic. Now there are alternative scene bars in 'old man pubs' all over Hackney and Bethnal Green. It's almost as if they started a trend
The difference with the Working Men's is that they have a varied and creative entertainment programme that has spanned barn dancing, rock gigs and summer fetes (I mean the latter example quite literally, think a booze-fuelled hipster recreation of the Darling Buds of May!). They're a great place to remember when you're applying what is known by locals as the No Saturday Rule (i.e.: people going out on any night BUT a Saturday to avoid all the people that come out wanting to fight the guys and fondle the gals).
I went to HungaMunga when I was there. Billed as 'the arty party without the arty farties', it was a mass of people sitting at tables, scrawling childlike drawings, painting each others' faces, moulding things out of play-doh and generally indulging the event's regressive joy. Needless to say, you don't need to be Rothko to come to this night.
The rest of the line up is varying but similar in terms of the freedom to be unbelievably silly and make John Cleese look like the Pope in comparison. They usually shut up shop at 3am, and are a stone's throw away from the adjoining main road's night buses home.
This has got to be the best night out in London at present.
Bird La Bird takes you on a couture and feathered ride and entertains you as soon as you get through the door. Expect to see top performances that either leave you on the edge of your seat, or laughing so hard you positive you are going to wet yourself. Couple that with cheap entry, interesting venue and then a chance to drink lots and dance the night away, it just doesn't get better than that for me!
The last couple of Bird Club's have been packed, but a lot of that is down to the appeal of Bird. Her performances are addictive and you'll want to see her again and again and again.
I really cannot advise you to go here enough. You will have fun and you will want to go back for more.
I just when to the club last sat 24 July 2010.
Its nice and people there is nice and friendly. music is rock 60s night.
people dress up many good looking girls too. well, im sure will go back again,. 7 aug. i hope you guy come and join us.
BGWMC is fun. the venue is great, the staff is friendly and the nights are varied.
plus they have close-up film screenings on tuesday which show brilliant films
best night is probably jailhouse jam when the whole club is transformed into a fake jail. lots of fun, great music.. no complaints here!
What a place! Honestly it's like entering a time machine. I was there for a friend's birthday celebration and it was a blast. The theme of the night we 50's, apparently they do different themes depending on the day. For me and my friends it was a great occasion to wear lovely retro cocktail dressess, do our hair in lovely curls and put on some red lipstick. The shows they put at this venue are really good; we saw a really cool rockabilly band play; the lead singer had a big zoot suit and wiggled his hips like a blender on high speed, so much so that sweat dripped from his forehead, I know it sounds yuk, but it just made it all so real. It felt like Back to the Future! Then we had a burlesque show it was quite cool, this burlesque scene is huge, and I like it, its sexy and classy.
This night I danced and twirled my body to the sounds of good old rock and roll music like never before, what an exercise. One thing to be mentioned is the ratio of men per women, it was not even at all. Lots of girls, not enough blokes. My guess is that the whole dressing up thing is really dear to girls, while boys like to just go for a drink in their normal garbs. So for all men single who are looking for a lovely lady this place is a gold mine!
I highly recommend taking a trip down memory lane in this cool spot.
Just this weekend a group of students, including myself, were treated to the most horrifying display of arrogance and disrespect by the apes/bouncers at this club. After a good dose of intimidation at the door, one of my party was accused of making trouble at the coat and bag check (he held up the queue for less than a minute, waiting for one of us to fish out a coin for his bag). The manager came up to him, said rudely that the club didn't need his business, and that he take himself and his refund out at once. My friend asked what the reason was, because he didn't even know there was a problem! No reason was given, only threats, and he was then dragged by the arm by one of the bouncers. Another friend tried to intervene, but was pushed down by the NECK down the entrance stairs.
I understand the whole right to refuse entry bit, but we were all completely sober and were not loud or aggressive at all. Worst part is, our MA program actually had its fundraiser at the club just two months ago, and was precisely the reason why we thought of it when we were looking for a place to party.
A huge disappointment, this club ruined our night! Who would want to go to a club where the manager doesn't even want to listen to your complaint, and tells you he doesn't need your money??? Rude, arrogant, very aggressive. Go to bethnal green working mens club if you want to treated like a piece of trash, and be welcomed with a slew of insults and nasty attitude from staff.
Bethnal Green is steeped in history, mention the Kray brothers to anyone and they'll recall Bethnal Green as being home to these gangsters and sure enough this was once the gangster capital of East London. Things have changed since those days, and Bethnal Green is now a fairly expensive part of town to live in - but the working men's club has somehow managed to balance the old and the new perfectly. Still existing downstairs as a working men's club (although women are allowed these days, it's more of a meeting place for the elder generation) the upstairs plays host to some tantalising burlesque and rockabilly action. Be warned - this is not a place for those whose weekend uniform is high street fashion, this is all about dressing up like a siren or teddy boy from the 1950's and rock and rolling into the small hours and if you're not dressed satisfactorily the slightly over protective bouncers will refuse you entry. I have witnessed cabaret, nudity and dance moves that make you green with envy on the occasions I've been. There is usually a popcorn machine so the air is thick with the smell of sweet cooking corn. There is an entrance fee of £7, fairly steep but consider that you're paying for the cabaret as well as the DJ's. Bottled beer is £3 per bottle, but drinking is not what this place is about - it's all about watching a woman peel masking tape from her body and dancing to music that your grandparents used to jive to! A real different London experience and a glimpse into London of old, this place is highly recommended and one of the first places I take visitors.
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