I guess because I live in the states, I'm used to places being small.
I've been in places MUCH smaller than Herbal.
The sound quality is quite above average. Sick beats.
I hope I can get back there on my next trip.
You come here for the music not the venue, staff, drinks for ambiance. Actually mentioning Herbal and ambiance in the same review is a bit of a joke really.
I've had a few nights out here. Birthdays, DJ sets, mate's nights out, it's always been an invitation rather than me actually deciding to come here myself. Expect it to be hot and busy and most likely grimy with badly dressed rude boys and east London twats clogging up the dance floor.
Herbal is the home of heavy beats and a place you certainly don't want to miss out on. I heard a rumour recently that the owner is thinking of selling it on so best get down there quick. Herbal offer alternate nights of Hip Hop, DubStep and most especially Drum 'n' Bass. In spite of its large than life persona, Herbal is actually quite a small place with a capacity of only 240. As such its probably best to get tickets before a big night as things can fill up pretty quick.
Every night I've had in this place has been one to remember; the size makes things feel very intimate and the soudsystem is top quality. On the down side the drinks are quite pricey.
Herbal is a shoebox posing as a nightclub. This place has got to be listed as a fire hazard with the local council. The amount of people that they smash into this tiny venue is ludicrous. I felt like an underprivileged hamster when I partied here. The air is a foul mixture of B.O. and sweat mist that puts even the most putrid armpit to shame.
I stood in line at the cloak room forever when I came to this place. Even when people checked their coats out of the cloak room the attendants still claimed that there was no room to check in new coats. One guy who knew one of the cloak room attendants skipped the queue, flirted with some girl and checked his coat in while the rest of us stood in line in misery. It was an abominable experience and I missed nearly the whole night waiting for someone to take my jacket. From that day on I vowed never to come back to this funk-box of doom. No matter how good the talent is that's spinning on whatever night you choose to attend, you won't have fun unless you like rubbing against sweaty shoulders and standing in interminable cloak room queues.
I'm not quite sure what to say about Herbal, apart from it's verging on the bizarre.
The first time I went was with a guy I was seeing and a few friends. We had a drink at the bar, that seemed to be holding some sort of RnB competition. Some very good singers were belting their hearts out, not really my cup of tea, but we did receive a shout out from the Bob Marley-esque DJ: "This one goooooooooes out to the couple in lurrrrrrrrve at the bar" which was rather amusing (It was the second time we'd met) as a scary looking woman crooned away to Whitney Houston. We then went outside to sit on the few tables lined up on the pavement where you can smoke shisha. We tried cherry and it was a cool, relaxing end to an evening.
The second time I went was with a group of my girlfriends and unfortunately, the fun, rather random experience of the previous time wasn't repeated. We skipped the bar and went out for shisha. After ordering the guy who brought us it hung around way too long, interrupting our good mood and making us feel really uncomfortable. Plus he smoked more of our shisha than we did! Then abruptly the bar men came and literally threw us off our seats mid puff and said that we all had to move inside (minus the shisha of course due to the smoking ban) Luckily our unwanted guest seemed as shocked as we were so we managed to make a speedy getaway into the night feeling somewhat bemused. Looking back it's probably a good thing we weren't around at closing time with the creepy characters that congregate here.
I haven't been back since and I'd hate to write it off, but you'd be better off going to Edgware Road for one of the many great and more authentic shisha cafes. Maybe you just need a few guys in tow for a visit to Herbal, not necessarily dates, but just in the same manner of using garlic to ward off vampires.
Herbal is a nice venue and its right next to catch so you can't really miss it. There lots of big beat nights and its mostly along the lines of drum 'n' bass, electro house Hip Hop, reggae, dub step etc. The down stairs can get quite crowded and is well louder than it needs to be, but upstairs is a whole new ball game. Its much nicer, its much cooler, there's just as many people and the drinks price sting a little. I'm not a hater of this place as some of the Hip Hop nights are awesome and the DJ's definitely do their thing, so its al good in the end. But if your not a major fan of this type of music it's understandably not worth putting up with...
Herbal is a legendary place. Always had the best DJ's and MC's in the game rolling through. I haven't had as much jokes anywhere else in Shoreditch since the herbal days... What a place - I hope it reopens and gets back to doing what it does best. Providing a venue for intimate skankin' and pure Drum and Bass vibes
Herbal is one of the homes of where most of London's biggest underground acts mainly within the dubstep feils go to drop tunes. Whilst being a very small place split in two level it has a nice atmosphere in there. During the week the entrance is free and if you also like drum and bass this is the place. Downstairs there are always Djs that play this kind of music. Upstairs different kind of music, reggae and r&b most of all...but every day is different and every night has its Dj so check the web site.
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