I've visited the Book Club a few times, though never at night when the party probably gets started. But, swinging by for a glass of wine after work while I read, this seemed like a pretty great place. The bartenders are friendly, attentive, and adorable. They serve quickly and don't mind helping you if decision-making is a skill you were born without. Free wifi is always a bonus, as is a creative approach to interior design. While it may seem a bit odd, my favourite part of The Book Club is that it isn't crammed full of tables - you actually have room to yourself; a rarity in this city.
I only know this place as a place to drink and dance. If that's what you're after then I don't think this is the place for you. The bar is a nightmare for getting served once the place gets busy, the hip bar staff seem to be too cool to give you the time of day whilst serving you.
The crowd is of course dependant on the night, that too has been a mixed back. You're looking at people on their early 20's and students. The club part downstairs is fine too but they let in too many people in the place so it gets uncomfortable on occasion, oh and did I mention if you want a drink you'll have to queue up for about an hour post 9pm?
5 stars for the venue and the ambiance.
But the food was terrible; and the service lacking.
If you're a hipster and are only thinking of coming here for drinks at night this review isn't for you. This place perplexes me. They supposedly open at 8am but more often than not I'm not able to order food at 8:30 or 8:45 because the chef hasn't shown up yet. This morning I walked up to place an order and the server asked me what I'd like and I ordered some food and she said the kitchen wasn't open yet, so I ordered some coffee and she said the coffee machine has been broken for a few days. After confirming that there was actually nothing I could order unless I wanted a cocktail at 8:30 in the morning I left.
You order food from the bar but there are no signs to that effect and the staff do not bother to mention it so I've made somewhat of a sport of watching people come in, sit down and look increasingly frustrated and confused until they either get up and walk out, or walk up to the bar and ask for a server at which point they are informed that they should be ordering at the bar and stared at incredulously by the staff as if they should have known that. Even when the place is nearly empty it can take 10 minutes to get a cup of coffee and it is delivered to the table with an air of extreme inconvenience. If the food wasn't so good (when you can get it) and the wifi free I'd find somewhere else to eat breakfast.
The Book Club is an excellent all rounder of a venue. It's great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Food is great, from soups, to full on burgers. Orange juice of course is freshly squeezed with one of those machines that you can see do all the squeezing! Essentially if The Book Club is going to do something. It seems the mission is to do it well.
The venue itself has a small room for table tennis. A place for hats and jackets. A small space in the basement for a bar and live music. Free Wifi, comfy sofas.
Not content with all that which would be a selling point itself in any normal Shoreditch haunt, I haven't begun to mention the many multitude of events that are going on all the time. Almost every single day of the week? Ping pong competitions, life drawing, Yoga, Arts/Crafts, Film nights, theme nights?. This place is Intimate, friendly, functional and trendy without bordering on the pretentious.
It's a jack of all trades, and proud of it.
I've been to some really nice spots in London, but was lookin for a chill location to continue writing and hopefully finish my book. I found out about The Book Club by doing a Google search for "great places to write in London". Boy was this recommendation accurate! It was a little difficult to find walking from the Liverpool Street tube station, but well worth the hassle. It's officially one of my favorite spots in London. I hate to write that because what I like about it would be ruined if you had to queue up outside.
The interior is full of natural light from the giant picture windows that look out into a nondescript little alley. The alley sounds horrible, but there is some art grafitti on the brick wall across the way and people constantly passing outside. Inside, the walls are brick, painted white and bright with black words in cursive to add interest. There are also books hanging on the wall and some really phenomenal art pieces, plus modern folk style green plants in terra-cotta pots on the wall.
The internal ambiance is amplified by the choice of indie rock and old school r&b and pop tunes (think Michael Jackson in his younger days). I should probably add that I was the only one working who had a PC instead of a MAC, and that the choice of male attire was the modern pantaloon a.k.a. skinny jeans. I didnt mind either way. The MAC is on my dream list and the pants increased my viewing pleasure.
As for the food, well, it's organic, with some choice vegetarian items, but of course I had ham, free-range eggs, and chips (french fries). My meal was delicious! And to top it off they have a full bar and coffee bar. Its like mom's modern farm kitchen if it had a bar and coffee shop.
Good grief, I've become effusive! I can't say enough good things here. I will be back, maybe daily, while I'm in London this month. In a place like this I'm actually inspired that my labor will yield fruit.
Dallas, are you paying attention? You need a place like this.
What a great find!
I went to The Book Club on a Sunday morning to catch up on some writing and fell in love with the place! Very spacious, great music, a laid-back environment and excellent food. I had the pancakes, which were delicious and then spent some quality time in a comfy chair by the window enjoying the atmosphere. The staff were also very polite and at no point did I feel like I had over stayed my welcome, even after being there for 3 hours. Highly recommended!
This place has a fantastic programme of events--live art, salons, etc--along with great food and pretty good drinks and ping pong tables. Just an overall exciting mix of things to do and see.
Minus a star for the difficult layout downstairs--half the room just can't see what's going on "onstage" no matter where they put the stage for the evening.
Had a lovely evening here at a Screen Social event. It involved a dj, a bar, some short films playing on several walls around the downstairs events area and it's social, so you can catch up with friends along the way! I can't wait to go back and try the food upstairs and my hand at some ping pong! It seems they have lots of great events downstairs so I'm extremely happy to have stumbled this treasure trove of interestingness in London and will report more once I've explored further!
Really enjoyed the vibe and trendy artwork. Great place to sit with your laptop or have a game of table tennis! Very spacious too
I had completely the wrong image in my head when I pictured the Book Club. To me it was a small cafe style place to go for a snack or weekend coffee or to, you know, read books. Wrong! This place is massive! Feel free to do those things I just mentioned, but it's also so much more.
We came along on a weekday afternoon just as people were beginning to leave the office (although to many people taking advantage of the free wifi I think this place IS their office). I immediately loved the space, the table arrangements were a bit odd (lots of grouping into long canteen style tables) but fine.
We played some ping pong and gradually remembered some of the skills from our youth, had a beer after a rather long wait at the bar with one person ahead of us, and ate a rather dry lemon & polenta cake. Apparently the place gets rammed in the evenings but I rarely find myself out here on those evenings so I won't be experiencing THAT book club. I'm just happy I found this one.
Been here a couple of times now. Once on a night out and once for drinks mid week. Night out was very busy downstairs, perhaps too busy in a way but they were playing good music. It's cool how they have the table tennis upstairs. For drinks, I got some nachos and they were very tasty, approx £6. They always have some good stuff going on downstairs mid week too, check out their website for links to Facebook events. Would recommend.
I'm not a fan. The Book Club has fallen into the trap of bars in Shoreditch (McQueen's being another) that will turn away people on the basis of their not being a mixed group. It is an absolute nonsense.
When we did finally make it through the hallowed entrance, I came to realise that the bar falls into the trap of many licenced restaurants - invariably the quality of the beer suffers. They are by-the-numbers lagers, with poorly serviced lines, meaning the lager is tasteless and flat.
Given the other reviews, this may have been a bad day. Unfortunately, I will not be going back any time soon to check.
After spending an hour or so here in the evening, I've come to the conclusion that The Book Club is essentially a hipster cafeteria with a bar and ping pong table. The tables were pushed together in orderly rows which was a bit odd. There also wasn't anywhere to sit or enough seats. This lead to a few customers sitting on the floor by the table where the rest of their mates were. The crowd was quite young and *the* definition of a Shoreditch dickhead. Everyone was trying so hard to be and look cool that for a second I thought that I may have magically entered an episode of Skins.
Thank God that my cocktail was amazing I had the Adult Lemonade. I was hoping that it would be like a lemon drop martini. However, I was not disappointed to discover that it tasted like lemon sherbet. It was good. So good in fact that I may brave the crowd of pretentious hipsters to come back here and try it again.
I wanted to review the Literary Death Match, but can't work out how to. Instead, it's location gets a shout out!
Our friend Olly has been going about the Literary Death Match for months. Cast your mind back to 8 Mile, with Eminem chickening out the first time he has to battle that super-confident rapper with dreads. Remember? Well, it's that like (the founder is from Brooklyn after all) - but with prose, comedy and poetry.
Though it's been held in London before. Last Wednesday's event was for the first time held at The Book Club in Shoreditch - which in itself was lovely. A two-floored hideaway with a neon-lit bar up top (we had food afterwards, a hot & cold meze platter big enough for three costs £12 and we bulked it up with some extra wedges). Anyway, nice nibbles aside, the basement was the location for the 'match'.
We arrived and I was distracted by the lightbulb ceiling (made entirely from lightbulbs pinned to the wooden beams) for a good ten minutes. 150 people ended up crushing in, and off we went.
Round 1. Two contestants with seven minutes each to read any type of literature. Both are then judged by the panel of three (last night, it was singer/artist Molly Carroll tasked on 'intangibles', tv presenter/actress Emma Kennedy on performance and Rising Magazine's Tim Wells on form). A winner is then announced, and then after round two - a final. This time around, it consisted on throwing Cadbury Crème Eggs through holes cut out of British authors faces. Bizarre. I would have liked to have seen some kind of improvisation instead.
Anyway, it was bloody good fun and I'll definitely go again. Seven minutes seems to be the perfect length of time to hold a room's attention and it's a really unique type of event to go to.
The LDM's are held all around the world, so check literarydeathmatch.com for more details.
Like a lady on the street but a freak in the bed, The Book Club services all my needs.
Yeah yeah yeah.
Went to the Club with my homie, tryna get a lil cocktails, keep it down on the low key.
Crowd was heavy, it had me feelin' like whoa...
Cocktails were fresh, I got so caught up, I was screaming
Yeah, yeah, yeah
She asked for ping pong, I said come and get me
In the club lookin' so conspicuous.
She asked for one more game, it ain't over till we play doubles.
Take that and rewind it back, time for brunch
So we decided to chill
How you like me now, veggie full English and a crowd so cool
Now I gotta keep it real now, staff so a certified twenty
They bring the food and I'm
Like yeah, how the hell am I supposed to leave?
Yeah yeah yeah
This place needs yelp. It's crying out for people to know about it! With a huge space, regular talks and lectures as well as a ping pong table, The Book Club deserves to survive.
I came here for tea and cake over the weekend and was impressed with a tasty apple tart and super friendly Shoreditch Twats serving me. There were a few couples snuggled in corners brunching and a large group of people in the middle all around one table having breakfast. Even though there were people there the place just seemed empty, apparently it's always like this during the day so potentially a great place to get some solid reading done or get on with work.
Thomas W is fair with his 3 stars but i think I would make this spot a regular haunt, so i'm going to throw 4 at it.
Had brunch here this weekend - I would give the place 5 stars for comfort (love the couches by the window) and relaxed atmosphere (had my little puppy with me and they didnt mind me bringing her in).
The food was just OK - the full english was decent but nothing special. At £8.5 was a little pricey for the quality.
Just FYI - you have to go up to the counter and order for yourself - we didnt realize this and ended up waiting at the table for a while.
This used to be Home and is now a showroom for Ercol furniture and a place to play ironic table tennis.
On a Sunday afternoon to get drunk on it was underfilled and a bit cold. The drinks were good and some of the alternative cabaret stuff might be interesting. This might be one to reserve judgment on.
Price - £standard hoxton
CANNOT wait to go back!! So fun. I liked it the minute I entered. This place is the perfect mix of a casual stop-in for a bite, a comfortable lounging area to do some reading and a hip bar (how do they do it?!?) - had brunch my first time but will be back for other reasons as well.
My first full british breakfast was GREAT! I mean, was I that hungry or they just make beans so well?! (seriously, best beans I've had and that's gotta be the easiest thing to make.) And I tried two of the cocktails from their very long and intriguing cocktail list: something with chocolate and something with pear in the description - both excellent (pear one sweeter). I'll need to work myself through the list.
Based on first experience - awesome place!
SPACE. There is so much delicious space here.
I met a friend for coffee and we found it oh so difficult to get up afterwards. There is a wonderful amount of breathing space in the book club and the atmosphere that goes with it encourages your return.
Picture yourself all stuffed up in your flat and screaming at a screen... no space, no coffee. Then move that screen into a lovely large open space, with mix-matched chairs, big mugs of coffee, others with screens and bright open windows. Doesn't that sound like something you would want regularly?
To top it off, they seem to some really snazzy events on after dark. The broad opening hours fit it all in.
I will regulate this place.
I like it a lot, great for breakfast, lunch meetings, ping pong midweek and chasing girls at weekends.
Coffee sometimes hit and miss would be my only vague criticism.
I love this place. It's a cafe-cum-lounge-cum-hipster hangout supreme. Or whatever.
By day a great place to meet for lunch or coffee, with interesting, unique and healthy items on the menu. Quirky atmosphere.
I loved this place even more when I went by night!
In the downstairs bit, I danced my face off. Some awesome 60's & 70's music, a disco ball, a foosball table & old movies playing on a projector! How cold you not have a good time?
I just started working & playing in Shoreditch a few months ago - so I expect many more visits to the book club in my future :)
Just one gear on my fixie bike, I've got a plus one here for my gig tonight.
Oh, sorry, what? Oh, I'm writing a review .. right.
The Book Club somewhat suffers (well, actually, benefits) from being smack-bang in the middle of that swathe of East London that has been colonised by the Hipster. There's no doubting that this place is firm hipster territory, there's a lot of them here but it doesn't mean you have to be a hipster to enjoy it. I came for lunch here with my friend on a weekday afternoon and we managed to get a decent window seat with no wait. The décor is very nice, wooden furniture, exposed brick walls, there's big black and white prints up all around and the large windows ensure it's nice and light.
The menu is pretty solid, I had ham, egg and chips. Sorry, I mean I had hand-cured honey ham, free-range egg and home-made crispy chipped potatoes. And my friend had vegetarian lasagne which was, actually, advertised as just "vegetarian lasagne" in their credit. Ours both came in around the £7-8 mark for a main meal and it arrived really quickly, literally about 10 minutes after we ordered. I have to say it was really good, solid food. The chips were amazing, properly crispy, the egg was cooked perfectly and the ham was in big slabs and they weren't short on portions either.
I can't say anything about the drinks as we had tap water from the iced jugs on the bar (extra kudos for that) and neither can I say anything about this place in the evening. There's a ping-pong table at the back near the toilets which I gather is home to a tournament and there were paddles and balls out so we could have played if we'd wanted to. I loved the way the seating was arranged with tables and communal benches but plenty of room to move around so you're not smacking people in the face with your uber-trendy canvas bags when you're trying to leave. I also thought the staff were quite friendly for a hipster-orientated establishment.
All in all I'll give this place 4 stars based on this one visit. I think we might have been lucky or maybe it's always this good. It's somewhere I want to take people in the future and be all "oh yeah, I heard about this place from a friend" about.
Take me on a date here. The vast amount of natural light pouring through the huge windows make me look super hot.
From afternoon tea and some wifi neccessary work to introducing out-of-town guests to the polite and "accessible" side of Shoreditch, this is the place to go.
The Book Club has great music, a full bar, and an extensive snack and dinner menu. The veggie platter is fresh and the cajun potatoes wedges with sour cream and sweet/sour sauce are perfect to share over a dark and stormy.
They also have an extensive events calendar, which you can pick up at the door in a super fun fold-out format (sometimes paper is better than online). Hint Hint, there are plenty of opportunities for you ask me to an event to see how super hot I look.
The staff is fairly friendly, whilst reminding you that they were hired not the serve, but look cool.
FYI: No card transactions less than £10, so pick up some cash en route.
Nice place for breakfast and working away on your computer (free wifi of course). actually it served us as kind of an office for more than a month.
including breaks at the ping pong table.
it gets a bit smelly and smokey after lunch though. the downside of an open kitchen.
The Book Club - i am really really looking forward to going back to this place tonight. I, by definition, am not a Shoreditch person. I do not like wearing things that clutch to my skin, my sun glasses fit my face, and i do not have Top Shop/man buyers stalking me on the street trying to get an idea of what the next seasons, scene fashion fix will be! I never thought i would feel so at home at the Book Club, but then again, how can you not? The furniture is charming, comfy and different! It really compliments the relaxing and opposingly lively environment that the Book Club creates.
The last time i was there, i took a date. I was very cautious about this at first, as well, i did not know what to expect - and well i wanted to impress the girl! Whatever initial scepticism i had vanished as soon as we went downstairs to shoot a couple of rounds of pool (great for flirtation!) But my god, what is wrong with London?! This is possibly the only bar i have been to in the whole of London that has a pool table! What the hell is that all about? I am a Northerner for gods sake, it has come to be an expectation of going out for a drink!
Now after a bit of pool, we headed upstairs to have a few more drinks. The music is pretty standard for the area, but for London as a whole is pretty good! I do not remember hearing anything particularly rare, but it was certainly all tasteful. Heading upstairs, we had a few rounds of table tennis with an American couple (who we destroyed) Where else in London can you play table tennis? This bar is legendary for this reason alone!
The bar also has a really large underground space and while we were there was some kind of hip hop gig on. The acoustics were great and while it was quite loud, you could quite happily escape the noise and cosy up on a sofa next door to talk.
Great night, lovely service, nice people, table tennis.
When you're a sole traveler, you really appreciate a friendly bartender and I felt warmly welcomed by the bartender at The Book Club. I came here on a Thursday night and tried The Sweet as a Nut and the Long and Thin. Both were delicious drinks, but my weak US dollar couldn't handle anymore than two drinks and I had to leave. The Book Club seems like a really good place to meet and mingle with new people, and I actually did end up meeting a couple of interesting people and had some good quality conversation.
Come here for the alcohol, stay for the people ;)
A taste of the Mission in the heart of London! Tabletennis table, Shoreditch hipsters in checked shirts and skinny jeans, 100% Mac users. I felt so at home, at home!
Food was nothing special, but the atmosphere was quirky and cool. A great place to work on your start-up idea.
I've only ever been to the Book Club on a Sunday morning or afternoon. During these magic hours, the Book Club is less hipster hangout and more local cafe-cum-bar. Downbeat and unpretentious, you can drink London Fields on tap, eat some reasonably enjoyable food, listen to indie music from the early noughties, play some ping pong and tap in to the free wifi, all while relaxing in the spacious, light-filled ground floor.
What more could you want?
That being said, I wouldn't be caught dead coming here for an evening.
Food was good but nothing life-changing. Staff ignored me pretty much the whole time but were friendly enough once approached.
holes in the wall
ping pong table
framed illustrations on display
*amazing* sharing platters
not being able to get a seat and order an *amazing* sharing platter after 7pm on a Friday night
my face (after hearing there is a £5 cover charge after 8pm on weekend nights)
Loud music (even during the day, i.e. where you can't be heard ordering your tea) and iffy teapots (all metal so they cool down too quickly) and a little on the spendy side.
On the up side, they've great events and good community and lovely deco and nice cakes and teas and beers and foods.
All round good. I'd probably give it 3 1/2 stars in all actuality but they've go the je ne sais quois to go one better.
One of the great things about Shoreditch is that there are tonnes of great places for one to hang out, whether it's day or night. And the only thing similar about each of these venues is that they all offer something different. I suspect I might not be explaining myself all that well, but if you're a regular in this part of town, I hope you get what I mean.
T.B.C., I'm happy to say, is the same as the other clubs in the area in its different-ness. What other place here - or in London - has a room dedicated to table tennis? From what I can tell, this room is in use regularly, although it's safe to say I won't be partaking in this. For one thing, my grip is very loose when I'm sober, so there's no telling who'll get hurt if I'm even slightly intoxicated, and, more importantly, I'm ethnic Chinese, so I'd be risking the reputation of my forefathers if I end up losing, never mind that I've never actually played before.
T.B.C. has two areas: the upstairs dining area where the table tennis is, and the downstairs DJ and dance area, where you'll find a room with a shelf full of books (hence, the name). I didn't get a close look at the books, but I did see some people returning some tomes, which, in my opinion, makes this place that much cooler. I love places which provide books for you to while away the time. It just feels so welcoming and relaxing. There's also a pool table here in case you haven't yet found something to keep you busy.
The furniture here seems cobbled together in that it's almost artistically mismatched. I'm not sure if it worked too well in the dining area; from where I was sitting (a comfy sofa located by the entrance so I'd get hit by blasts of cold air every time someone entered), some of the seats - or rather benches - looked rather uncomfortable. In contrast, the basement gave off an Ikea-cafe- meets-speakeasy feel. The ceiling of the bar in the basement was essentially a net full of light bulbs, which made me very nervous as a couple of them looked as if they might fall.
There're quite a few events going on at this venue, and it's safe to say I'll definitely be back to check them out some time in the near future.
Just as a last note, T.B.C. is owned by the same people who own The Queen of Hoxton, which is another really cool Shoreditch hang-out, so it's safe to say these guys have some experience of knowing what makes a club a great place to be.
My friends and I came here for brunch on a Sunday. Casual atmosphere with communal tables, and I love how there's enough space between tables so you don't feel cramped. It's spacious, yet has a ping pong table in the back and a billiards table downstairs.
I also love the exposed brick walls with horizontal oval cutouts, and the large windows. Very laid back and seems like a great place to hang out and waste a few hours.
The food was fine, nothing spectacular (but maybe I'm just used to the really creative brunch fare in New York) but decent, and reasonably priced.
Went here for a breakfast meeting with one of them trendy Shoreditch media types... definitely the place for it.
They've got a regular menu of events from poetry and philosophy to music and networking. It also appears to be quite a decent bar. Obviously it's less easy to judge that in the cold light of day...
Neat little brunch menu, the scrambled eggs were particularly fine!
TBC has amazing breakfast and the atmosphere is great. The staff is very friendly and can strongly recommend the place for a relaxing morning.
I've been to this place 3 days in a row now and I always look forward to the next meal here. So far, I've had the Full English Breakfast, the chicken, and the halibut dishes. They were all very good.
The ingredients are fresh, the atmosphere is hip, and the service is great!
I upped my rating by one star because I think it's THAT good.
Nice place, it deserves 5 stars just for having something called the Shoreditch twat on the drhinks menu!
The atmosphere is great, good music, 1960s decoration and lots of comfy seats on the ground floor...must check this out outside night hours, with its free wi-fi, sofas and breakfast menu seems a good place to bring a book and read (or to just look intellectual pretending it). Have a look at their website, lots of events coming up every week.
I haven't had the best of times with The Book Club. I tried to book it for my website's birthday. I tried a month in advance. Spoke to three different people. Not one of them got back to me. If you're looking to book out an area for an event, I'd go elsewhere. And because of that, I didn't come here as quickly as I would have, I was just totally unconvinced by their service.
So I came, I saw and I liked. I'm still not convinced by the place. Don't get me wrong, great venue, cool ping pong tables. Nice enough staff. But a £10 minimum is always going to piss me off (especially when I'm not told in advance despite holding a card). I don't like the high minimum spends. We're not in the dark ages and it basically stops people drinking on their own. I wasn't, but I did have to wait until my date arrived before I bought a drink.
The wine was alright, I wasn't fussed. I don't actually get what all the fuss is about. I'm sure if you come here for an event it's fun. The place is nice (and would be nicer if they tidied up a bit and cleared some tables). Thing is, I won't recommend them to anyone for an event, and I'd already decided that I'd dock a star because of their incompetence earlier in the year. It's left a really bad taste in my mouth and the bar just isn't awesome enough for me to forget it.
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