I came here with a few friends for NYE, and while the door staff were horrible to deal with we ended up having a great night in the end.
When we arrived, it was just before 11PM and it took us a couple minutes to talk to the person managing the guest list (he was talking to someone else) but by the time we spoke with him it was 11:03PM, and he didn't want to let us in because we were on the guest list and the gust list closed at 11PM. After trying to negotiate, eventually we were able to go inside. Mind you, at this point there were only about 20 people on the queue and it was still pretty empty inside on all the levels - and it didn't start to get packed till just before midnight.
But that aside, once we were in it was really great! The bar staff were quick, friendly, and efficient (never waited longer than 5 minutes to get served!) and while the prices were steep for the area, they made sense for a NYE bash and weren't high for Central London on a normal night. (£5 for a glass of wine, £4 for a can of Red Strip, £5 for a glass of prosecco) So my purse was happy ;)
I loved that there were so many floors and that every floor had it's own music and vibe and such great artwork projected on the walls and wonderful decorations everywhere! Though on NYE, the basement was my fave: a chilled energy, no bar queue, great music and plenty of room to dance.
However, I wish there were more loos, and that the loos they did have were better maintained. It was so gross.
Still, I'd love to come back here.
4* because the loos were gross (though maybe they aren't like this every night!) and the door staff could have done with being friendlier.
There is no other place in London where you can find such a diverse array of spectacular events under one roof. The building itsself hidden away just off Rye lane opens out into a another world of edgy creatures painstakingly created on all the surrounding walls and is definitely something to check out. They have lots of great monthly nights as well as great one off events, the magic of the CLF art cafe is that once you step through their narnia like doors you have no idea what the interior could be like as it truly is a blank canvas.
From personal opinion I would much rather go out at the bussey building then in surrounding areas such as New cross or going further afield and Shoreditch. London Get to know the CLF art cafe. Truly a great night out every time.
This is a strange building, on at least three if not four levels, used currently for art and music events of varying quality.
When you first approach this place, it is through a narrow passageway off the High Street, that is guarded by two security staff who will check you for any glass or alcohol. When you get to the Bussey Building itself (named after the large advertisements for cricket bat manufacturers Bussey & Co that use to adorn the building), the first thing you are surprised by is the urban artwork and grafitti on the walls, with a huge three-story black and white drawing of a parrot (currently) dominating proceedings.
One's first impression largely thanks to the whole semi-clandestine approach to the building (none of the artwork can be seen from street level) is that one has stumbled across an exciting squat of the type one would expect to find in Berlin or Prague. However, this is where the comparisons sadly end. This is not a squat, but a commercial venture. The building is owned by Peckham Business Park Ltd and is being rented out, legally, for events that are trying to be as underground as possible but, when you consider the prices, are actually pretty overground to be honest.
For a start, when I've been, each floor has been rented out to a different party, each charging £10. Now, while this is a large building, so to have a different price for each floor makes it a very small venue in each case. The middle floor is at least divided into three sections so there could be scope for more than one DJ, but with considerable music bleed.
Prices for drinks are certainly commercial, and expect to pay £3.50 for a can of lukewarm Red Stripe, or £12 for a bottle of cheap and nasty plonk. The worst thing though is the fact that the smoking area, while really nice (in the courtyard as you go in), is three floors down if you happen to be on the upper levels. This is really inconvenient. By the time you have made it back up to the second floor, you want to go back down for another cigarette. A proper underground venue or a squat would have no rules about smoking, of course. However, even though you are led to believe you are entering into an underground paradise, you are being watched by the security guys who will be sure to be most unpleasant if they catch you smoking anywhere other than the courtyard. So, all in all, it doesn't feel very relaxing and the whole thing smacks of being terribly fake. Though the hipsters that attend probably feel they're doing something very edgy. The fools.
The only reason I have gone there is if there are certain DJs I really want to see. The music can be really very good (albeit terribly loud at times so bring earplugs if you value your hearing), and certainly plenty of underground sounds such as psytrance, acid techno and acid house are commonplace. But with the smoking policy, and the smoking area so far away from anywhere, it does not appeal very much to me.
I will be back; I just won't go out of my way. As for the squat scene, I go to plenty of real-life squat parties rather than this anodyne recreation of one.
An authentic 120 year old Warehouse multi level space The Bussey Building AKA The CLF Art Cafe hosts leading events in Music, Theatre, Film, Anime, Art, Comedy + more. Grass roots to cutting edge - Bestival to Secret Sundaze, The South London Soul to Train to The Royal Court Theatre, The Jungle Brothers to Adamski via MJ Cole + Roa and Phlegm Art Exhibitions - the list goes on and on and on.
Best of all the venue is down to earth without pretention. From the smiling happy security at late night events, to the mirror free ever evolving large yet intimate Interior, where different artists and promoters turn the venue into anything from an Alice In Wonderland Themed Forest to a spectacular 3D Visually Immersive space.
Established in 2007.
2007 Mickey Smith [The CLF] joined forces with Peckham Vision in order to fight the proposed demolition of then CIP House [The Bussey Building] and an area the size of x4 football fields for the creation of a tram storage depot in teh heart of Peckhams Town Centre.
Mickey alongside Eileen Conn, site owner Jonathan Wilson + Architects Benny O'Looney and Adam Khan put into action a plan to save the building. Renaming CIP House with it's original moniker 'The Bussey Building'. Which was step 1. The CLF were then tasked with Step 2: Putting the building on the map, showing just how important it was to the community and Peckhams future. After 3 years of The CLF staging literally hundreds of events, exhibitions, meetings and yet more meetings - 2010 everyone finally came to their senses + we finally got TFLs planning permission withdrawn and later that year our own accepted to create a new Multi-level Art Centre. AKA The CLF Art Cafe or as it is more widely known The Bussey Building.
Bussey Building / CLF Art Cafe founder, producer and DJ. 'Jazzheadchronic Mickey Smith' has been successfully promoting and DJ hosting his own progressive - eclectic jazz fused globalistic events for over twenty years. From South East Asia. where [after 5 years of sell out events like the Rebirth Of Cool Club Nights or Cool Vibe Review w/ Gil Scott Heron, Lonnie Liston Smith, DJ Krush, Dj Shadow + More] he is still known as The Godfather of The Hong Kong Underground scene - to London where amongst things, he founded and runs The CLF [Chronic Love Foundation] and The Bussey Building AKA The CLF Art Cafe. Catch him Monthly / Bi-Monthly as host of nights like The South London Soul Train, The Funk Soul Rare Groove Review and Batukarma 21st Century Latin-spired sessions + at numerous nights which he also promotes and DJ hosts at The Bussey / CLF. Including The Jungle Brothers, Mark De Clive Lowe, Adrian Sherwood, Congo Natty, Jazzie B, Wunmi, Adamski + more
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