Today, we shine the Secret London spotlight on one of east London’s most beloved venues, MOTH Club.
With glittering vaulted ceiling and iconic shimmering curtain on stage, boy, does it glisten!
All that glitters is gold in this venue. Their eclectic programming is one of MOTH Club’s strengths. Up-and-coming bands and under the radar artists are always on the bill at very reasonable prices, frequently selling out. For the avid gig-goer, this venue is great for the more intimate experience, with the stage well within spitting distance of the crowd. The stage is hallowed ground, and has been graced by likes of artists from Connan Mockasin to Lady Gaga.
The venue, to give it its full title, is The General Browning MOTH Club – with MOTH standing for the Memorable Order of Tin Hats, a network of members’ clubs for military veterans originally set up in South Africa. There is still a small front bar room (not covered in sparkles) away from the dance floor which gives off more of a working men’s club vibe.
MOTH has been gloriously revamped by the creative folks at LNZRT (Lanzarote) agency. They’re also responsible for Camden’s Lock Tavern, Homerton’s The Adam & Eve, Stoke Newington’s The Waiting Room, and Dalston’s current premier gig venue the Shacklewell Arms (though perhaps only until EartH rocks up).
The entire venue is still decorated with original working men’s club paraphernalia, such as the charming and oft-Instagrammed ‘ALL CHILDREN TO BE OFF THE DANCEFLOOR BY 9.30PM’ plaque. The back wall is lined with comfy booths – get down early to bag one of these, as they’re hot currency in this popular haunt.
Some of the area’s best club nights are hosted here, and there’s something for everyone. We recommend Krautrock Karaoke and Cave Club, a journey through obscure psych bangers, brought into being by Rhys Webb of The Horrors. If sonic rarities and relics aren’t your thing, you might be a fan of Maddonnathon, ABBA parties, or their 80s nights.
Any self-respecting film lover will be thrilled by MOTH’s cinema nights, often headed up by Deeper Into Movies who’ve brought us Dancer in The Dark, The Holy Mountain, The Colour of Pomegranates, and other such arty flicks, as well as their own curated selections in their ON FILM series – such as the Wu-Tang Clan and Aphex Twin showings. They really know how to spoil us.
If that wasn’t enough for you, MOTH also host cabaret and some excellent quizzes (Peep Show, Friends, Chris Morris, RuPaul, and Alan Partridge – nice.) They also run regular comedy nights, with names like Stewart Lee, Tim Key, Harry Hill, Romesh Ranganathan, and Jayde Adams gracing the MOTH stage. The whole live entertainment shebang, all under one roof!
Location: MOTH Club, Old Trades Hall, Valette Street, E9 6NU. Nearest stations are Hackney Central Overground and Bethnal Green Underground. Find it on Google Maps.
Opening hours: 5pm-1am daily.
Price: various – see website.
More information: on their website.
All photos: MOTH Club