MANY MOONS AGO, IN THE DISTANT TIME BEFORE SHOREDITCH BECAME ONE OF LONDON’S ESSENTIAL NIGHTLIFE DESTINATIONS, ONE OF THE FEW PLACES YOU COULD GET A DRINK AMONG THE KNACKERED WAREHOUSES AND DINGY SHOPS WAS JAGUAR SHOES. THIS DIMLY LIT MUSIC BAR WAS A PIONEER IN THE AREA, AND ITS OWNERS HAVE RECENTLY MOVED UP THE ROAD INTO DALSTON TO TAKE OVER THE VICTORIA.
Situated on a recently updated terrace off the main Kingsland Road strip, it’s a venue with a musical heritage that spans decades. It was first a Caribbean social club that also hosted ramshackle lo-fi and punk nights with names like The Clod Hop, before the Jaguar Shoes Collective took over a few years back.
There’s still a portrait of the old Queen on the pub sign that swings over palm trees in the outside smoking area. Indoors, the local Five Points brewery is present on the bar alongside a focus on rum in the heart of the large but cosy main pub space and there are regular pop-up restaurants, such as the Wild Dog Kitchen, serving food.
If there’s something that London has lacked in recent years it’s been a small, sweaty venue, which is where The Victoria’s backroom venue comes into its own. Holding just 150 people within its intimate walls, this is the best place in East London to see bands on the up, with events by promoters Eat Your Own Ears and Bird On The Wire among smaller, lo-fi curators. Gigs over the past year have included dream-poppers Peaness, the fragrant French language indie-pop of Hello Maud and the electro punk duo Sons Of Raphael, while club nights at The Victoria pay homage to the history of guitar music, from the post-punk dance party institution Some Weird Sin to queer Britpop and indie night Pink Glove.