Dalston Superstore Part II: Why this is one of East London’s coolest hangouts

By Tyler Lewis

Header image by Tyler Lewis

Dalston Superstore is one of the coolest places you may never have heard of. Superstore not only transcends the conventions of your everyday café, it interferes with the idea of your everyday club. It is unlikely that you will ever come into contact with a venue quite like this one.

Dalston Superstore is a multifaceted, egalitarian, hipster haven. During the day it sits quietly at the upper end of Kingsland High Street in Dalston. The interior is bright and welcoming with splashes of colour in every direction including in the outfits and styles of the waiters. The brunch menu is nothing ground breaking and would be familiar to anyone that has gone to a café in a gentrified area within the last five years (avocados are present on the menu of course). Yet Superstore serves everything it cooks beautifully and doesn’t miss a trick when it comes to good ingredients and flavour. The coffee is killer and the cocktails are all tantalizing.

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The main space of Dalston Superstore. Photography: Tyler Lewis

During the day the disco ball hangs stationary by the door and leftover glitter from the previous night sparkles on the seats. Dan Beaumont is a co-owner of the café com club which opened in the Easter of 2009 after he found the space in 2008 which had been empty for two years.

“When we opened we didn’t just want to be a night time affair. Superstore is a neighbourhood spot, and being open throughout the day is an important part of our obligation to the surrounding community. At it’s best, Superstore is an environment that welcomes people from all walks of life; champions great art, music, food, drink, ideas and encourages everyone in the room, staff and customers included, to be

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Photography: Tyler Lewis

themselves.”

 

 

It’s clear that Dan is proud of his creation which has become an extremely popular hangout for London’s student and LGBT community. In the evenings, Dan uses one word to describe Superstores transformation, “bonkers”.

As the evening rolls around the kitchen closes, the lights are dimmed and the DJ’s emerge. The cute and innocent café of the day is now a paradise for Queer culture as the drag queens party down to Missy Elliot and Beyoncé. The stationary disco ball that seemed nothing more than a decoration five hours earlier has become a significant fixture to the upstairs disco.

Julien Von Petrovosky is a 28-year-old DJ from Northern France who has been living in London for ten years and working the decks for five. He is renowned for DJ’ing in full drag and plays different styles of music from across genres.

“I first DJ’d at Superstore for a party called T club for homosexuals, transgenders and misfits. I really enjoyed the freedom of the songs I could play and it was very relaxed. People could dance, chat, mingle, drink and make new friends.”

Something that is revealed in the evening that isn’t visible in the day is the venues basement level. Julien has performed both upstairs and downstrairs.

“The upstairs is made to enjoy a drink and mingle with friends and lovers; the downstairs is more of a dark space with smoke machines, lasers, and a big sound system. When DJ’ing upstairs, the DJ booth is in the middle of the room and close to the bar which gives us DJ’s the opportunity to read the crowd well, chat with people, take requests and get drunk very easily. You can get away with playing pretty much anything from chart music to house going through to the oldies. As for the downstairs, the music is more crucial and focuses on house and techno. People are there to get down and dirty. Heavy beats from the music make the walls vibrate and the sweat drips off the ceiling. I have not had the balls to play any Britney Spears songs down there yet…”

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Julien performing a set at Superstore. Photography: Tyler Lewis

Multi-layered and good at everything it does, Dalston Superstore is an illustration of how a good London café can bring together a range of different cultures and do more than just serve food. Julien reiterates something that Dan brought up earlier,

“Superstore gathers every walk of life, from the arty students to the well established professionals. It is open to LGBTQ people as well as their allies. I really do love this place for that.”

To read a review on Superstore’s brunch, click here!

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