Passing Clouds: The best place to go, with everything under one roof.
Passing Clouds was when I was 15 years old and it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. From the outside, the building appears to look like and ordinary apartment you would find in East London. But looks can be deceiving. Vibrant fairy lights fill the top half of the building with festival vibes and straight away you’re transported into a quaint bar in Hawaii. Quirky paintings and decorations are hung on the brick exposed walls. Everything you need in a live music venue is right in the heart of Hackney.
It was Wednesday and I remember the evening so well, my eyes lit up and the sight of the chic interior – it was love at first sight. Each night, from Monday to Saturday, a different genre of music is played and as it was a Wednesday, it was an evening of jazz and swing. On Mondays for instance, it’s reggae – you will find their annual calendar on their website. In the downstairs area of the building, it’s mostly a space for dancing and watching the band play their instruments and belt out their vocals (they perform on stage).
People don’t hold back at all when it comes to showing off what they’ve got on the floor and you can tell how enthusiastic everybody becomes when they dance with their friends to the lively music. Upstairs hosts a bar with maybe three bartenders when it’s busy and you’ll often find that people will try and get you to dance with them and their friends. The general atmosphere of Passing Clouds is very chilled, which attracts easygoing crowds and groups. I like how nobody judges anyone (it isn’t snobby) and people are there to have a good time and not cause trouble.
Only on some occasions there will be a band playing upstairs at the back, but there are normally just a couple of dj’s and speakers. On my sisters birthday a while back, I decided to take her and the family to Passing Clouds and the pressure was on to make sure they all had fun. We arrived there relatively early at 8pm, so it was quiet but as more groups and couples started entering, that was when the place came alive.
The staff were extremely accommodating and had us sat down on a sofa with a coffee table for our drinks, they also brought some chairs too. Not only was the service great, but they gave us a free bottle of champagne and exploded into a “happy birthday” song. It got busy at around 10pm, which was when the real fun began and the family enjoyed being there as much as I did. We were allowed to make as much noise as we wanted, without feeling like all eyes were on us.
For those of you who would prefer to beat the crowd, I suggest going on a weekday, Monday to Wednesday, and I advise you to draw out a map beforehand, because it can be slightly difficult to find the first time round. Although this hidden gem is quite small, it never feels too overcrowded and in my opinion, if it were to be any bigger, it would take away the private feel that it possesses. In Passing Clouds, there is such a broad range of faces from different backgrounds and unlike a club, you can actually converse with people. It’s like a breath of fresh air to have a music venue that older individuals can get involved with too.
Finally, if you want to pay an entry fee of £5 at the door, you will have to arrive before 9pm and any later is £10, a bargain for a guaranteed fantastic time!So to all you lads and lasses out there, add Passing Clouds to your list of go-to places. It is undeniably one of the best places to go to, with everything under one roof.