The 1920’s were an age of dramatic social and political change. For the first time, more Americans lived in cities than on farms, the nation’s wealth had more than doubled, and due to mass advertising, people all over the world were buying the same goods, learning the same dance moves, and listening to the same music. Women were finally allowed to vote, and ‘flapper girls’ (young women who rebelled against conventional ideas of ladylike behaviour and dress) were considered the first generation of independent women. This new racy mass culture is what gave this decade the nickname ‘The Roaring Twenties’.
Bringing the 1920’s back to life is The Candlelight Club; a 1920’s themed cocktail bar, held in a secret London location, lit completely and only by candles. I was very excited after being invited down to review this award-winning pop up, so in true 1920’s style, I put on my flapper dress, pearls and head piece, and whisked myself away to the Gatsby era.
We arrived at a secret venue in Angel, North London, after only being told the name and location two days prior. There was a large candlelit garden lined with benches, where people sat chatting, and smoking Havana cigars, which were very popular in the 20’s. We entered the venue to find it filled with men and women in their finest 1920’s attire. Some girls had made an impressive effort, having styled their hair, and prepared their makeup in theme too, and guys looked suave in their waistcoats, flat caps, and oxford bags.
As mentioned, the Candlelight Club has no artificial lighting. The venue was beautifully decorated with candles; chandeliers hung from the ceiling, and candles lit up every corner of the room. Now, it sound’s really obvious when I say “be careful around flames” but a girl’s hair genuinely caught on fire next to me….. She was fine, but yeah…..maybe keep an eye out if your hair is considerably long!
The Candlelight Club put on an event once a month, each with their own sub theme. As it was April, the month of the Cherry Blossom Festival, our night had a slight Japanese ‘Sakura’ twist. There is the option to have a three-course meal, however with it being ‘Sakura themed’, we decided against it, as we are not huge fans of Japanese food.
Madame Ware, a class cabaret act, was the first to take to the stage and had everyone up dancing to her jazzy twist of Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’. It was a great way to open the night and warm people up for a night of swing!
The fantastic Waruli Otoko Swing Orchestra was next, playing a variety of popular 1920’s music until 11pm, before DJ Auntie Maureen took over with some vintage tunes! It was refreshing to hear music you wouldn’t expect on a night out, and was fun to see everyone attempting some cool swing dance moves! At the end of the night, as the band was playing their final song, everyone broke out into the conga (which I don’t think I’ve seen since my 10th birthday party!) It was such a fun way to end the night. The conga should definitely make appearances more often!
My only criticism of the venue would be the size of the dance floor. It was too small and ended up becoming overcrowded and hot, especially with everyone trying to swing dance. It would have been better to have had a larger venue, or to have cleared some of the tables away to make more room, however, as the venue changes every time, this wouldn’t be a consistent issue.
The Candlelight Club host special Grand Balls throughout the year (the next one is in May), which take place in grand London Ballroom’s with entertainment across two rooms. They often include a live jazz band, fortune tellers, a cabaret act, and a performance from Charleston dancers ‘The Gatsby Girls’!
I would definitely recommend The Candlelight Club as a unique evening out in London. It is a great opportunity to dress up, listen to some fun swing music, and try some real dancing! I’ll definitely be attending again, probably at one of their grand balls!
For more info on upcoming events and to book, check out their website: Candlelight Club