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If there's any sort of silver lining to the vast amount of club closures in recent years, it's the emergence of audiophile bars. As we search for a new way to party, pristine sound systems and hi-fidelity frolics aim to fill the Plastic People shaped hole we have in our hearts. Maybe we're becoming more sophisticated or perhaps nights of tinnitus inducing nightclubs just aren't our thing anymore. Whatever the reason, Londoners are basking in a heightened form of clubland that puts the focus back on the music. So dig in.
Spiritland, arguably the home of London's best sound system and the widest array of pub dogs you're likely to see outside of Battersea. Since its relatively recent opening Spiritland has prided itself on expert musical curation, pumped out of the crispest hi-fi you've probably ever heard. Jarvis Cocker, Bill Nighy, Hot Chip and Andrew Weatherall have all aired their selections on the half a million pound speakers, speakers that the owners call the best in the world...
Behind this Wall started off as a pop up bar at the east London favourite Oval Space, before making its move to bricks and mortar just over a year ago. Since then, a fine selection of cocktails and a perfectly tuned sound system have enticed some of east London's finest selectors down into its basement lounge. Our advice? Prop up a seat at the bar, grab an old fashioned, admire the records and repeat until kicking out time/drunk.
For what may be the best bar in east London, Brilliant Corners have garnered their reputation quite naturally. Four Tet, Floating Points and Hunee all regularly pass through the Dalston sushi restaurant for low-key DJ sets that span obscure cuts and bottom-of-the-record-bag favourites, all played through its vinyl-only sound system. Live jazz nights are a regular and its sushi offering - prepared by head chef Kay Suzuki - is the perfect accompaniment for a night of audiophile appreciation.
Tucked away amidst the labyrinthian maze of former estates and off the beaten track of Shoreditch High Street lies The Lion & Lamb, a typical east end boozer given a new lease of life by a collective of London promoters, DJs, producers and audiophiles. On the outside it looks like your typical pub complete with tattered sign that probably dates back decades, but as you step in it becomes a haven for hi-fidelity sound aficionados and a hotspot for some of London's best DJs. A favourite of fabric's after-hours revellers, The Lion & Lamb pairs expert musical curation with the community vibe that's increasingly hard to find in the heart of Hoxton.
While it's not strictly an 'audiophile' bar - they try to keep their reputation a little more subdued - Servant Jazz Quarters is a bar for audiophiles. As you may have guessed already their preferred genre of music is live jazz but if that's not up your street (what is wrong with you?) then a regular rotation of DJs delving into cosmic disco, funk, soul, reggae and ambient should suit your tastes. Charmingly cosy and intimate, get a seat down the front early on a weekend and spend the night in fine company.