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Hackney’s New Natural Wine-Fuelled Music Venue Is the Template for Ecstasy 2.0

The Laughing Heart in Hackney — one of the city’s most progressive natural wine and dining spaces — is opening a dedicated music venue in its basement

London restaurant The Laughing Heart
The Laughing Heart on Hackney Road
The Laughing Heart [Official Photo]

The Laughing Heart on Hackney Road has announced that its private dining basement will evolve into a fully functioning, high-tech music venue, launching this Sunday. It marks the point at which the formal union between cutting-edge hospitality and the music industry was consecrated in a dedicated London location.

Laughing Heart founder Charlie Mellor — after consultation with LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy (who is behind the celebrated, Michelin-starred natural wine bar-restaurants Four Horsemen and Night Moves in Brooklyn, NYC) and Al Doyle, also from LCD Soundsystem, British electronic outfit Hot Chip — will open The Cave 2.0 this weekend. As first reported by the Evening Standard, Mellor says the idea was born at a party last year, when Doyle DJed in the space. Existing global references for the venue could point to In Sheep’s Clothing in LA, Bar Shiru in Oakland, and Shelter (stylised SHeLTeR) in Tokyo.

While some of the more trendy (often wine-focussed) restaurants and bars in town have made no secret either of their direct connections to or passion for the music business — Noble Rot co-founder Dan Keeling discovered Coldplay when at Universal Music, Smoking Goat and Kiln’s Ben Chapman enjoyed a pre-career as a promoter of “obscure club nights”, while The Clove Club team has long sidelined on the DJ circuit — The Cave 2.0 is something else altogether: the long-awaited coming together of a genuinely first-rate restaurant with a nightclub space and sound system to compete with the city’s best.

For those either interested in (or familiar with!) audio technology, the location will feature what is described as a “world class sound system,” detailed thus:

Rare Klipsch Cornwall 3s and vintage Celestian 442s. The system is controlled through a bespoke Isonoe mixer designed in collaboration with Murphy. Audio Technica cartridges will play Mellor’s personal record collection.

Moreover, the space has been acoustically treated and soundproofed to studio standard, modelled on Murphy’s Night Moves, in order that the upstairs dining room will be undisturbed by proceedings beneath.

Details of the programme itself are currently scarce, but Mellor has said the venue will host regular DJ nights with “prominent music figures are already booked; collaborations with like-minded venues around the world are in the pipeline.” This Sunday, when it launches, The Cave 2.0 will open 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Perhaps one of the reasons that a union of these two industries has until now remained either elusive or skewed in one direction — Brilliant Corners is one of the city’s finest nighttime venues, though its food can hardly be considered a reason for a visit in its own right — is that, euphemistically speaking, accessories to dance have rendered the concepts of eating and partying mutually exclusive. But as the younger generations apparently drink less and rave more wholesomely, the two worlds could yet convene more deliberately in the coming years.

Indeed, among the numerous attractions at The Cave 2.0 will be Laughing Heart head chef Tom Anglesea’s late-night modern Chinese banquet menu in what will continue to function as a private dining room, dishes that have been served after hours somewhat quietly for a while, but which will be “reinterpreted” for the reconfigured space.

Check Eater’s London’s regularly updated guide to the city’s pop-ups, events, and supper clubs for more details of upcoming acts at The Cave 2.0 soon.

The Clove Club

380 Old Street, , England EC1V 9LT 020 7729 6496 Visit Website


53 Foy Lane, , NSW 2000 (02) 8099 8799 Visit Website

The Laughing Heart

277 Hackney Road, , England E2 8NA 020 7686 9535 Visit Website

Noble Rot

51 Lamb’s Conduit St, London, Greater London WC1N 3NB +44 20 7242 8963 Visit Website

Smoking Goat

64 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JJ