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© 2015 by Ridley Road Market Bar - Images Jessica Barnes and James Kirkup
 

Best bar in Dalston, East London, Hackney

Get to grips with this effortlessly cool East End bar in the middle of a market

In a nutshell...
An inconspicuous dive bar with makeshift interiors, a chequered dance floor and dangerously cheap cocktails.

Where is it?
Tucked away in the truly global, often fishy-smelling Ridley Road market, this place has an atmosphere that more than makes up for the odd whiff outside.

What’s the vibe?
Think ‘Club Tropicana’, but slightly less glam. There’s no bookings, no guest list and it doesn’t even have a phone. The best bit? It’s a little too far from Shoreditch to attract suit- shirt, weekend wankers.

What makes it a great venue?
On the surface, Market Bar encompasses everything Londoners love to hate about Dalston: grungy exteriors, DIY decor and a clammy dance floor. Don’t take that last fact lightly – during the summer, even the disco ball drips with sweat. But this little place is as lovable as they come: DJs spin hip hop, funk, soul and everything in between; staff are friendly; the hooch is cheap, and there are vibes aplenty.

What’s the booze situation?
Drinks aren’t quite free, but they’re not far off. A can of Red Stripe is three quid, cocktails are a fiver – the ginger mojito is a must – and the house plonk is £15 a bottle. Heads up: they’ve just gone cashless, so it’s cards only, people.

What’s coming up soon?
On November 12 it’s the next instalment of One Stop – a monthly celebration of the Golden Age of Jamaican music – with a guest appearance from Rasta Queen. While there’s often queues after 9pm, pizza babes Slice Girls serve up their wood-fired cheesy discs, so you can fuel up to keep those dancing shoes stable for longer.

Full article here

"Whichever genius decided to convert a scruffy store halfway down a traditional London marketplace into a tiki dive bar deserves a medal. It’s resolutely egalitarian (no reservations, no guestlist: just show up and get merry), the decor is almost laughably DIY, the hooch is cheap (three quid for a can of Red Stripe is not to be sniffed at in this part of town) and the tunes – reggae, motown and party pop – keep the joint solidly jumping until 2am at the weekend. There’s a surprisingly respectable cocktail menu too, all for a fiver, served informally in plastic tumblers. The ginger mojito brings welcome warmth to that minty old stalwart, the piña colada goes down a treat amid the cheesy beach bar vibes, and the original creation Kamm Kardashian is as irresistibly kitsch as its big-arsed namesake."

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SOPHIE L. - A YELP USER THAT TOTALLY GETS IT

"Sure the queue is long, the crowd is sort of painful, and the Red Stripes go for £4 a pop (they're £3 really ed.), but I bloody love Market Bar. The place looks like a 90s temporary classroom with a touch of what is best described as 'disco tropicana' thrown in for good measure. When the music is good, it's oh so good - think classics like Ja Rule and Ashanti (I think they're being ironic here, I'm really not) - other times its obscure jazz et al but the dance floor is always sweaty."

BARCHICK - THEY *TOTALLY* GET IT TOO

"by night this turns into a disco-dancing tiki hot house like the seventies took a holiday in Hawaii. Think Club Tropicana in a DIY Dalston dive. The walls are made of off-cut wood panels, the dance floor is chequered, there are pot plants everywhere and it all has a hashed together vibe that makes BarChick feel it’s perfectly okay to get a little crazy. And so we did. On a summer Saturday night even the glitter ball is dripping with sweat and the fake parrot is flapping. Pretty dreamy really."

Full review here.

Those in search of Dalston’s renowned party reputation need look no further than Ridley Road Market Bar, which draws a young crowd with kitsch tropical decor, cheap beer by the can, and giant cocktails. To get inside for your ginger mojito, you have to make your way through the debris left behind by the day’s market traders. Then hit the dance floor, where DJs spin party tunes ‘til the early hours. Arrive early if you don’t want to face long lines.Full article here

TIME OUT - BAR OF THE WEEK - FEB 2012

"RRMM is the sort of easy-living place that would fit right in on the Beach Boys’ imaginary isle of Kokomo. It’s pitched just on the right side of hip so as not too feel like too much of an imposition among the stalls of the market itself – one still used by real people every day. As Wham! would say, all that’s missing is the sea…" 

Full review here.

"The ginger mojitos are a killer, so too are the alcoholic slushis or fresh juices served with generous helpings of rum or gin. When it comes to music, the local loveable spot plays everything from Motown, hip-hip, soul, and funk and is never one to shy away from a healthy helping of Maria Carey come the early hours. Even The Horrors come here to do their ad hoc Sunday soul nights."

Full review here.

"An oasis of tropicalia, tucked away off the main market drag, it exudes a refreshingly DIY ambience. This former gambling den has been jazzed up in accordance with the area’s scruffy-chic aesthetic. Strewn around the deceptively large space is an array of paper lanterns, potted palms, glitter balls and the odd blow-up banana. Atop the bar are tempting piles of fresh fruit and bowls of crushed ice. Somehow it works. This is a local bar for local hipsters, and the owners want to keep it that way, enforcing a strict no-guest-list policy. Rammed at weekends from 9ish till close, they eschew the idea of inviting “cool” promoter types to host nights and, instead, opt for a mix of quality party tunes, live music sessions and film screenings."

Full review here

COMPANY MAGAZINE - TOP 10 BARS IN DALSTON

"Whether it’s a Thursday night drink for duos or a full on Saturday night dance off with the gang, the Market Bar is the place to be. Tacky tropical fun for all the family, well, your friends and most probably some mustachioed strangers."

"In the heart of Dalston, slap bang in the middle of Ridley Road you can find the tropical bar and café serving a range of cocktails, red stripe and coffee until the early hours with old time jazz and soul records blaring, Louis Prima was in full swing when we walked in. With a policy of NO guestlist, NO phone, NO reservations for less than 15 people Ridley Road Market Bar is like a trip back in time to a 50’s beach party.

With neon lighting, wooden crates full of fresh mint and lemons and cheap cocktails at £5 a stab – drinks menu listed on the board behind the bar. We imagine there has been a few well and truly remarkable nights gone down here. It’s rough and readiness, makeshift type style come across as informal and most of all…a fun place to party. Let’s all brave the blood smells of the market and make way for a tequila and grapefruit cocktail. Bangin!"

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"Without fail on a Saturday night the place is packed by ten o’clock and the door staff then operates a one in one out policy in order to stick to the 150 person capacity.   The queue outside is a testament to how good the venue is and by half 9 on the weekend chances are you will have to stand in line too.

My favorite thing of all is the music, there are no big name line ups but you are guaranteed that every DJ brings with them a host of eclectic tunes.  And I don’t use that word lightly, sets can include anything from 90’s rnb classics, Motown and 70’s and 80’s disco, to dancehall, reggae, ska and Hindi Michael Jackson covers!  They also throw in an awful lot of Mariah!"

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Tropical bar, cafe and events space. 
In the heart of Dalston and the middle of Ridley Road Market serving Red Stripe, cocktails and coffee till late. 

Available for photo shoots, filming and events. 

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