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Review: An evening at The Candlelight Club

We head back in time to the Candlelight Club’s prohibition-style garden party for a 1920s knees-up

The London immersive dining scene is rich with themed supper clubs, theatrical events and dinner time spectacles, but The Candlelight Club has been flying the flag in the capital for years, bringing mysterious 1920s themed nights to revelling Londoners. I’d heard whispers through the grapevine about what was in store for this particular evening, and expected a smattering of flappers and perhaps a couple of photo opportunities, but the secrecy shrouding these legendary parties meant I knew little about what to actually expect. The day of the event, I received a mysterious email instructing me of the location and time of the party, so armed with a love of The Great Gatsby and a vague recollection of my A level history prohibition studies, I head as instructed to Angel on a buzzing bank holiday Friday.

There is nothing out of the ordinary as I step out at Angel station, although I half expect to emerge from the tube straight into the 1920s, but actually feel rather out of place in my fringed dress among the hoards of suited and booted city workers off out to celebrate the bank holiday. My friend and I grapple with Google Maps and try and get our bearings and to our amusement notice other confused-looking flappers appearing from the depths of the station, blinking into the sunlight. Ditching our smart phones we follow the others through the backstreets to our secret speakeasy.

candlelight club

The main event

We are taken to an arts club and through a small door, which in some Alice in Wonderland-like twist leads us back in time through the decades. The theme of the evening is clear from the moment we step inside, with the dim glow of candles the only lighting, blaring 1920s music and a projection on the wall of flapper girls frantically waving their fringed dresses and smoking through long and elegant cigarette holders. The sunny bank holiday in Angel suddenly feels a distant memory and after feeling a tad overdressed on the tube, I go to feeling underdressed as other party-goers rock up with opulent shawls dripping in jewels, perfectly waved hair, and men with pin stripe suits and bowler hats – everyone has really gone all out with the theme.

The effort with the decoration also adds to the time-warp, with beautiful bunting in red, white and blue and floral displays that whisk you away to an English summer garden of some stately home. At the bar, beers are handed out in brown paper bags and champagne in gorgeous Marie Antoinette glasses that make you feel every inch a Great Gatsby extra. We are sat on our candlelit table with a bottle of Prosecco and a delectable charcuterie board, and introduced to our charismatic maitre d, ‘Champagne Charlie’, who performs the opening cabaret act to the delight of the room, draping himself over unassuming guests and bringing a comedy element to the evening.

The Swing’it Dixieband arrive in panama hats and perform a host of classic songs which get the party in full swing. Come the second song, the whole audience are on their feet attempting their best fox trot. After an impressive set and a serious amount of dancing, the candles are blown out and we are ushered out back into the streets of Angel. Next door, crowds gather for a heavy metal night and tired and tipsy flappers spill out onto the cobbles mixing with the queue of metal fans. The illusion of a 20s time warp immediately fades and we’re back in 21st century London.

  • Tickets for The Candlelight Club events are available from £25. Find out about other Candlelight Club parties at www.candlelightclub.com.