Go Higher: London & The South East: Bright lights

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Indy Lifestyle Online
LONDON'S BEST-kept secret is Blue, a Saturday nightclub operating at secret locations somewhere south of the river. Spread by word-of-mouth, the entrance fee is pounds 5 for those lucky enough to locate it. A mobile number is given on fliers: you have to ring it after 6pm on the day itself to make sure it's happening. The music is a creative, energetic mishmash of breakbeats and samples. Be warned: the club lacks air conditioning, so don't go dressed in your best.

Another venue worth trying is the Africa Centre (38 King Street, WC2) which is a nightclub as well as a community centre and puts on a good Saturday hip-hop night, called Funkin Pussy (10.30pm to 3am, pounds 7 or pounds 5 concessions).

If you want something grittier, make for 333 Old Street, London EC1. It's a three-storey club and a breeding ground for interesting ideas that don't always work but are at least given a chance.

Scala at 278 Pentonville Road, N1, is a nightclub converted from an arthouse cinema. The arrival of Sonic Mook Experiment and the recent signing up of Air Swaraj, formerly of Blue Note and Mass, bodes well for the future of a club with big ideas.

Other venues to try are The End, 16 West Central St, WC1; Dogstar, 389 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 which still puts on interesting and innovative nights; and Wag, 35 Wardour Street, W1, one of the clubs in the early Eighties and still offering solace for Northern Soul and Sixties types.

Top places for cheap food are Stockpot (18 Old Compton Street, W1), Al's Cafe Bar (11-13 Exmouth Market, EC1) which does bizarre alcoholic milkshakes, World Food Cafe (Neals Yard Dining Room, 14 Neals Yard, WC2) which does veggie food from around the world, and Brick Lane Bagel Bake (159 Brick Lane, E1) for cheap, cheap bagels.

Cheap cinemas include the Metro (Rupert Street, W1), Prince Charles (Leicester Place, WC2), Renoir (Brunswick Centre, Brunswick Square, WC1) and Ritzy (Coldharbour Lane, SW2).

Rohit Sharma

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