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More about The Pleasure Unit
The gentrification of Shoreditch has been seeping further east, meaning Bethnal Green has seen an upturn in its fortunes of late. In the same way the Hoxton squalor spawned a brand new slew of bars and clubs, the arrival of some residents with a bit of cash (and their mates in search of something a bit different), means that Bethnal Green's after hours fun is making a mark. The Working Men's Club might be the name on everybody's lips, but if you don't have the patience for their queues remember the Pleasure Unit... This former gay pub hasn't really had much of a re-fit ever - but the hotch potch of furniture and faded paint work has a certain well-worn charm about it. The whole place shouts retro at you, and on the night we attended the entertainment came from the Actionettes - a group of amateur dancers who spent the evening swinging themselves through synchronised routines to the finest 60's girl pop, with period outfits (and their male counterparts the Action Men) to match. Not to mention the limbo competition. The Pleasure Unit has loads of upcoming live bands on week day nights and some decent club nights at weekends. What marks this place out from elsewhere in London is the agglomeration of people who are, errm, a bit different, and a friendly vibe of acceptance to go with it. We danced the night away with a bewildered gang of androgynous revellers, an emaciated blonde wigged maniac, some gawky looking teenagers and the lovely Actionettes. Another point in its favour are the retro bar prices, which will give those who go out in central London a pleasant shock (although I was suspicious that the slightly dazed barman was making it up as he went along). Expect the weird and off-kilter - the Pleasure Unit has bags of character. But be warned - the lack of air conditioning can turn it into a sauna on a warm night.
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