By Cliff Joannou / reprinted from QX Magazine with kind permission
Dalston Superstore put queer East on the map five years ago. With an incredible array of club nights, combining explosive DJs with the most mentalist drag queens and trannies, you don’t get more bang for your buck than a weekend at the ‘Superstore. Owners Mikki Most and Dan Beaumont plied Cliff Joannou with plenty of prosecco and told him just how they pull it all together every week…
CLIFF: Why is Dalston Superstore the dog’s bollocks?
DAN: Come down to our birthday next Sunday and we’ll show you…
You’re on. How has Dalston itself evolved over the past five years, and what impact has the ‘Superstore had on the area…
DAN: When we started out people thought we were crazy trying to open a gay bar in Dalston!
MIKKI: Yes, we were pretty much the first bar in the area, and certainly the first gay bar, so I think people thought we were mental. We’ve opened up a lot of doors in the area for people though, and it’s been amazing to be part of helping make Dalston more diverse. It’s been stressful at times but the booze helps!
How have you set it apart from other gay venues?
DAN: Music, booze, food and fun! You never know what to expect at the ‘Superstore. You could find Grizzle reenacting the Human Centipede on the bar – don’t ask! – and then pop downstairs for dance courtesy of some hot young DJ we’ve found in New York or Berlin.
MIKKI: Yes, we’ve always tried to push things a bit here and not just do the obvious stuff. We both ran clubs before [TrailerTrash and Disco Bloodbath] and putting on great DJs is fundamental. We’re open day and night, and I like the idea you can come for a decent cocktail and some food early evening and still be here at 4am in the morning dancing… There’s not too many places offering that in London.
For such an intimate club spot, you’ve had some very cool DJs jump at the chance to play there…
DAN: The best thing about programming your own discotheque is that you get to bring all your favourite DJs over to play. Highlights for us have been an amazing set from Prosumer in the early days, Erol Alkan dropping a disco set, the legendary David Morales playing for four hours, and multiple visits from people like Optimo, Horse Meat Disco, Chloé and Spencer Parker. Plus, our amazing residents – it wouldn’t be the same without Hannah Holland, Borja Peña, the Little Gay Brother guys, Lovely Jonjo, Dave Kendrick, Jos Gibson and the Duchess of Pork et al.
MIKKI: Absolutely, we recently had the guys over from Members Club in Berlin for B(e)ast and the music was really amazing and fresh for London. It’s great to have the freedom to bring over international talent and introduce it to our scene over here.
And it’s the place to put a wig on it…
MIKKI: It’s part of what we are and to be honest all the best nights I can remember at ‘Superstore have involved wigs and heels flying around all over the place. So many of our regulars turn up in flats and leave in heels, it’s what gives the place its sparkle.
DAN: [Laughs] Yes, our bar very often gets mistaken for a stage by our bewigged regulars doesn’t it? We wouldn’t be the venue we are without the support of people like Jonny Woo, A Man To Pet, John Sizzle, Jacqui Potato and Glyn Famous. In fact we are still in awe of their talents… not to mention their ability to stage dive in heels on a Friday night without sustaining any injuries.
Dalston Superstore (117 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB) celebrates its 5th birthday over the May Bank Holiday weekend with the main party on Sunday 4th May.