In the front cargo hold of the Titanic, was the necklace known as ‘The Heart of the Ocean’. Now, conversely, in the heart of Soho, is Cargo. Cargo is one of the most spacious clubs in Shoreditch and a perfect location for any late night revelry; it’s impressive outdoor terrace making it an easy choice for any East-Ender. Through its cast iron gates, you can not only enjoy a drink or two, but live music, games, showcases and exhibitions. They’ve even got one of those automatic photo booths to help you decontruct ‘what the hell happened last night’. It’s quirky little touches like that which has made Cargo a staple of the Shoreditch clubbing scene. Location wise, it is relatively concealed, meaning a lot of the time you’ll see the queue before you see the club itself. But because of this you might even say - a bit like the Titanic necklace - that Cargo is somewhat of a hidden gem. See, we brought it back round again.
Located on an abandoned railway yard, Cargo is built into existing railway arches using both in and outside space. To be fair, even the inside space feels semi-barnlike giving the whole thing an interesting openplan/courtyard feel. The colour scheme is actually a bit more Latin American street market though: warm and rustic. There is a lot of brightly painted walls and even an original Banksy in the patio portion. The décor is pretty sparse, which we think has to be deliberately to replicate a cargo hold - otherwise we see no obvious connection to the name. It’s cool though, so sod it, who needs context? Cargo has a capacity of nearly a thousand and is renowned for its large outdoor patio scattered with picnic tables, wooden booths and ledges various. There’s lots of places to lean basically. What’s great about it though, is that although it alludes to the ‘warehouse’ thing that East London is known for with all its open space, Cargo’s layout is anything but cold and clinical.
Music: Commercial, Chart, Pop, Hip Hop, Live, Acoustic, Indie, Electro
Dress Code: Smart/Casual
Train Station: Shoreditch High Street
Address: Cargo, 83 Rivington Street, London, EC2A 3AY
You’ve heard of the Jagerbomb, sure, but our friends at Cargo can do one better. With a whole list of equally lethal explosions, Cargo bring you the ‘Melonbomb’, the ‘Firebomb’ and our personal favourite, the ‘Skittlebomb’. Confusingly, Cargo have a split price menu meaning that drinks prices will vary depending on when you buy it, meaning they have both a ‘bar’ and ‘club’ price. ‘Club’ premiums kick in after 10pm Sunday-Friday and are in effect all day Saturday, unfortunately. Waah. It’s actually a pretty smart move if you think about it- just not something we’ve come across before. It makes the cocktails a little less doable though, meaning they jump from a standard £8.50 to the ridiculously steep £12.50. Ouch. That gives even deluxe bars on the Kings Road the economic edge. Happy Hour (from 5 ‘til 8pm everyday) have some fairly generous offers though, so we forgive them. For a tenner during this time you can get yourself either: a large bottle of wine, 2 cocktails or 4 beers. I bet that £12.50 Strawberry Woo Woo is looking silly now, mate. Musically, Cargo is pretty liberal with The DJs playing a mix of Hip Hop, Soul, Electro House, Indie and Dubstep, depending on which night you decide to go of course. Some evenings, Cargo even becomes somewhat of a live music venue.
Part of the Cantaloupe group which also owns other popular London bars ‘The Big Chill’ and ‘Market Place’, Cargo is but another string to their successful bar bow. Given it’s trendy East London location, Cargo generally attracts the creatives: you know, the guys with handlebar moustaches and girls with teeny tiny fringes. Having said that, the venue itself is super fun so people don’t tend to take themselves tooooo seriously and it’s not unusual to spot the same folk that were previously pouting and trying to look chill now losing their mind over an intense game of Foosball or Ping Pong. You’ll also find gaggles of young professionals, generic twenty-somethings and the token older couple determined to see what the kids are ‘into these days’. Bless them. We laugh now; but we’ll be them someday.
If you’re looking for a general crowd-pleaser with drinks, dancing, and a fun crowd then Cargo is a fail-safe. It’s that outdoor patio which gives this club the edge - we bloody love a picnic bench. Cargo is a great choice for the true music lovers, too, as you can regularly witness a load of talented artists topping the line-up - just keep an eye on their listings for special monthly fixtures. It’s also the perfect destination for sunny ciders and relaxed post work wind-downs. Plus for the smokers, the ample al fresco space means you don’t have to throw elbows and stand with your face squished uncomfortably close to the heater just to be outside- it’s pretty much all outside. You’re in our territory now baby. Although who are kidding, this is East London. Here, we vape.