Cafe OTO

20s / Alternative / Alternative / Artists / Artsy Dresses / Bar / Beer / Bohemian / Café / Casual / Cover charge / DJ / Hippies / Hipster / Hipster / Japanese Food / Jukebox / Live Band / Live Entertainment / Live Music / Live Music Venue / Locals / Music Scenesters / Musicians / Musicians / Performance / Sake / Scenester / Skinny Jeans / Snack Food / Specialty Beer / T-shirts / Tourists / Vintage / Wi-Fi
Cafe OTO London's Cafe OTO offers a one-of-a-kind experience for the Dalston bohemian set. Find this off-the-wall London bar and live music venue at Party Earth. London England 51.5468287780709 -0.0748980045318604
3.12 5
Cafe OTO - Bar | Café | Live Music Venue in London.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review From sake to saxophones to surly young songsters bellowing off-key renditions of 18th-century Lutheran hymns, Cafe OTO offers a one-of-a-kind experience for Dalston scenesters who might otherwise spend their evening grooving... ... read full review

  • Tube:

    London Overground: Dalston Junction, Dalston Kingsland

  • Phone:

    020 7923 1231

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    Café: M–F 9:30am–5:30pm, Sa–Su 10:30am–5:30pm
    Bar: daily 5:30pm–midnight or 8pm–midnight on concert days

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot
    • Night Spot

Party Earth Cafe OTO Review

The Scene

London's Cafe OTO offers a one-of-a-kind experience for the Dalston bohemian set. Find this off-the-wall London bar and live music venue at Party Earth.

From sake to saxophones to surly young songsters bellowing off-key renditions of 18th-century Lutheran hymns, Cafe OTO offers a one-of-a-kind experience for Dalston scenesters who might otherwise spend their evening grooving to the hum of their refrigerators.

An open and airy bohemian café by day, at night scruffy locals and slack-jawed tourists move away from the bakery counter and toward the rear of the venue, where a small stage with a projection screen backdrop plays host to a variety of performers who defy mainstream norms.

Taking its name from a Japanese word that can imply either noise or sound, it is often unclear which of the two meanings applies to the live acts here. Past performers have included Japanese improvisational musicians, minimalist songster Scout Niblett, and modern classical performers Dolphins Into the Future, who play cassette tape remixes that sound like dolphins – really futuristic dolphins who have done a lot of drugs.

These musical goings-on are taken quite seriously by the bespectacled and bearded patrons who sit around the stage drinking pints of locally brewed ale and tapping their toes in “time” to the swishing sounds, buzzes, and hisses generated by DJs of underground acclaim.

There’s a bona fide café here, too, a space where Japanese hipsters and Dalston artists can while away their days sipping gourmet coffee, noshing on homemade cookies, and writing avant-garde lyrics on their iMacs.

But café niceties aside, twenty-somethings aren’t lining up by the dozen outside Cafe OTO for the non-psychedelic brownies – they’re coming to listen to the likes of Tony Conrad mimic the sounds of an air conditioner instead.

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Tip from Jonah:

Cafe OTO is committed to locally produced food and drink. Try Oto Ale – it’s a tasty beer that’s made for the café by a brewery based in London Bridge.

  • Crowd

    Beatniks in thick-rimmed glasses, poetry lovers, new age hippies, stylish Japanese kids, East London hipsters, musicians, poets, artists, 20s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Live music almost every night, jukebox otherwise. Free Wi-Fi. Check listings for schedule of events.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Cakes, cookies, Japanese snacks, and chocolate served daily all day.

  • Prices

    Cover charge £5–£12; advance purchase tickets often available. Bar snacks £1–£3.50. Beer £2–£4.50, wine £3.50, coffee £1.50–£2.50.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual: skinny jeans, ironic or political logo t-shirts, handmade dresses, anything vintage, big knitwear, glasses.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Any night with live music.

  • Close By

    Arcola Theatre (24 Ashwin Street) offers a program of socially progressive plays, as well as a café, gallery, and bar area in the foyer.

Cafe OTO User Reviews

Average rating:
GREAT MUSIC!
Jayson M. Sep 7, 2012
Okay….great might be a stretch. Avant-garde? Eclectic? Hmmm…so you might find a fairly standard jazz band here, but these guys like to push the boundaries of what qualifies as music, so you’re more likely to catch some dude perfecting his rendition of broken glass instrumentals while he drops mad prose about being fondled by his uncle when he was two and regressive therapy just brought it to light. Still, I love this café. Great location near Dalston Junction, lovely patio that is free from the acrid smell of mufflers since the road got closed to traffic, frequented by bearded waifs who have been “writing their novel” for the last 10 years. Interior looks kind like my dorm room in college. Scattered tables, big projector screen in back, blow-doll in one corner…wait, no, that was the dorm room. Tasty coffee and I love the Japanese snacks they always have on hand. Go expand your mind, man. And don’t make fun of the performer unless you want to be fiercely blogged about later.
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