Living up to its name.
The End is London’s “club for clubbers,” a basic, black-box affair that puts sound and free water before décor and expensive liquor. It’s owned and operated by resident DJs Mr. C and Layo Paskin (of Layo & Bushwacka!).
Two New York-native Stalkers took a trip to London and made The End their numero uno priority to check out. On this chilly March night, promoters Bugged Out threw an electric disco party with Hot Chip headlining. DJs Erol Alkan and Sinden also lent their skills to the dancefloor, around live sets by international acts Black Devil Disco Club, Noze and Bodenstandig 2000. What seemed to be a foolproof evening showed them that you can never rely on any party or venue to be a sure thing.
I’ve had this nightmare before. Amazingly, that too was documented in a NightStalkers a few years ago, about a New York club that is no more called The World. Even the names are similarly unremarkable; I should have taken that into consideration before deciding to go to The End (it even looks ominous written down). But how was I ever to know if I didn’t see for myself? Mental note: Any club that is called “The Enter-Generic-Noun-Here” is to be avoided unless numerous rave reviews have been given.
Ever the seasoned Stalker, I was eager to check out what London’s nightlife had to offer, and my partner on this trip was willing to come along. I was aware that pretty much anyone who was worth seeing was, at the time, in Miami for the Winter Music Conference. And the only other DJ spinning that night who I was familiar with was Erick Morillo at Ministry of Sound, but I can see him anytime in New York and I don’t.
I decided to be realistic yet hopeful about the impending evening’s events. I was interested in checking out both The End and Hot Chip, so it seemed like the natural choice.
It wasn’t too difficult to find; there was no visible sign of life in the neighborhood except for this giant blue building with two enormous lines surrounding it. One line was for The End and the other line was for the bar next door, AKA. I think you were allowed to go between the two places, so I was confused as to why there were two lines, but to be safe I hightailed it to the back of the line for The End. I was offered several drugs the second I stepped onto the line: I must reek of tourist.
After a short wait, I was pulled off-line and thrown inside, which was a little disconcerting because they left my poor partner-in-crime outside to wait. The front is really small and not well-organized. In the ten feet before the stairs down to the dancefloor, I couldn’t tell where to pay and whom to give my coat to. The stairs are fairly long and the line for coats went all the way down them, so I held onto my coat.
I could not believe how small The End is! There was nowhere to go, nothing to do except get lost in the sea of H&M-clad wannabe hipsters that flooded both the dancefloor and the bar area. One thing I did like was the list they had posted of the DJ set times. Hey New York, take note of that. And The End should take this lesson from New York: toilet seats are a necessity. Poorly lit and filthy, The End’s bathroom was the vilest space I have ever had to pee in my entire life, and I used a mini-stall at Exit New York on New Year’s morning (OK?).
I wish I could say more about the actual space, but there’s really nothing to say. It was basically two big black boxes of nothing with a sound system and a DJ booth. That can work with the right party, and I usually prefer those parties, but this just wasn’t it. My 48-minute trip to The End was longer than I needed to figure out this place was not for me. It really lived up to its name because that really was the end for me.
Promoted in Time Out London as one of the city’s biggest and best nightclubs, The End was, at best, disappointing. From the street it looks like an enormous blue box, but once inside the first thing you see is a line heading downstairs, followed by another, longer line coming right back up for coat check. We decide to forgo the second line and hang onto our coats—a wise decision. Once downstairs, the club seems quite small. I initially thought we had just entered the foyer and there would be many additional rooms with a main dance floor, but I quickly realized this was not the case. There are only two dance floors: a main floor, which quickly became cramped; and a second one just off the horribly crowded bar. We didn’t even attempt to get drinks as it became apparent almost immediately that we would not be staying long. We came to The End to see Hot Chip, but, for the short time we were there, they only played repetitive bass and drums, while on the adjoining floor the sound of rhythmic Chinese water torture dripped through the speakers. Standing between the two floors produced a muddled mix of these two sounds.
Despite all these shortcomings, the night could have been saved by a fun party going on inside the small space. But, I suppose the crowd matched the atmosphere: Unlike my limited New York club experience where the people make the party, the clientele at The End were anything but fun. The promoters appeared to have a generic, white 20-something machine in the back and they just kept pumping out clones. All were dressed in clothing made several sizes too small with tedious slang or faux-vintage logos printed on them.
I love going out in New York because I love not knowing what I am going to see; that is what makes my night. Not just the queens and freaks, but the various subsets that proudly put themselves on display. At The End, they were having none of that. In fact, I got the distinct feeling that being yourself was out of the question.
After about half an hour, our night at The End came to an end. And, if you know me at all, you know it had to have been pretty horrific for me to eat the $40 cover.