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The East London pub that was named the best music venue in the whole capital

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Florence + The Machine, JME, Mumford & Sons, Kylie Minogue – and our aforementioned favourites, Amy Winehouse and the Arctic Monkeys – what sounds like a stellar noughties festival line-up is actually just a few of the big names that have played at one pub in East London.

Owned by Vice Media UK, The Old Blue Last was a brothel for hundreds of years before re-opening in 2004 as a pub. “It was a horrible s***hole back then and since we bought it the ceiling has collapsed three times,” Vice UK has commented in an article published to celebrate the magazine’s ten year anniversary.

But even before it was a brothel, the Old Blue Last had a long and rich history of being a bedrock- if you pardon the pun- of both British culture and British debauchery. The site the pub is on today used to be known for being a favoured spot for the likes of William Shakespeare and John Webster to frequent, and the 1700s saw the pub open for the first time as “The Last”, a pub notorious for being what we’d today call a gay men’s club of sorts.

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UNITED KINGDOM – circa 1970: THE OLD BLUE LAST Photo of GIG and AUDIENCE and CROWDS, audience of gig goers at The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch (Photo by Marc Broussely/Redferns)

But even before it was a brothel, The Old Blue Last had a long and rich history of being a bedrock- if you pardon the pun- of both British culture and British debauchery. The site the pub is on today used to be known for being a favoured spot for the likes of William Shakespeare and John Webster to frequent, and the 1700s saw the pub open for the first time as “The Last”, a pub notorious for being what we’d today call a gay men’s club of sorts.

Unassuming in aesthetic, today this Shoreditch-based joint is considerably stripped back, especially in comparison to the hipster reputation of its owners and the even more hipster fame of its E1 location. More dark walls and classic pub bar stools than fairy lights and mason jars, the pub is known for its young crowd and, naturally, fantastic live music.

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The Old Blue Last today. Credit: TripAdvisor

Secret shows of big name acts at The Old Blue Last are scattered throughout the calendar, and entry is usually free. And despite not being necessarily massive in size, there’s always enough room to dance, something reviews of the place have made note of.

“The Old Blue Last has the awesome power to make any gig into a beer-soaked, freak out, dance party,” wrote Spoonfed. The Evening Standard even went so far as to call it the best live music venue in the whole of the capital.

Find The Old Blue Last on Great Eastern Street, right in the heart of Shoreditch. A five minute walk from Shoreditch High Street Overground Station, you can also access it from Old Street Underground Station, alongside a variety of bus routes that service the proximity from across the city.

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