Becoming a pole dancer has majorly impacted what I want to do when I travel and in the city I live in. For this reason, I’ve decided to write a “Pole Dance Guide To…” the cities I have lived in/travelled to to help other pole sisters or fun people make the most out of them. So there you go: live London like a pole dancer with Blogger On Pole’s Pole Dance Guide To London.
The Pole Dance Guide To London – Disclaimer
Consider this post my guide – an article stating where I would take my friends if they were to ask me to take me to my favourite places in central London. This means it might not be 100% objective or inclusive. It features the venues I know and love. However, I’m always happy to accept new suggestions so keep ’em coming.
London Breakfast: Palm Vaults, Hackney
I fell in love with the Palm Vaults on a cold January day while wandering around in Hackney. They are a very pink, tiny café people always queue for because the staff are lovely and the food has vegan and gluten-free alternatives. It has a no-laptop policy and a clothing line, and it often collaborates with cool brands like Nike and hosts fantastic talks. It’s also dog-friendly and it makes mean smoothie bowls. I reviewed it a while ago here. Why would a pole dancer go there, you ask? Because it’s cute and Instagrammable, and smoothie bowls aren’t that heavy a breakfast to have before training.
Palm Vaults | 411 Mare Street | Hackney | London | E8 1HY
London Lunch: Island Poké Carnaby
Poké, or that Hawaiian rice-based sushi salad taking London by storm, is a perfect pre- or post-workout meal. It has everything you need: protein, veggies, carbs. It’s usually under a tenner and it tastes awesome. I like to get mine at Island Poké in Carnaby because it’s central, it has swings instead of seats and it allows me to go shopping around Soho on a guilt-free but full belly.
Island Poké | 8 Kingly Street | Soho | London | W1B 5PQ
As a broke PhD student, I often can barely afford more than a pole membership and a sandwich. But a girl can at least dream, right? Here are some of the pole dance must-have brands I mostly can’t afford, but that I will ACCEPT AS A GIFT. WINK WINK FRIENDS.
The Broadwick Street‘s Agent Provocateur shop is iconic AF and it’s also the first Agent Provocateur shop I ever walked into. I blew my part of my high school summer scholarship there once. I remember the shop assistant asking me how old I was and raising an eyebrow when she learnt I was 17. So yeah, no surprise at my current demeanour. Since then, people have gifted me AP’s lingerie and it’s been absolutely fantastic to perform in. It looks classy, sexy and it’s extremely comfortable. Really recommended if you can afford the hefty price tag.
If anyone wants to make a pole dancer very happy, the above will be ABSOLUTELY FINE.
Agent Provocateur | 6 Broadwick Street | Soho | London |W1F 8HL
Coco De Mer
Like Agent Provocateur, Coco De Mer isn’t exactly a shop for broke students. And yes, FYI, I discovered this one at 17 too, when I was looking for nipple tassels. What? I was in my Dita Von Teese fangirl phase.
Coco De Mer sells everything from luxury lingerie to bondage stuff and it’s a gorgeous, boudoir looking shop you have to visit at least once if you’re into this kind of stuff.
Coco De Mer London | 23 Monmouth Street | Seven Dials | London | WC2H 9DD
A little more affordable than Coco De Mer and Agent Provocateur, Harmony is a sex shop that also sells underwear, burlesquey accessories and costumes that make perfect showcase or performance material. There’s two of them – one in Tottenham Court Road and a bigger one on Oxford Street. Definitely worth a visit!
Harmony | 103 Oxford Street | Soho | London | W1D 2HF
What Katie Did
Over on our blog now – @curvecreation’s review of our Luna Extreme Corset! This little cinching corset is a firm favourite of our Australian Brand Ambassador. It’s super short length makes it suitable for most figures, giving a super curvy shape in brilliant comfort! Worn with Glamour Nouveau Bra, Maitresse Knickers and Suspenders and Fully Fashioned Stockings. Read more on our blog
If you’re into the more burlesque side of things, What Katie Did in Notting Hill is the place for you. With a selection of vintage-looking underwear (think the spiky, Gaultier-like bras Madonna wore at some point), stockings and affordable corsets, What Katie Did is a burlesque fan’s paradise. When I say affordable I mean that corsets are often under £150 but that they’re top quality – most steel-boned corsets cost £500 or something!
What Katie Did | 281 Portobello Road | Notting Hill | London | W10 5TZ
Formerly known as Blitz London, Atika London has just rebranded. It’s a two-storey Victorian warehouse selling vintage fashion, books, accessories and the like. It’s often quite affordable, quirky and hosts a bunch of treasures only you will have. It’s a fantastic place for props and unique outfits to bring to performances and photoshoots. I got my denim rock n’roll jacket here and I can’t stop wearing it.
Atika London |55-59 Hanbury Street | Spitalfields | London | E1 5JP
Pole Dance Training
There are a variety of pole dance studios around central London. Although I started the London Dance Academy, near Old Street, offering everything pole, aerial and sexy dance, now my home studio is Akila Pole Studio in Brixton, an actual rain of sunshine in the usually basement style spaces in London. Always around central London are Pole People (in Moorgate) and Ecole de Pole (in Camden). All schools run classes at very convenient times, whether they’re pole hires, morning classes, lunchtime classes or evening classes. If you’re heading or staying south, Pole Fit London is a beautiful studio in Stockwell, not far from the Brixton nightlife and from a yummy jerk chicken recovery meal. In short, you don’t have to miss out of training: you have plenty of options.
London Drinks: God’s Own Junkyard
Few things make me as happy as a bunch of inappropriate neon signs put together, and God’s Own Junkyard in Walthamstow does that brilliantly. God’s Own Junkyard is an installation of new and vintage neon signs alongside a bar, in the same estate as the Wild Card Brewery. It’s the perfect place for a bunch of Insta photoshoots topped up with a beer.
Created by Chris Bracey, “the Neon Man” who for the past 37 years has been creating iconic art pieces for David la Chapelle, Martin Creed and more, God’s Own Junkyard is pure pole room goals. Chris has made, installed and collected signs that have appeared in iconic movies such as Eyes Wide Shut, Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the Batman movie with Jack Nicholson as the Joker.
Gods Own Junkyard| Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate | Shernhall Street | Walthamstow | London | E17 9HQ
London Dinner: La Bodega Negra
Head back to Soho for a Mexican dinner in a naughty spot. Disguised under more neon signs, this time advertising for “GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS” and “Adult Video”, La Bodega Negra plays on Soho’s old red light district shenanigans and delivers top notch tacos and cocktails with a punch. It gets pretty full, so book it in advance!
Top tip: don’t take your dad there without letting him know that it’s a restaurant, not a strip club. Don’t make my mistake.
La Bodega Negra |16 Moor Street | Soho | London | W1D 5NH
Catch a London show before you head out dancing and get inspired by the unique performers the capital has to offer. Some of London’s household names perform at Proud Cabaret, once based in Camden but now relocating to Embankment.
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Bethnal Green’s Working Men’s Club is another go-to venue for pole dancing, Twin Peaks inspired Burlesque with the Double R Club, drag shows or, sometimes, pole competitions like Floorplay, where yours truly performed.
The Vaults in Waterloo is another venue you have to hit up, thanks to its ever-changing line-up of one-of-a-kind events like the aerial immersive theatre Becoming Shades, the immersive dining event An Evening of Meat or Burlesque by Lolo Brow.
Most pole dancers I know love a good drag show, so don’t miss out on a night at The Glory in Haggerston, your go-to lypsincing, vogueing and reading mecca in East London. Drag fans will also want to visit The Troxy in Stepney Green, a massive theatre that often hosts events featuring the cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race like The Twisted Circus I reviewed earlier this year. The Troxy will also host Pole Theatre UK next month, so you better watch out for tickets and outstanding performances.
Last but not least, what is pole dancing for if not to show off your moves? Not all these clubs have poles, and I’m not advising you go headstand on a sticky club floor, but you can body roll like a pro and twerk it like Miley… or better, ideally. G-A-Y and Heaven in Soho are world-famous gay bars where drag queens and pop stars sing and dance it off for the crowd. Pop anthems are guaranteed to turn the night – and Heaven even has poles!
If you’re after more of a “local” night, The Garage in Highbury hosts club nights with the latest music, while The Macbeth in Hoxton is your go-to venue for themed nights like The Motto – Drake Party, or a Beyoncé night.
Pictures: Carolina unless stated otherwise