Valiente's (formerly the Bohola).: East End kneesup updated.
I remember when I moved to London in the late 1980's that Bethnal Green Road was one of the hotspots of nightlife in the city. It seemed that there was a nighclub or very lively pub on just about every corner and it really was very lively at the weekend. That really is no longer the case. For a variety of reasons, there are far fewer pubs and I don't know of a proper nightvlub except when you get away down to the City end of the road and these are designed for the City types not the locals.
However, if you happen to be wandering about the BGR (as the street is sometimes locally called) on a Sunday night, you could do worse than pop into Valiente's, the pub in the image. Sunday night is karaoke night with a resident DJ and his daughter keeping the whole thing going. They are both very good singers. I remember in some of the old-fashioned East End pubs when someone would play the piano or more usually an electronic organ, and people would take turns singing. I suppose karaoke is just the technological equivalent of that type of entertainment. Believe me, the locals do love to sing, and there is never a shortage of volunteers. It can be great fun in there and whilst I am not a fan of karaoke myself, someone told the DJ I was a msucian and so I do get dragged onstage sometimes. If you do visit and I am singing, please feel free to step outside for a few minute, I won't be offended!
One last thing. If you are asking directions here and people don't know where Valiente's is, try asking for the Bohola which was the previous name of the premises and which is still used by many people.
Dress Code: Casual.
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Salmon and Ball pub.: I know it's only rock 'n' roll.
Update January 2013.
I do like to keep my tips as up to date as I can and there has been a change in the music scene now in the Salmon and Ball. The original tip, which I shall leave here for interest, was written almost four years ago. The rock bands no longer play here regularly but there are occasional blues outfits, normally very good. If the bands are not on (usually on a Saturday), the music is provided by the house DJ who is a lovely and very obliging bloke. He has a vast selection of music and will play you whatever you want from 60's pop to modern house music and anything in between.
I also have to report that the pub is still very safe to drink in, there is absolutely no trouble here like there was some years ago. If you are watching the pennies, there is never a door charge for the entertainment and it is still one of the cheaper options for a drink in the area.
Original Tip, May 2009.
The East End has long been known for music, especially of the rock variety. Although various factors, including ever-changing licensing regulations and the current recession are certainly hurting live music, there are still places where the good old fashioned rock and blues covers bands thrive, and this is one of them. I say this as a musician myself.
The place in question is the Salmon and Ball pub at the junction of Bethnal Green Road and Cambridge Heath Road, and every Saturday night, very good quality rock / blues bands here. My personal favourite are a band called Tush who do escellent covers.
In the past, under a previous name of Tipples, this place had something of a reputation as being a bit rough. Whilst it is certainly not an upmarket wine bar, I personally have never seen any trouble here.
Dress Code: None at all.
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- Beer Tasting