Taking over eight ex-railway arches under Waterloo Station, the Leake Street Arches is an arts, entertainment and dining venue like no other. Incorporating the famous Graffiti tunnel from the moment you enter the arches you are encouraged to embrace your creativity and ‘leave your mark’. From immersive art spaces and a carefully curated selection of bars and restaurants everything about this expansive space inspires and tantalises. Although parts of the venue are still under construction there is plenty here to enjoy this summer.
Leake Street Arches
How to get there:
Buses: 12, 53, 148, 159, 341, 453
Nearest tube: Waterloo and Lambeth North
Entrance on York Road, Waterloo Station Approach Road or Lower Marsh
Leake Street is an homage to the street art scene and their commitment to the scene is visible everywhere. The tunnel is a renowned space for street artists worldwide and, in such an atmospheric setting, it’s easy to see why. Keeping the space in tact and encouraging new talent is key to the ethos behind the venue. In the spirit of encouraging graffiti artists to keep contributing to the tunnel, the Leake Street blog interviews various artists about their work in their weekly feature Meet and Graff. The graffitied walls of the arches also form an excellent backdrop to an event. Aures, is a huge seven-metre high exposed brick arch and venue which covers 2000 square feet of floor space providing the perfect location for big events such as the House of Vans takeover back in March and the setting for the immersive theatre company, The Vaults. Their events include such intimate performances as a play set in car park with only six audience members – all sitting in the car with the only performer. Intense. Coming up, on 21st July, is a competitive life drawing event, Kiss My Art. The competition will be accompanied by a DJ backing track and promises to be a London first.
No venue would be complete without offering excellent food and drink and Leake Stree, doesn’t disappoint. The brilliant Ban Bhao brothers have opened up a permanent home under the arches and serve delicious Vietnamese specialities include lotus crisps, spicy wings and pork spring rolls. You can find the Ban Bhao brothers on the edge of the arches, follow the Vietnamese inspired artworks and signs to the Jade Dragon Bar. Great offers include a bucket of beer with a stack of chicken wings. The Rat Bar@26 opened last month and promises all the grime and glamour of the underground scene with art installations dedicated to artists from around the world and suitably themed cocktails, You Dirty Rat and the Double Crossing Rat. The Draughts bar doesn’t mince its words, serving draughts beers and board games to punters. Set in a high-ceiled vault it’s an easy place to lose afew hours.
There’s plenty more still to come from this venue. A huge new performance space with a 1200 capacity is currently under construction and due to open in September. Sign up here to the #LeakeStLive newsletter for all their freshest content, news from the local area and upcoming events.
Will you be checking out the arches this month? Let us know in the comments below!