We’ve ventured out a little and in today’s post we want to introduce you to one of our new favourite hangouts, Café Oto. Tucked away down a side street in bustling Dalston, this café slash music lounge is a super chilled place for when you fancy something a little different. Read on to find out all Café Oto has to offer…
Image: Café Oto
18-22 Ashwin Street, Dalston, E8 3DL
Nearest Overground: Dalston Kingsland or Dalston Junction
Bus stops nearby: 30, 38, N38, 67, 76, 149, N149, 56, 277 & 242
Bicycle: Bike racks opposite Café Oto
By day, Oto runs as a relaxed and airy café; the perfect place to take a book or some pals. By night, it transforms into an underground haven for live, independent and experimental music. Hamish Dunbar and his wife Keiko Yamamoto launched Café Oto back in 2008, after being inspired by their love of experimental music venues in Japan. The word Oto in Japanese means both ‘noise’ and ‘music’, which seemed the perfect way to describe the café’s choice of underground music not found on the high street.
Image: Café Oto
Oto’s record label, OtoRuko:
Following its launch, Café Oto even started its own record label. Called OtoRoku, the label launched in 2012 to release recordings from live shows at the venue. It kicked off with saxophonist Peter Brotzmann’s performance with fellow artists Steve Noble and John Edwards. The record was titled …The Worse, The Better. Check it out, along with more OtoRoku releases, here.
Image: Assemble Studio
Café Oto’s, Oto Project
Café Oto, with the help of 60 volunteers, created a new venue in the summer of 2013. The performance space was a project utilising resources that were readily available at little or no cost. Far from traditional London-brick houses, it used demolition rubble found in the disused space where the project now stands. The simple architecture of an open wooden roof top and sand bag walls is the perfect place for an informal get together. The Project space homes workshops, performances and stands as a venue for Café Oto’s experimental music.
Café Oto’s food by Zardosht
During the day, the café is in the hands of talented sisters Sanza and Soli Zardosht. Originally from Iran, they bring a taste of Persianesque authenticity with a modern twist to the food they create. Although they’ve been at Café Oto for four years, their daily changing menu means you’ll be surprised every time you go! From slow-cooked fragrant stews to seasonal frittatas and lots of beautiful salads brimming with colour and flavour, their food doesn’t disappoint. The cafe is open from 12pm-4pm on weekdays and then at the weekend for brunch and lunch between 10.30pm-4pm.
Image: Café Oto
Café Oto’s Bar
If there’s not a live band playing in the evening, Café Oto is still open for business, offering the perfect place to relax or to just hang out. They have a fine selection of beer, and an extensive list of spirits and award-winning whiskeys from Japan. So, if it’s just the palate cleanser you’re after, check out their calendar here.
Events range in price from free to £20. To see the full programme and admissions look here. Have you been? Tell us what you think and leave a comment below!