Monday, 26 May 2008

The Adelaide

There is a Sunday afternoon milonga at The Adelaide, 143 Adelaide Road, Primrose Hill, NW3. It's organised by Richard Schramm and Tony Walker, you get tea and cakes and a staffed bar, and Comme Il Faut shoes for men and women are on sale.

Layout and atmosphere: The Adelaide is an airy pub, in a suburb so full of leaves I couldn't see the bus stop. The white-bearded pub DJ directed me upstairs. There are two large rooms, one with the bar, the seating, and the shoe shop, and a long narrow rectangular room with faded murals in a sort of naive-Chinoiserie, which is the dance floor. Beause one room is for dancing and the other for seating, with just a largish open doorway in between, it's not possible to sit and watch, and I think that contributes to the floor see-sawing between crowded and half-empty. Around the other room are hung paintings and cartoons on the subject of social tango - these are for sale, and they do add to the atmosphere, which is very pleasant on a soft Spring day. The crowd was older-on-average, but, as usual, not at all exclusively. Your tea is served in a miscelleaneous, quickly circulating collection of patterned cups and saucers, which add their small voices of colour and charm. You get a proper plate and a metal spoon for your cake. The dance floor is pretty good, narrow but even. The large Star of David incised in the middle of it is strange; perhaps some fashionable NW3 cult has the room on Tuesdays.

What I thought of the DJing: Tony played quite a few tracks that had long intros and outtros, were very difficult to hear at the far end of the room, or were messed-about and 'modernised' versions of things that I probably would have liked more the first time round. There were also bursts of straightforward traditional stuff which suddenly emptied the seating, and the dancefloor went from challenging to half-empty and back again several times. I gathered that they are trying to find a way to get the sound down to the far end better, and doing that would make more of the music work and even things out a bit.

Hospitality: Good. Your entry price includes tea and cakes, for which you are handed a ticket, which the bar staff won't ask for. The tea is nice, and the cakes are good standard commercial fare. Beer and other liquid refreshment is available at the bar. The seating is plentiful, with lots of little wickerwork stools, and quite a few battered sofas and squishy chairs. The loos are pub loos, broom-cupboard size and shape, just-about clean, just-about working. Nowhere to hang your coat; take a kitbag.

The website: There isn't one. Monitor Tango-UK for announcements.

Getting in: £8, includes tea and cake.

Getting there and getting home: from Chalk Farm underground, cross the road and take a 31 bus. Alight at the sign of the large beige A on a dark red square, which is the second stop after the bus crosses Primrose Hill road, and you are there. Or you could very well walk - it's not far. Go in, go through the small door in the right-hand near corner, and up the stairs. It is about the same distance from Swiss Cottage underground in the other direction. Ignore the TFL journey planner's walking directions to the postcode, which are misleading. It ends at 18:30, so you can reverse the procedure to get home. It is perfectly feasible to go here and then go to 33 Portland Place and get two milongas on the same Sunday; I went home for dinner in between, and had a shorter session at 33PP.

How it went: Although not all the music made me want to dance, the seating was so comfortable and the company so pleasant that I didn't mind at all. It was nice to have the opportunity to try on some Comme Il Faut shoes, which I'll post about seperately. I had a dance or two with people I knew and a dance or two with people I didn't, and a very pleasant time just trying on and discussing shoes, chatting, and drinking tea.


La Tanguerita said...

For a long time already I’ve wanted to thank you for your reports on tango venues in London. They are absolutely great and I’ve devoured every single one. A year or two from now I might be moving to London, and - if everything else fails, at least I will know where to dance tango

msHedgehog said...

Well, thank you. I hope they are useful to people. It's good for me too because it motivates me to go and try different places. There are plenty more to come, I have quite a queue.