Monday, 25 April 2011

The Dome

This is an updated version of my previous review - I don't go there very often.

There are classes and a milonga every Wednesday organised by Zero Hour. The milonga normally goes till midnight, it's occasionally open later.

The Class:
There are usually beginners' and intermediate classes running - check the monthly programme on the website for times and teachers. The regular teachers are René and Hiba, but they also have guests.

Layout and Atmosphere: The main part of the room has been completely refurbished and looks good. The bar is on the left and behind you as you come in, with the bar area divided from the main part by pillars, chairs and tables with tablecloths. There are mixed chairs, tables, and sofas, along the other long side of the dance floor, and the short end on the left where the DJ has a sort of hatch or window. They've got rid of the platform that used to be there, and the dancefloor is now a much better size and shape. The new floor itself is also of much better quality, wooden and very smooth; it might have been newly polished, as I and one of my partners found it very slippery in a couple of spots near the corners. The lighting is very low, too low in my opinion to get a dance from across the room unless you both have good eyesight, are both light-skinned, and know each other fairly well. If you want to cross the room, it's no use waiting for the cortina - they don't play any - so you have to pick your way around or stay in the same place, but that's do-able as long as it's not crowded.

Hospitality: Good. My single G&T with ice and lemon was £3.40. There was a jug of water on the bar with plastic cups so you could serve yourself whenever you wanted it.  The bar staff were pleasant. The loos are supplied and working, and even have good lighting and large mirrors on the outsides of the doors in the ladies' at the far corner (not the one off the stairs before you go in, which is fine, but cramped). However, the floor in there was extremely dirty on this particular night. The tables near the bar are close together, but it's not too cramped as you can approach them from the bar side as well. There is a rail for hanging your things up just on the left by the entrance, and there are pretty much enough chairs for most people to sit down so there's also scope for hanging your things on the back of one and putting your bag under a table.

Anyone or anything interesting: They sell NeoTango shoes at the desk.

What I thought of the DJing: The DJs play mainly but not exclusively traditional music, it was in tandas, but no cortinas. I have to leave by 23:30 as it's a weekday, and I wouldn't be surprised if they got a bit more non-traditional by midnight. It is not always the same DJ, check the website to find out who it is on your night.

Getting in: £6. I think you can get a loyalty discount - ask the person at the desk, if you plan to be a regular.

Getting there and getting home: From Tufnell Park tube, cross at the crossing and walk down the left hand wall of the corner pub; you will see the lit sign for the Dome. Just walk up the stairs. If you stay till midnight you may not be able to Tube it all the way, but there are buses from the intersection outside: the website shows the location correctly.

The website: Simple, does the job. Look at 'milonga' and 'monthly programme'. The milonga is usually referred to as "The Dome" but the website uses its intended name so is at

How it went: Quite well. I had nice dances with people I know and people I don't see very often. I'd guess most of the people who go there are probably regulars, which is nice in many ways but may also mean it can take a while to get dances if nobody knows you, most of all if you are relatively choosy. The flow on the floor felt ok and I didn't have a lot of bumps. I'm unlikely to become a regular because it's in an awkward location for me and the no-cortinas policy and darkness do my head in. Plus it's probably hitting its stride around the time I have to leave. But it's an attractive space, it's very reasonably priced, and the music is good if you don't mind the format. If you like your milongas non-traditional this is definitely the one for you, and you're likely to find suitable partners here.

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