Much like Beyoncé; Oslo is an unapologetic bad bitch triple threat. Fronting delicious food, awesome drinks and one helluva music roster, it stormed onto the London scene last year and has since solidified itself as one of East London’s most prominent party hubs.
Located slap bang next to Hackney Central Overground Station, you’ll find Oslo tucked away at the bottom of Mare Street, in the heart of Hackney. As its name suggests, the venue has Nordic leanings, featuring high ceilings, massive windows and of course, plenty of wooden things. We started downstairs, which throughout the week and early evenings is used as the restaurant. It’s airy, fresh and perhaps weirdly, quite intimate. I say weirdly, as the venue overall is large in size; from the ceilings to the windows, they’re playing with a lot of space – but it genuinely doesn’t feel sparse. Perhaps it had something to do with the flowers-in-jars and dinky candles set-up; but there’s undeniably something cutesy about the downstairs of Oslo. The upstairs, however; not so much. A wholly different affair, the upstairs of the venue is reserved for live music and club nights; the perfect set up for a late night party-hungry crowd. Expect plenty of space, a banging sound system and modern club vibes to boot.
Food & Drink
Though Oslo is probably a little more known for its club nights; the food and drink offering here is pretty impressive too. The menu is a notch above solid gastro food, and features a varied selection of dishes ranging from trout to linguine. Naturally with such a refined choice on offer, myself and my distinguished date both went for burgers. And to be honest; I regret nothing. Between us, we devoured sampled a couple of the patties on offer: The Marrakesh ('spiced British lamb patty with charred onion, pomegranate, parsley and smoked harissa yoghurt’) and the Austin (‘barbequed pulled pork with Applewood cheddar and smoked garlic aioli’), with confit buffalo wings and charred aubergine dip on the side. Both were completely delicious, and hearty portions, too. Drinks-wise, on recommendation, we both went for an ale/beer. They have a load of resident and cask ales on tap, but if you’re into trying out different beers, have a taste of the Oslo Lager; it wasn’t too heavy, but miles less gassy than your bog-standard commercial brand.
Atmosphere & Clientèle
We visited on a Friday, which I think gave us a good feel for the type of people attending. Earlier on we found a really buzzy vibe from around 7pm; the tables were nicely full and mostly everyone was eating, with a few groups at the bar. As the night goes on and the food stops, the venue fills up and you can feel the ambience getting a little more lively. The crowd is expectantly cool, but not annoyingly so. It’s such a big venue that naturally it attracts a varied selection of people, especially with the eclectic music offering. We headed upstairs into the club at about 11pm and stayed up there pretty much for the rest of the night/morning. It’s rowdy, and a genuinely good London clubbing experience; especially in the face of so many other half-arsed DJ bars in the area.
Oslo has won a fair few accolades in its short time on the nightlife scene, but it’s easy to see why. They don’t cut corners and they don’t shy away from the multi-experience tag. I felt like I was at two separate venues from eating to the clubbing part of the night; which I’m sure is just the vibe they have intended to create. I guess what I'm trying to say - now that all's done - is that, well - I really like you, Oslo.