Fascinating music

London’s cafe with a hidden concert hall run by the people who helped Ed Sheeran rise to fame

Tucked away in an alleyway in Shoreditch High Street is an intriguing new addition to the London cafe scene.

There may be dozens of trendy cafes in this part of East London, with exposed brickwork, craft mixes and vegan treats – but there is something particularly new and exciting about Ditto Coffee. .

Started by the folks behind Ditto Music, a Liverpool-based distribution, management and record label company that has worked with Streatham-born rappers Dave, Ed Sheeran, Chance the Rapper and Sam Smith.

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Ditto Coffee is as much a concert venue for up-and-coming local musicians as it is a place to enjoy a great beer.

The Shoreditch branch is the fourth iteration of Ditto Coffee, which also has locations in Liverpool and Manchester.

It opened in the spring on Rivington Street as a cafe with a twist, but the main event – the live music calendar – finally kicked off on Monday (November 15) with stunning performances from an all-female lineup. starring Amie K from Liverpool and Elisa Imperilee, born in south London.

Ditto Coffee debuted in 2017 in Liverpool’s trendy Baltic triangle, pairing delicious coffee from local and independent roasters with some of the best music in the city.

It has become a hub for local artists to hang out, play informal concerts, test new material and collaborate, as well as become an opportunity to market themselves and share their music in an organic way that is less common in the era of digital streaming. .

Each Ditto Coffee branch, including the most recent one in Shoreditch, has a drop box for musicians to leave recorded material at Ditto, which can help them connect with record labels and stream their music to streaming platforms.

For musicians like Amie K, a Liverpool-based singer-songwriter who is now firmly established in the city’s music scene, the relaxed atmosphere is a perfect place to hang out and perform in a relaxed and hassle-free setting, has she told Ditto on Monday. Launch of Coffee Shoreditch.

Founders Matt and Lee Parsons explained: “When we started Ditto Music in our apartment over 10 years ago, countless great cups of coffee helped us every day.

Ditto Coffee's ground floor lounge hosts intimate concerts by up-and-coming local artists
Ditto Coffee’s ground floor lounge hosts intimate concerts by up-and-coming local artists

“Now that we have made Ditto a global brand that champions independent music, supports artists and aims to create a fairer music industry, we have introduced Ditto Coffee in the UK to Shoreditch in London, two locations in Manchester and the very first Ditto Coffee in Liverpool. Baltic Triangle.

“We have been fortunate enough to travel with our work and have always known that coffee is an integral part of our work. The idea was therefore developed to combine excellent coffee with our passion for new independent music. “

In addition to giving the UK music scene a much needed boost – essential after the catastrophic impact of the pandemic – COO Natasha Murphy enjoys the sense of community that Ditto Cafes foster.

“It’s really about bringing the community together,” she said. “With the launch of the weekly acoustic sessions with Macca Taylor every Wednesday, it’s all about showing what local talent is.

Natasha Murphy, COO of Idem Coffee
Natasha Murphy, COO of Idem Coffee

“We actively encourage artists to give up their music [in our dropboxes], which will then be fed by Ditto Music.

“We want to help emerging musicians, we want them to have a voice and a place where they feel they can be heard, but also that community element of just hanging out.”

Ditto’s Shoreditch branch features an upstairs cafe with cafe tables and decor reflecting the Ditto artists hall of fame, as well as a lounge and live music space on the ground floor that can seat between 20 and 30 people for live sessions.

Every Wednesday through December 15, singer-songwriter Macca Taylor hosts live sessions where local artists can come and perform between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. – and guests get 20% off food and entertainment. drinks.

The upstairs cafe bar has a Ditto Hall of Fame, and the downstairs lounge can seat 20 people for an intimate concert
The upstairs cafe bar has a Ditto Hall of Fame, and the downstairs lounge can seat 20 people for an intimate concert

The venue also regularly hosts game nights and other live music shows, which really spices up the after-work life of East London.

Its location in a ‘cozy corner’ just away from the hustle and bustle of the bars of Shoreditch High Street makes it a hidden gem – but baristas say they would like it to become less of a secret place and more of a regular hangout for. London music lovers.

“The downstairs workspace is used by various independent companies [as a creative space] where you can relax, have a coffee and continue your work – also being able to network with different people coming in and out, ”Natasha added.

“The manager of the cafe, Remy, is local to the area, and his drive builds a relationship with everyone so that they feel included.

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“It creates a kind of buzz in the area, so it’s recognized as helping local musicians – recognition of independent artists means people will go and see something special.

“At launch, I felt like there was a little bit of magic in the air while listening to the music – it was so intimate and like you were part of something.

“This buzz is quite difficult to create, but if you can create this little music scene in a community, that’s adorable.”

Ditto Coffee Shoreditch is now open at 91 Rivington St, EC2A 3AY – find out more and follow what’s happening at dittocoffee.co.uk.

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