London: Torture Garden Halloween tries a new home south of the river.
With the closure of the Coronet Theatre in January 2018, Torture Garden lost the last central London venue willing and able to accommodate its biggest gatherings of well over 2,000 people.
For most of 2018, the club had to make do with smaller venues. But at the beginning of November, it staged one of its biggest events at a newly renovated London venue with a rumoured 3,000 capacity.
Torture Garden’s 2018 Halloween Ball took place at Studio 338, at 338 Boord Street on the Greenwich Peninsular, near the O2 Arena and the southern end of the Blackwall Tunnel.
The original venue at that location was bought by the current owners in 2014, but after two years operating as Studio 338, was gutted by a fire in which a man lost his life. The venue was rebuilt in 2017, and Torture Garden’s first event there was held a year almost to the day after it re-opened.
The previous owners had been unable to get promoters interested in the venue for big fetish events. Only a few years ago, the difficulty of persuading spoilt-for-choice London fetish clubbers to venture south of the river and then east to Greenwich made the idea pretty much a non-starter.
How times have changed. Now, with no options at all for large-scale fetish gatherings in central London, the emergence of a venue actually able to host a major Torture Garden night is bound to be taken seriously — even if it does have an SE10 postcode.
And the location of this one could be a lot worse. In fact, as TG (itself now south-east London based) has clearly concluded, Studio 338, about 500 metres from North Greenwich station with its Jubilee Line trains running all night at weekends, suddenly looks like a much more viable option.
Not unusually for a venue new to hosting fetish events, the Studio 338 management didn’t get everything right for TG’s debut there. While the party itself was impressive, there were substantial problems with the cloakroom facilities which took the edge off the event for some folk.
But with the venue’s co-operation, such teething troubles should be easy enough to resolve, presenting a strong possibility that Studio 338 could become location of choice for Torture Garden’s largest-scale events in 2019 and beyond.