Ranked as one of the top 5 clubs worldwide , Printworks London has been making a name for itself since it first opened in 2017. Formerly known as Harmsworth Quays, the venue was Western Europe’s largest printing factory, printing newspapers such as the Daily Mail and Evening Standard until 2012. Since then, the closed factory has transformed into one of the world’s most vibrant and renowned venues.
The diverse venue is impressive, comprising of 6 acres of land, hosting six event spaces and a stunning outdoor area (perfect for all those smoking area chats, of course). It is a vast space, with a capacity of 6,000, similar to raving in several connected warehouses. By carefully preserving some of the historic printing machinery and original metal railings, matched with the incredible LED and visually striking light displays, it’s how you expect a party from Cyberpunk 2077 to look like in real life. Providing a dystopian, futuristic vibe, which is part of what makes it so special – there’s no venue quite like it.
There’s six event rooms in total, all with a world-class lighting rig. The main room (and most iconic) is called the Press Halls.
Long, tall and narrow, the Press Halls feature an extraordinary 55ft high ceiling. The room points towards the visually striking LED wall and DJ booth, where they work together to provide the Printworks experience. The narrow space is surrounded by metal balconies, which offer a bright, mesmerising overview of the entire event. Although, the best experience is to be gained on the ground floor, in the intimate space, elbow to elbow amongst the crowd dancing to their favourite tunes.
In addition to the Press Halls, there is the Dark Room, contrasting the extravagance of the Press Halls by providing a dark underground vibe, almost replicating that classic UK 90s rave scene. This space is much better for those who favour something more lowkey and simplistic.
Drinks and Food
Serving as a cocktail bar, The Control Room is ideal for those who need a sit-down. The bar itself maintains the metal industrial vibes with plenty of seats.
The outside area is home to an outdoor food courtyard, perfect for keeping up the energy after hours of dancing. Food options typically vary depending on the event, consisting of street food vendors and include vegan and vegetarian options.
Coffee is also available if you need that extra pick me up, and to keep you hydrated, water is offered for free at all bars.
Payment method: Card and contactless only.
Lighting and Visual Effects
The lighting and visual effects of Printworks is part of the experience. Taking inspiration from different venues, exhibitions, and art installations, Printworks’ lighting and visual effects are their own art forms.
“The benefit of being in a large derelict venue is that we can do pretty much anything we want. But also, the way that Printworks runs in the seasons means that at the end of the season, the lighting and sound come out and go back to where we hire them from which means that every six months we have a completely blank canvas”.David Ross, Printworks lighting designer, interview.
The lighting is everchanging and always pushing the boundaries with the latest technology, brought together by talented light engineers.
With such a high ranking in the best nightclubs in the world, it should come as no surprise to know that The Printworks is home to a ground-breaking sound system. Supplied by dbnAudile, the d&b systems are nothing short of world-class. To ensure high-quality coverage throughout the large acoustic (and therefore very echoey) space, there is a total of 12 stacked J-Series, V-Series tops and subs to match the height of the room – providing the type of bass you feel in your gut.
Events and Times
The events vary depending on acts. Some start midday, with various acts – similar to a day festival. These events are typically 11 hours, providing great value for the ticket price. There is also a 2 AM licence on weekends, capturing the more typical clubbing experience.
Printworks has hosted some of the biggest names in the electronic music industry, such as Eric Prydz, Amelie Lens, Nina Kraviz, Don Diablo, Deadmau5 & more.
Not Just Music
Printworks is a multi-cultural venue, a vibrant spot for film & television production, fashion shows, cinema & theatre performances, exhibitions, and conferences. There are various events across all art forms and sectors hosted at the space each year.
The venue prides itself on having an inclusive environment, with step-free access, lifts available and a dedicated accessibility steward. Additionally, they offer complimentary tickets for support workers/personal assistants to help support those who need it (although this must be booked in advance).
Similarly, they welcome guide dogs and assistant dogs.
Although there is nothing posted officially, Printsworks’ dress code is relatively relaxed compared to other top London clubs. Trainers are acceptable (which, in an industrial warehouse, you would hope so).
There’s a cloakroom and available lockers for a fee – £6 for a small locker, £9 for a larger locker + £10 refundable deposit for the key. However, something to note is that bags cannot exceed A4 size. No liquids are allowed, including perfume and aftershaves, so best to leave them at home.
Getting To Printworks
Located in Canada Water, it offers accessible transport links from the City, central London, and Canary Wharf.
Canada Water – Jubilee Line & London Overground: 5 minutes walking distance
Rotherhithe – London Overground: 10 minutes walking distance
Surrey Quays – London Overground: 10 minutes walking distance
London Bridge: 5 minutes via taxi or 20 minutes via London Underground
The following local buses all stop near the venue: 381, P12, 47, 188 & C10
Events from 2020 have been postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19. Upcoming shows include Defected Records, King of the Rollers, Sonny Fodera and more.
Some iconic music moments from Printworks:
Words : Elle Farrell-Kingsley
Images : Jake Davis (Hungry Visuals)