Shunt is now primarily an arts based venue rather than a bar / club. It has an ever changing program so it is advisable to check out what’s on before venturing down there, however having said that the programming is so widely varied that you are likely to find something of interest on any given night.
The venue itself is HUGE, comprising a number of high ceilinged interlinked arches underneath London Bridge Station. In fact the entrance to the premises is actually inside London Bridge Station vaults (so it’s very easy to get to!) As with ALL arch venues, expect to smell damp throughout. Shunt also suffers from moss adorned ‘sweating’ walls!
The first time you visit the place it is quite easy to get lost in - One problem that needs rectifying is that areas that do not have an installation or performance going on in them don’t have barriers separating them from the areas of the venue that are in use – so if you wonder around and are slightly inebriated you could easily find yourself taking a wrong turn into a dark arch!
The venue is EXCEPTIONALLY ruff and ready, but that adds to its charm. Relaxing while having a candlelit drink amongst an abundance of creativity in a venue that reeks of Dickensian London is quite unique! It’s not a modernist, chic venue, and those who criticise it because of this are missing the point somewhat. The place has atmosphere in abundance.
The staff are exceptionally friendly too, from those on the door, to the bar staff, to the management. It’s not the sort of place I'd spend all night in as it falls somewhere between being a bar in its own right, a club, an arts venue and a theatre, but it is great place to spend a few hours in.
Every time I’ve gone there there’s been something interesting going on, whether it’s to my particular taste or not, and I think it’s a great venue to ‘dip into’ now and again.
EDIT - My bad, SHUNT
London Bridge Vaults HAS now shut, although SHUNT Theatre in Bermondsey Street is still going strong. SHUNT London Bridge had been rumoured to close last year, but was still open until my last visit early this year - but it is now definitely shut. Sorry all!