Getting boozy with Boba Fett at a secret speakeasy in East London
I’ve seen all the films. I’ve read the comics and played the video games. I’ve bought the action figures, both original and lego versions. I’ve sat next to a very tired looking Ian Beale off Eastenders on the Star Tours ride at DisneyWorld. I welled up a little when Han said ‘Chewie we’re Home’. I even auditioned for the new film, albeit in the form of a comedy song for JJ Abrams (no callback as of yet). So when Secret Nightclub set up their own Star Wars themed Cantina venue at a hidden East London location, I had images running through my mind of weird coloured drinks, that world cup adidas ad with daft punk and Noel Gallagher and, of course, that song! I prayed it wouldn’t disappoint.
After googling the coordinates given, I headed out with face covered to avoid being recognised as a rebel spy. We had been told to look out for ‘a small shadowy stranger’ and sure enough, down a side alley, a Jawa acting as a bouncer appeared from nowhere to frisk us, tickle us and guide us towards the password-only entrance point. The group in front of us have come in full cosplay, couple of Leias, generic alien lifeforms and one very convincing Boba Fett who refuses to break character all evening. Quickly, all communication devices are removed and placed into heat-sealed bags as we are released into the building to explore.
To give too much detail away about what’s inside would spoil the fun. But, safe to say, there was a full working cantina complete with cocktails named ‘Bounty Hunter’, ‘Storm Cooler’ and ‘Jawa Juice’ (a product that the delightfully rude barman informed me was out of stock while they crushed more Jawas in the back). There are jedis painting your face and teaching you dance moves involving a lot of legs in the air whilst the dj plays everything from Roots Manuva to The Aristocats. There are live bands, the Afrobeat outfit Yabba Funk providing some energetic entertainment. There are secret rooms leading to hidden marketplaces full of merch that I happily threw money at. There are rebel meetings in a fully decked out office, our leader training us in quick reflexes and conducting a highly competitive game of ‘Commander Says’. There are fully in character fist fights on the dancefloor, a nonsensical card game called Zool, paper messages flying back and forth above your head, a moroccan-esque tea tent and, yes, Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes playing that song.
We stumble out into the night several hours later, punchdrunk and grinning like idiots, grown men reduced to kids again through a fully immersive experience, surrounded by fans of all ages with a similar expression of disbelief and joy. If you fancy making your own trip to Tatooine, act fast before tickets sell out or the Empire shuts it down.