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Sunday, 28 February 2010

Queen of Hoxton, Shoreditch; London Fields, Dalston

At The Queen Of Hoxton - a new gaff named after Victorian theatrical luminary Sara Lane, as opposed to some mincing Martha from The Joiners Arms - the soundtrack seems familiar. The Doobie Brothers; Toto and Foreigner bring back memories of 8 track cassettes in Dad’s Malibu mango-tone Ford Capri. Wearing their parents’ ‘80s wardrobe malfunctions, a young crowd jiggles enthusiastically to ‘yacht rock’- a reference to a 2005 American Web-based mockumentary, apparently, it’s a term I associate with the unsteady gait symptomatic of necking too much Tanqueray on floating gin palaces moored off Cannes. Leftfield DJs, art installations, fringe theatre, experimental film, burlesque and Cock-er-nee sing-songs around the old joanna are promised at this Shoreditch late, where local creatives are invited to ‘kick back, dance and drink’ on low-slung, slouchy, couch-y things. Yacht rockers should order Tequila Sunrise - the retro classic cocktail synonymous with West Coast stoners greeting another LA dawn, high in the Hollywood Hills, as The Eagles waft out of a hot tub’s sound system. Meanwhile, E8 gastro, The Cat & Mutton, has a new, less foodie-focussed sibling, The London Fields - formerly the midden that put the night into Mare Street. Rescuing doomed pubs is admirable, but leaden grey paint, a twee faux library recess, blaring TV screens and Vera Drake’s old furniture, while not necessarily a stylistic abortion, doesn’t float my boat. Nor does lunch: A Sindy-sized lamb burger on tough-as-boots flatbread (£8.50 ? sans chips) disappoints - not so, perky wines from £14.50 and a canny selection of bottled beers. Staff are upbeat and my mood improves as drainpipe-jeaned interestings pile in to what already feels like a Hackney hit.

The Queen Of Hoxton, 1 Curtain Rd EC2 7422 0958

The London Fields, 137 Mare St E8 7254 5599