Friday, 28 June 2013
100 Hoxton (and The Hoxton White Horse - Now Closed. See postscript), Hoxton
The excellent Happiness Forgets notwithstanding, I'm not much drawn to drinking around Hoxton Square these days, even less so IN Hoxton Square itself, a depressing urban patch that reminds me of Manhattan's Thompson Square before the East Village style mafia sanitised the old slum. A few hundred yards to the North of once-hot Hokky Square, lies Hoxton Market whose shabby East End streets, sprinkled with edgy looking flakes, remind me of my old haunt, Golborne Road off Portobello back before the Stella McCartney classes even knew where W10 was. The way gentrification is eating up grimier postcodes, and with recession-defying property prices spiralling, how long before anybody that isn't a hedge fund f***wit or an overpaid Town Hall pen-pusher is pushed out, and Hull becomes London's latest hip hood? In the meantime, facing one another across the street, there's Hoxton White Horse and 100 Hoxton to enjoy. The old N1 nag that was Hoxton White Horse no longer looks destined for the knacker’s yard after some timely TLC. In fact, it's now looking every inch a winner, its gin jockeys cuter than My Little Pony. Pile in for wine at £20 and under, draught Meantime, a jukebox jam-packed with retro joy, Pieminster pies, board games and fun events such as speed listening (basically, speed dating with iPods and free cake) in the Horse’s soulful bluesy new whisky and rum bar downstairs, a sweet shoebox that comes on like a nightclub in a Northern mining town around circa Red Rum’s first Grand National win. As I'm on the wagon, my bar bill is as low as any I've had since Disraeli's wake - 55p for a soda and lime. Imagine! 100 Hoxton, the new colt on the block, is also worth a gamble. A baby sister to Zilouf’s on Upper Street, here’s a funky-as-you-like, no-frills, Bauhaus-inspired cocktail bar with a nice line in East-West grub. Go for mango and passionfruit caipiroska and They Came from the East (a Japanese whisky, and Chartreuse martini). Grub includes Thai cod cakes, Korean-style pan-fried duck and sago pud with fresh fruit. Japanese martinis? Korean style pan-fried duck? If they get wind of it, expect Space NK, Carluccio's and another ruddy branch of All Saints to open before you can finish your espresso.