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Friday, 25 October 2013

Far Rockaway, Shoreditch


When I lived in New York,  reliant on the kindness of strangers, my Brooks Brothers shorts and Sebago deck shoes' days were spent at East Hampton or Fire Island Pines...the latter, as close as I ever got to Queens...as in the borough that's home to that big-in-the-1960s pleasure beach at Far Rockaway (the inspiration for this vast new Shoreditch bar/ diner on the site of the old Elbow Rooms) as opposed to the Greenwich Village People variety. Here, in eye-bleedingly busy Slush Puppy-tone colour-clash, it's the New York scene circa Basquiat, Keith Haring, Shannon's Let The Music Play, Flashdance and neon-lovin' fashion designer Stephen Sprouse that is referenced. Welcome to 1983 - complete with skateboard sculptures, album sleeve collages, a library of 4,000 Marvel comics and a DJ booth made from old ghetto blasters. To my been-there-got-the-t-shirt-and-framed-it eyes, it's all a bit ersatz - like that other 1983 NY phenomenon, Madonna - but although this is not, by some stretch, my idea of the coolest Shoreditch bar, I like its pose and swagger immensely. It's full-on, frenetic and fun (and not aimed at me, doh!) For the weekend TOWIEs that pour into the 'Ditch from London's equivalents of Far Rockaway (Southend/ Clacton/ Canvey Island), however, I'm guessing this big brash commercial brute, open until 2 am, will become the go-to DJ party shack, fuelled by lemon meringue pie, peanut butter cup, and purple haze cocktails, frozen margaritas (how very 1980s!) crack baby shooters and hot bitches (Babicka vodka, passion fruit, peppers, vanilla sugar and black pepper) at £7. In the diner - think post-disco Happy Days - pizza, franks, clubs, mac'n'cheese, meatball hero, wings, ribs, cheesecakes and brownies are the sort of eats avaialble 24/7 Stateside that remind me how, had I stayed in America for good, I'd be the size of Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island too by now.
97 - 113 Curtain Road EC2A 3BS 8305 3090 http://www.farrockaway.co.uk