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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen, Kentish Town

In the grim, grey, not-so-gay days of the 1970s, any unfortunate bent gent caught hanging out in the gents risked being felt up...only, not in the way he'd hoped for. For Lily Law, loitering lads were an all-too-easy cop. Nowadays, 'cottaging' (ask your grandpa') has been rendered redundant by Gaydar, Grindr and, if you like it rough, Recon. As for those caught short, after the old public conveniences became an inconvenient drain on councils' resources and shut, McDonalds finally had a purpose. Squatting every high street in the land, the ubiquitous Yankee burger chain is a blessing to bladders about to burst (Purchase, neither necessary nor advised). Lately, however, London's long-abandoned privvies are being snapped up by shrewd bar owners. Where once randy buggers' cocks cruised tail, cocktails are now being served. Bermondsey Arts; The Convenience in Homerton; WC at Clapham Common: the latest reconfigured loos to add to a growing list are in Kentish Town where William Borrell, owner of Vestal Vodka, has done a decent job (enough with the puny puns!) with his own khazi conversion. A mix of original Edwardian gubbins, jumble store jollies and paperbacks by the yard (something to read on the throne?) set the scene for a short list that will be regularly refreshed. Spend a penny (800 pennies, to be precise) on china teacup serve El Dorado 12 hot buttered rum; Portobello Road gin sour, Rhubarb and Custard, served in a Bird’s tin; or a Bulleit-based Gentlemen’s Old-Fashioned that bungs butterscotch and Werther’s Originals into the mix. Launched in December 2014, a steady trickle through Borrell's bogs' doors suggests this will be no flash in the pan. I arrived late, so I can't report whether they do 2-4-1 happy hour cocktails, known in such establishments as a BOGOF deal, natch.
2 Highgate Road NW5 1JY @ladyandgentsbar