A friend of mine is fond of saying, "who says Rick Astley is coming back, as far as I'm concerned he's never left!." And the same might be said for seventies and eighties soft rock - one of the more maligned genres of my not so short lifetime, seems not only to be back, but fully embraced by the hip and the beautiful of London town. And few bars are as hip or beautiful at the moment as The Queen of Hoxton located in the heart of Shoreditch. This place used to be Industry up to about 8 months ago - a place that never quite got the balance right between aspirational cool and City boy drinks venue. A case of one plus one not equaling two.
The Queen of Hoxton has gone down the 'too cool for school' path and is all the better for that.
The Northerner and I have been there several times and have been struck by how they have the balance just right in terms of urban self regard, and very friendly service, backed up by an eclectic mix of rock, hip hop, disco and dance. Something to cater for all ages - even mine.
The clientele are check shirted boys with skinny jeans and converse trainers, and girls in party dresses vintage of course - well those who aren't mirroring what they boys are wearing. Drinks are your classic cocktails, fashionable lagers (Mexican, Californian, Argentinean) and new world wines, which combined with the hip young things and edgy / retro music make for a fun and frivolous little bar. Apparently the place is celebrity central for those who are into that Hoxton / Shoreditch cool thing, however there has been noone of note in my recent, and frequent visits. Then again, who exactly am I right?
QOH is a great London bar, and one I plan to return to a lot. A friend of mine has commented recently that the bars I tend to big up on this blog tend to be the antithesis of what I personally am about. By which he meant, hip, fashionable, designer hangouts with an emphasis on youth. If you accept that (slightly insulting) synopsis then its true that QOH is all of the aforementioned. However because its relatively undiscovered as such, and I have enjoyed it every single time that I've been - something which not many of its competitors can claim I'm gone to give it my own little gong for Best Bar of 2009. As my man would say in hushed reverence to the mighty Rick Astley - good things come and go, but when greatness strikes, it should be recognised.
Happy New Year troopers.