Sunday, 25 July 2010

The Electricity Showrooms, Hoxton

Those of us who are old enough to remember getting drunk in the nineties (which happened to be my friends and me on this particular evening) remember a very different Electricity Showrooms.
This bar is what it says on the tin - it is located in a refurbished showroom at where folks once shopped for toasters, Hoovers and the like. However the venue that we old-timers remember was rather different. All black leather furnishings and those ridiculously uncomfortable cubed seats. Nowadays it’s been reworked and re-branded, resulting in it looking like, well...a pub. In fact the Showrooms takes you back to a different nineties look popularised by the now legendary Eagle of Farringdon with its distressed leather sofas, wooden tables, and mix and match of school chairs - modern retro if you like. And all the better for it.

The crowd, despite being only half a stumbling mile away from the City of London, is Shoreditch/Hoxton cool - if that’s not an oxymoron nowadays. The Showrooms pulls the requisite crowd of designers, artists, and entrepreneurs split equally amongst men and women that tick all the requisite boxes in the 'my bar is fashionable' survey. It also does a pretty good range of top quality beers, wines and spirits but, as was firmly emphasised to me by one trendy young thing serving drinks, no cocktails. And apparently it also does darts and billiards and serves pie and mash. It’s almost like it's trying to be liked.

Which it really doesn’t need to, as with a pumping music mix, laid back ambiance, and some beautiful 20s and 30s fittings, the place is great. The Electricity Showrooms also makes a foray into the cheesy nightclub space, if the music emanating from the downstairs bar was anything to go by.

So this bar has something for everyone, which is obvious when you see how busy the place gets. 'Retro is dead' according to a car ad that is currently running. Perhaps, but the Showrooms prove that if you do it well it never goes away, although I’m not in any hurry for those cubed seats to make a comeback.