NFT London Hoxton


The only constant in Hoxton is change: what passes as monthly rent now was a deposit on a pad a decade earlier. The vibe is special and the pulse of the area radiates out of Hoxton Square and its bedfellow Curtain Road. Shop at Hoxton Monster Supplies, check modern art at White Cube, drink at Electricity Showrooms or Zigfrid, and finish on the floor at Cargo.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow

Tord Boontje Shop
Back in the early noughties, a designer called Tord Boontje created a lampshade called Garland. It wasn't really a lampshade in the conventional sense more of a lamp "embellishment" as the laser cut sheet metal simply draped itself around the rather sad looking lone light bulb hanging from your ceiling. Back then, the item was sold as a limited edition at Habitat. Not only do I remember the price being a little prohibitive but more annoyingly, the damn things kept selling out. To be honest, the sight of the Garland lampshade, from student digs to middle class townhouses, became commonplace and I forgot about it. But apparently, true to his Dutch roots and in the name of democratic design, Tord decided that the Garland needed to be mass produced and not just a limited edition so they are now available in abundance and for a mere £20. I may be late to the party on this because it was only last autumn during Design Week that I discovered that there is a Tord Boontje SHOP. Yes! A whole shop full of whimsical, magical things. I could spend hours looking at the pretty ceramics and adorable jewellery designs here; the only problem is deciding what to buy.

Posted By:  Justine Forrest
Photo:  Justine Forrest

The Foundry
Is it a bar or is it an art gallery? The Foundry, part owned by one-time KLF member and art prankster, Bill Drummond, is a hybrid of the two. But this isn't a bar or gallery with gleaming white walls and neatly framed prints. This is a grubby graffiti-daubed hang-out like no other place I've ever seen. There is a small bar in one corner of the ground floor, some random seating (including some people sitting on crates), and then a cavernous basement with corridors and little rooms, some with bits of art, others seemingly abandoned, but then that may be an art statement too. It really is very hard to say in this place. The clientele leans towards the hipster, wannabe artist types, and yet the atmosphere is surprisingly laid back, unlike most hip Hoxton hangouts. There is a danger of sensory overload in here, with every wall offering something new to look out. Even the loos are covered in graffiti that makes for interesting reading.

Posted By:  Julia Dennison
Photo:  Julia Dennison

There's something disconcertingly random about this tapas joint-cum-art gallery that service fabulous cakes. When you enter the cafe, it’s as is if you've just walked in to your teenage brother's bedroom where he's slouched over his guitar, playing the beginning riff from Nirvana's Come As You Are over and over, which demands such a keen level of his attention that your presence is only acknowledged by a barely audible 'hey.' If you replace the guitar with an espresso machine, you pretty much have Macondo. It's lethargy at its most endearing, which is a rarity in this town. When you've settled into the chill of it all, you can enjoy delicious Latin/Spanish faire, like Huevos Rancheros and Spanish egg tortillas, followed by cheese cake that will leave you gasping for breath. All this, and pillows; lots and lots of pillows.

Posted By:  Daniel Kramb
Photo:  Courtesy of Lati Ri

Lati Ri
Sick and tired of Shoreditch cafes? You know, the ones where you and your hard-working laptop are surrounded by people who come chiefly to show off their new haircut, honey, and keep going on and on about how awesome last night was, shouting unnecessarily saucy details over electro tunes that are loud enough to make you want to dance (or die), but certainly not finish the job that's in front of you. Well, let me tell you about Lati Ri. This cute little cafe is hidden inside the lattice-like glass-and-concrete architecture of Rivington Place, a publicly-funded gallery dedicated to a culturally diverse run of exhibitions, screenings and installations. The wifi is free, the coffee strong, and there are plenty of plugs around (once your hard-working companion runs out of energy), as well as a frequently changing food menu (once you do). So there, no more excuses for not getting that work done. Sorry.

Posted By:  Trevor Baker
Photo:  Trevor Baker

Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen
Many of the best music venues in London are old cinemas but this one, on the site of the old Lux Cinema, isn't one of those grandiose Edwardian palaces. It's a dark place that, since the smoking ban, smells slightly of vomit. This means that the best place to be is out on the terrace at the front, with its prime location right on the very cool Hoxton Square. Inside it's much bigger than it looks with more rooms than seem possible from outside, and a very large music venue at the back. To fully appreciate the "kitchen" bit they'd probably have to do something about the smell but they're getting much better at putting decent bands on with reasonable sound.

Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Ed Reeve

I had heard good things about the Hew Locke show so I ambled down to Shoreditch one sunny afternoon looking for Rivington Place. Initially I spotted a place called Rivington Gallery. "A-ha! This must be it," I thought, although a mishmash of jewellery and ethnic looking scarves in the window did not look promising. I wandered around the gallery; some ceramics, bits and pieces here and there, a "hello!" called from a back room, nobody else about. I went outside and rang the bell for upstairs thinking perhaps there was a secret entrance. The same man who had greeted me earlier came to the door. "Yeees?" His face was like a Bacon self-portrait, glasses like jam-jars making his eyes swim and morph. "Oh sorry," I said, "I was looking for the Hew Locke show?" He looked past me. "Oh," he said, "It's a few doors down in that hideous building." I've passed Rivington Place many times and not paid it a second thought--except recently as they have a rather nice cafe there too--so anyway, remember, it's Iniva at Rivington Place.

Posted By:  Trevor Baker
Photo:  Trevor Baker

Favela Chic
It's quite an achievement to look cool and homely at the same time but Favela Chic manages. It looks like the Parisian/Brazilian founders phoned up a grandmother back home in Rio and got her to give them some advice on making it all cosy. This means warm wooden floors, flouncy Latin curtains and playful mobiles hanging from the ceiling like they're waiting for a giant Brazilian baby to arrive. This means its billing as "the coolest bar in London" isn't as off-putting as it might be. The mixture of Brazilian food and booze and all kinds of vaguely Latin-themed music makes for a great atmosphere even if the drinks are rather more than you'd pay in Rio.

Posted By:  Jenny Wight
Photo:  Jenny Wight

The Diner
According to recent scientific research, a good blueberry pancake can cause a religious-seeming ecstasy, rolling of the eyeballs and whoops of joy. Of course, this only happens if the pancakes in question are fine specimens; thick and fluffy, graced with golden brown swirls, scattered with the dark blue berries and drenched in sweet maple syrup. I've tasted them. I know. So, who do you blame if you come across a bad BBPC? It was a rainy Sunday and the Norwegian and I had been watching the hilarious Hoxton Grand Prix and doing a graffiti tour around Shoreditch and Brick Lane. Sore footed and hungry we were dazzled by the retro-neon of The Diner on Curtain Road. Ten minutes later in our cute booth, two anemic, damp pancakes looked up at me, each with three (and only three) sorry looking blueberries. Was it my fault? Had I mis-ordered? A breakfast dish at 4 in the afternoon--was that like ordering a korma in a Weatherspoons? The shakes were good, thick and tasty, and all about us seemed to be enjoying their burgers and fries. But these sad items, served with thin, vinegary maple syrup almost made me cry with disappointment. We left with bowed heads.

Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow

A Child of The Jago
I noticed a new shop on Great Eastern Street some weeks ago, mainly because the name--A Child of The Jago--was so deliciously otherworldly yet perfectly matched to this part of the city. I found time to visit it recently and was richly rewarded. The shop is a "project" of Joseph Corre. I say project because the progeny of Queen Viv and McLaren can afford to do a little experiment to see how the shop evolves and establishes itself without web presence or PR; subversion's is in his blood. This was explained to me by the Deborah Harry-esque Sarah Jane, the hospitable shopkeeper. She gestured to the downstairs, a room of "artefacts" accessed by rickety Dickensian stairs. It is a museum of wonder where history has no boundaries--Teddy Boy jackets from Corre's Terrorist label (designed by Barnzley) vye with original Luftwaffe jackets (this is what Bryan Ferry meant when he perhaps unwisely said of Nazi aesthetics "just amazing. Really beautiful"). There are old copies of Penguin Classics by Kafka and Tennessee Williams, Jimmy Cliff and Jerry Lee Lewis records, vintage barber switchblade knives and trinkets. Counter-culture with intelligence; go now before everyone else does.

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