Zigfrid Von Underbelly, 11 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6NU
The Carouser’s Mandy Morello heads to a bar on Hoxton Square built for punks, artists, musicians and people who believe “free your mind and your ass will follow”.
What makes a place more endearing is a great back story. The story of Zigfrid Von Underbelly sounds like an extremely fabricated poetic tale of a man who came from the Berlin Electronic music scene to curate a space in London for the Blitzkids. The man, Ziggy, was inspired by a visit from Sid Vicious and Phil Lynott in 1977 that brought with them a culture of art. Zigrid of Hoxton was born in 2003 in partnership with an Irish punk called Paul Daly. Fact or fiction, it’s still a nice story.
Over a decade later, it still is a popular venue for artistic types. As I walk around mismatched furniture, I notice that there are a lot of suits. Possibly less than an “All Bar One” crowd would bring but nonetheless, the financial overspill from nearby offices is the majority here. This doesn’t reflect the prices though, which are fair including a happy hour from 4pm to 7pm.
Ziggy Stardust posters and art line the walls and Bowie quotes decorate the outside patio area. Though the area is quite vast, I still end up squishing between people like a human car wash whilst the bouncer is barking at me to move along.
As I get bored with some financial warble with an aforementioned suit, I notice that the room is full of random objects such as a naked male statue that some pissed up tart is pretending to jerk off. Behind all the decor, sits the bar with a lengthy list of drinks and food. The bartender offers me a Jamaican Mule after I said I love rum. He whips it up in a matter of seconds and pours like cream down my neck.
I venture downstairs to the gig area which is transformed on the weekend to a basement club, shedding away all of upstairs’ sophistication and formality. During a band performance it’s intimate, now it seems as if it’s a step into a drunk Narnia full of whiskey and beer. I even jump on the speakers to rock out as the DJ hive fives me.
Whilst getting myself rum on the rocks, I watch as one of the suits strips away his tie and engages in an awkward dance-off with his friends. I realise finance can be fun too. Zigfrid is a perfect place to forget whatever mundane thing you were doing during the day and shake off that firm hold life seems to have on us.