177 Hoxton Street, N1 6PJ
It’s a boring, rainy and cold Thursday evening as I rush out after work to what I expect to be a relatively quick and easy evening with a friend. As I arrive at the Number 177 launch evening I am greeted by friendly faces and I’m handed a pretty tote bag containing stickers and tokens.
As I look around me, the amount of people I see overwhelms me. I didn’t realise it at first, but there must be around a hundred guests in here. As a good bar adventurer and survivalist, I walk past this jungle of people, tables and chairs and head to the bar. Located in the centre of the room, it lights up just like the treasure in an Indiana Jones movie. And just like in the movies, I need to fight against the final boss: the queue.
After ten minutes or so of queuing, one of the bartenders tells my friend and I that we are on the wrong side of the bar to order cocktails. Reluctantly, we start to queue again on the left side. While we wait, we decide to get some beers as we are dying of thirst at this point. I don’t see a great selection of draft beers, so I go for a Truman’s pale ale which is right in front of me. Even if I am not much of a beer drinker, I am impressed with how light and easy to drink it is. A very refreshing pale ale with a pleasant citrusy after taste.
Fifteen minutes later, I begin to wonder whether the name 177 stands for the number of minutes you have to wait to be served or for the number of gods I am swearing at in my head. The electro/house music in the background is not helping much either. I am tempted to just leave and go home.
And then the unexpected happens: one of the bar staff asks me what drinks I would like. With a genuine smile of relief on my face, I ask for a Garden Spirits; a strawberry and berry puree, gin, soda and prosecco drink. I take a sip to try it and it’s not really what I expected. I was hoping it would taste more of berries. Knowing that it would take another half an hour to get my next drink I strategically decide to order a second cocktail- the 177 ways of happiness. This cocktail contains rum, mango and lemon juice, ginger beer and what should have been a passion fruit topping ends up being a slice of lime. Besides the disappointing garnish, I enjoy this cocktail a lot more. I am not a massive fan of ginger beer so I was scared it would overpower the drink, but I was wrong. The sweetness of the mango and the zestiness of the lemon juice really worked with the rum and ginger beer.
Upon getting my drinks, I leave the main restaurant and bar area and head to the back room. I get myself a little cozy space to enjoy my drinks and finally start looking around properly. The place is quite nice- really artsy. There are wooden floors, zebra patterns everywhere and lots of frames hanging on the walls. There is also a mural and many artworks. They are changed regularly to keep the bar looking fresh and give opportunity to artists to expose their work.
I also keep seeing giant burgers at the tables and decide to try one myself. Due to the time that has passed by, I now have a wolf howling in my stomach. Finally getting the chance to order, I just ask for a veggie burger and a classic one, not knowing exactly what we were going to get.
Burgers come, once again after much waiting, stabbed with a knife to a cutting board. The “regular” one has an interesting black bun (which I am told was specifically picked out to make the burger different) and they both look delicious. The bar staff that serves us the food also explains that the kitchen serves a selection of vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free dishes alongside burgers and desserts. As a vegetarian myself, I only get to try one of the burgers, and mine is very tasty, considering there is no cheese – the love of my life. I am told by my friend that her burger is really nice and worth checking out too.
At this point the music has become more funky and more energetic, almost like an 70s disco club. Even though the music has improved, I am in no mood to stick around much longer so I head to the toilets downstairs before calling it a night. On my way there I bump into a girl wearing a big red velvet dress, decorated with boxes of presents, which I find a bit bizarre. I can only assume she works here. The downstairs area feels completely different. There is a massive mural and the doors are so tiny it reminds me of “Alice in Wonderland”. There is also a photo booth, which I obviously try before leaving.
I have to say the place seems really nice overall. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to enjoy it as much I would have liked due to how busy it was. I think the event was a bit underestimated and clearly short-staffed. Although not a typical Carouser joint, the bar has potential and everyone seems friendly so I would perhaps recommend going on a regular night.