Monday, December 26, 2011

The Three Crowns and Baby Bathhouse, 10th December

As Christmas was fast approaching, we thought it would be nice to go for a nice meal (well, nice but not too pricey) with some of our close friends. We had been considering the Princess of Shoreditch, at which I had eaten before, but our friend suggested the Three Crowns instead. I had already done some investigating of the Three Crowns when trying to find somewhere to go for my boyfriend's birthday. It is owned by the same people who own the Social in King's Cross which I quite like, and below there is a club which is on my list called The Drop. I had subsequently put the Three Crowns on my list so I was more than happy to go. I had said to Stephen that the next time we went out, we should go to Church Street in Stoke Newington, which is where this is. That's the downside of the place and why we'd decided against it for his birthday - for most people Stokey feels too far out (and not in the Sixties sense). But it's not too hard to get to from Mile End.

The pub is great. We only had one drink before sitting down to eat, but I really liked the feel of it. There was quite a young crowd (well, young but not teens) and even a couple of children, but I won't hold that against them. I could easily imagine coming back for a few drinks. The meal, on the other hand, was a little disappointing. The menu sounded pretty good, but it didn't really deliver on it's potential. It was perfectly edible, just nothing spectacular. I started with a salad consisting of some of my fabourite vegetables - courgettes, sweet potato, butternut squash and halloumi. That was great. And then I had the duck which came with mashed potato, some wilted greens (spinach) and a berry jus. The jus was pretty good actually - nice and sweet and a good amount. The mashed potato was weirdly dry (I didn't realise you could get mash wrong), and the duck was inconsistent - some bits were just right, others were overcooked. So, nothing to really turn your nose up at, but I wouldn't go back for the food. 

It was about 10 pm by the time we finished, and Stephen and I felt it was a bit early to be heading back, though our companions had further to travel than we did and so departed. I wanted to take advantage of the fact that we were on Church Street and see some of the other venues I had on my list. I would have been quite happy to just head downstairs to see what The Drop was like, but that night they were playing some cheesy 90s stuff or something which didn't interest me at all. Such a shame, because almost every other night of December it looked like that had had some pretty good acts on (people from Moshi Moshi for example).

So I thought we could try the Lion up the road, also owned by the same people. I had originally decided to go to the Baby Bathhouse but felt like, with just the two of us, pretty sober, maybe it wasn't the right night for it and we should just to go another pub for a nightcap. But when we got to the Lion, it looked like they were showing the football, which didn't appeal, and lo and behold, the Bathhouse was exactly opposite beckoning us to enter.

So enter we did. It wasn't what I was expecting. It was tiny!! Tiny!! We had a couple of cocktails and enjoyed the music. I think when we first ventured in, they were playing Aretha Franklin, and by the time we descended the stairs to the club part below, they had moved through the decades to Hot Chip. So, the music policy upstairs was pretty top notch - and had been the reason we wanted to go there. It made me regret not making it to the original Bathhouse before it shut, because they played similar tunes there, and wonder why they didn't keep it open. The baby version seemed popular enough to warrant a bigger venue.

As I said, there was a club part below and I had a look on the wall to see what kind of night it was. I believe they called it a Disco Goth night. Sounded perfect to me! So we went down with our second drink to see what was going on. It was pretty dead down there, but it was still only about 11:15 so for all I know it could have become a hotbed of dancing fervour later on. The music was certainly good and put us in the mood for staying out for a bigger night. I don't know what I imagined Disco Goth would be, but this was pretty atmospheric, dark, industrialised house music and I liked it. It really suited the ambience of the basement we were in, which was all darkness and decadence. The whole place, upstairs and down, reeks of opulence and Gothicness, a combination that speaks to me. But we weren't on for a big one that night and wanted to get the tube back so we left after only a short while. 

I'll definitely go back, and would do so frequently if Stoke Newington weren't just that tad bit too far.

Square Meal

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