Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town


There’s no denying the childhood fantasy with bars like The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town. Stumble across unlikely room, find hiding place, open wardrobe, discover other world.

Familiar? Yes, but swap wardrobe with SMEG fridge, and unlikely room with the Breakfast Club Cafe and there you have Narnia cocktail-shaken with retro design.

The speakeasy in London is spreading like glandular fever. There are the classics - Milk and Honey in Soho, and stunning additions the Nightjar, ECC and Lounge Bohemia who take The Cocktail to another level. But these are all hidden behind unmarked doors, often with bouncers brimming with menace and a cocky smile as you walk in.

But there’s no unmarked door here. Just a SMEG fridge you think stocks ham and cheese but actually stocks an underground bar, DJ and about 50 people. Walk through and like Doctor Who's tardis, or Narnia, you discover the world is bigger on the inside.

What also comes with this fantasy is that element of smugness, the whole - being in the know - that makes you a little annoying but helps your G&T taste a whole lot better.


I’m surprised bars such as this one aren’t more prolific - in New York, Please Don’t Tell has been around for years, a hot dog joint with a telephone box that’s the doorway to the drinking establishment.

And so I salute the Mayor of Scaredy Cat for bringing grown-up fantasy to London.

Here are the main reasons I love this place:


1. It’s not full of trendy kids who speak a different language to me.
2. They spun Neneh Cherry’s Buffalo Stance. Who does that any more?
3. Tasked with surprising us (three boys, four girls) with drinks, they embraced the challenge and made us seven different cocktails.
4. I like SMEG.

I don’t want to say too much for fear of ruining the fantasy, but for a place to drink that gives you more than the usual high-prices, bad chat and overcrowding, come here instead for an antidotal wink, a nod and a smugness you’re entitled to have.

To make a reservation visit the website

Thanks to Beth and Vivi for the photos

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town
SMEG fridge
The Breakfast Club
12-16 Artillery Lane
E1 7LS

3 comments:

Chris said...

I went there for the first time on Saturday as it happens! I love the fact that you're asked to exit via the toilets with your flies undone, so as not to arouse suspicion.

Also, dirty mind again, but "I love SMEG"? Helena!!

Katy Salter said...

A speakeasy and brunch place rolled into one? *dies and goes to booze/carb heaven*

Helena Lee said...

Isn't it brilliant? Yes, Chris, you may have a dirty mind. I just think of Red Dwarf. What does that say about us?

Katy - I know! Sin city! x

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