Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Effra Social: a new, old bar in Brixton

A new bar, the Effra Social, opened near me a couple of weeks ago, in Brixton, south London. I'd heard it was coming and been intrigued by how it was going to look, having seen the 'before' pictures on the place's website (which you can see below).

Image: Antic Bars


Image: Antic Bars
It's an old Conservative club, and the chain that bought it were tweeting hard in the run-up to the opening about how they were stripping the decor right back and planned to open it more or less as it originally looked.
Image: Lambeth Archives
Being a nostalgic lover of many things mid-to-late last century, I really like this approach to commercial refits – it's also (one hopes) way greener than ripping everything out and building new stuff or shipping in deliberately distressed but brand new furniture in a misguided attempt to create the same effect.

But the idea of a chain buying the place jarred: would they pull it off? Would it tweely tap into the term 'vintage' rather than embracing simple old 'secondhand'? Would it become a hipster magnet and alienate anyone who wouldn't look incongruous drinking in similar environs back in the day?

Well, you can see how the place looked on the opening night in my review on my brand new daily website for people who love south London, – it's called Below the River.

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