GREAT EASTERN ADVENTURES aka Sarah Goes To Shoreditch.

The Strongroom is a) a bar and b) in Shoreditch. The Old Street/Shoreditch/Hoxton area is a part of London where my usual friendliness with the city declines. I’ve lived in London for years, and can count one the fingers of one hand the amount of times I’ve used Old Street tube station. I can’t tell you the location of any of the trendy young people’s bars round there, and when asked to name a pub in the area to meet in before going to the Strongroom last night, I had no idea. This is ME we’re talking about, I always have an idea! But last night, the Strongroom was host to the always marvellous Mind’s Construction album launch party. My feelings of trepidation had been soothed slightly by a trip to the outwardly horrid but inside nice Reliance, but on the walk to the Strongroom my nerviness increased. Will it be nine pounds for a gin and tonic? Will I be able to hear myself speak? Will I be grabbed at the door by a thirty stone bouncer and be forced into a MULLET and trousers that show off my PANTS?

HOW SURPRISING though! The venue has an initially unnerving two-and-a-half-levels structure, a seating area, stage and decks downstairs, a real actual Shoreditch looking bar upstairs, and the half-miniature-level of the toilets. The door to the ladies was wide open all night – I found this slightly disturbing, and so did a young chap who stumbled in – saw all the ladies “powdering their noses” and ran out in fear. Perhaps it was a feminist statement? It’s not a very good one, whatever happened to the good old days of Valerie Solanis? Kids these days. But I’m digressing.

At first, I let my bar fear get to me. I am quite a small person and as such find it HARD TO LOOK OVER TALL BARS, especially when they are crowded! I quickly try to scan the fridges for real actual BEER BOOZE, see none and play it safe with gin and lime. My next comrade-in-booze however finds the REAL reason why the Strongroom is fantastic: Anchor Steam Beer. Boy oh BOY this stuff is tasty! At first I am baffled by the fact that their lager selection is chosen from the USA (a colleague drank Brooklyn lager) and not Belgium (as I was previously informed), but I put aside my prejudices and I’m glad I did. A strong but not overpowering TIPPLE is the Anchor Steam, and I’ve discovered a nice folk tale behind it as well! It’s not cheap but considering general prices of non-cooking lager it’s not overly pricey either. I’d make another visit for the purposes of drinking Anchor Steam alone, but add to that a genuinely nice atmosphere and ambience and suddenly Shoreditch* seems like a treat.

A note to America – this is the GOOD STUFF. Can we kiss and make up, and pretend that Coors and Miller pish never happened? Please?

*NB I am so forming a band called “Suddenly Shoreditch”.