Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Drinks

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Drinks

Article excerpt

Byline: EDWARD SULLIVAN

Plan B, SW9

In terms of bar culture, London is often described as the 'coolest city on earth'. But such an analysis fails to recognise that within London we are deeply territorial - those who live in so-called 'happening' areas are blindly protective of their manor, others tend to redefine their neighbourhood boundaries, so places like Peckham suddenly become known as East Dulwich, Stockwell as North Clapham.

Another tactic in bigging-up our neighbourhoods is the use of the comparative. Hoxton is often proclaimed as the new Notting Hill (although, frankly, you can keep the old Notting Hill), and Borough as the new Smithfield. Yeah, right.

Brixton, on the other hand, has no such contemporaries. Its individuality is such that it should be granted its own city status. Its history is rich and colourful, and Brixton Road is recognised by friend and foe alike as the frontline in the battleground that Brixton once was. It is relatively peaceful these days, but its doggedly down-toearth and dodgy atmosphere will always be its trump card against gentrification.

Late-night licences don't seem to be a problem in Brixton, and there are few later (legitimate) licences than that at Plan B, the new kid on the Brixton block, on the site of a former Wimpy bar. Plan B sports a robust interior of concrete and brick which looks like it's been designed to be hosed down at the end of each day - or in Plan B's case, each morning.

This leads to a cold environment early in the evening - if I had been a designer showing these plans for a cocktail bar-cum-club to a client, I would have been sent back to come up with, erm, a 'plan B' - but it was early evening when I enjoyed this style-free den most.

Prior to the 9pm DJ kick-off, bartenders Stevie and James were creating their own atmosphere by playing a medley of Motown grooves that had us all wishing we had our Guinness Book Of Hit Singles to hand. The same bartenders wandered the room playing an endearing game of introducing themselves to their customers and trying to remember everyone's name, calling us by our first names every time they delivered drinks and food to the tables. …

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