Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Lounge Bohemia

Bohemia is either a 'historical region of the Czech Republic' or 'an area which contains a higher than usual proportion of unwashed people'. Lounges are supposedly cosy and relaxing. This is a darkened corridor hidden between the bleak kebab house; 'Corner Savoy', and an off-licence on the junction of
Great Eastern Street and Shoreditch High Street which seems like it could put off all but the dirtiest of bohemians. But do persevere...

Instead of being just some brothel, Lounge Bohemia will demonstrate to your guest that you truly are in touch with the rhythms of this city, and know all of its secluded recesses. Although of a similar ilk, it is also a step aside from the standard prohibition style bars that are edging into the mainstream. A no-standing and appointment only policy (which actually works) increases this mystique and your chances of impressing.

The only nod to the name, as you enter and descend the metallic staircase, is on the walls - plastered with newspapers. (‘Is that Czech?’ you say, wowing your date into thinking they’re hanging out with an intrepid polyglot). Once inside, the lounge part of the name becomes apparent. Any worries you
had on entry are washed away as you are shown to your little area, water is poured, welcoming nibbles are brought and you are left to discuss the fascinating menus revealed inside old hardback books. Unless you’re actually a polyglot I’m assuming your Czech language knowledge goes no further than recognising it, or at least pretending to after reading about it here. So keep quiet now. Keep to the pages with the menu on. No one likes a show off.

The room and its alcoves, which with a little less care could so easily have a hint of the serial killer’s dungeon about it, are the perfect arena for convincing someone that you know about the finer things in life. The lights are low, but not in a sinister 'I’m-going-to-get-you-in-the-dark' kind of way. The decor, despite being a cross between mid-century Eastern European brutalism and Matalan, is surprisingly aesthetically pleasing.

The drinks, and the small selection of gourmet canapés, really are some of the finer things in life. Cocktails range from subtly delicious, sublimely simple cocktails to extravagant and flamboyant pieces of performance art. Do remember to ask for a story if you get one of the special ‘Manipulative
Mixology’ cocktails.

The communal nature of some tables could be seen as a blessing or a curse. Your co-drinker could be put off by the cuddly couples in the seats next to you. Or, awkward looks may be sent your way when, suitably impressed by your savvy awareness of the London drinking scene, your date agrees to your proposition of 'making out' (I’d advise your letters of thanks to us to be anonymous just in case she looks on here for her next date venue only to discover you and make that next date with someone much cooler than yourself). So, judge or join in. Are you going to make someone else feel awkward, or feel awkward about someone else? Is your glass (or bible, test tube, or cigar case - all of which are used in Lounge Bohemia) half empty, or half full?

Either way, go to Lounge Bohemia and you’ll bask in the glory of others’ appreciation, wondering what Bohemia is actually like, and whether all the men there have such astonishing facial hair as the resident mixologist. All I know is, if Bohemia is anything like this I’m emigrating.


Lounge Bohemia
1E Great Eastern Street

By Appointment – 07720707000

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