Think ‘art’, and the word ‘bar’ doesn’t instantly spring to mind, but there is an increasing number of London venues that combine the two. The result? You can enjoy two of life’s pleasures together.
Restaurateur Mark Hix, whose venues include some of London’s most on-trend nightlife venues, such as Shoreditch-based Tramshed, Hixter City and Hixter Soho, is a fan of modern art. With his pals including many British artists, he often displays their work in his venues, such as Damien Hirst’s Cock And Bull, which shows dead animals in a tank of formaldehyde, and was the focal point of Tramshed.
Aside from his restaurants, Hix also has an award-winning cocktail bar. The most recent Mark’s Bar to open (there is one in the basement of every Hixter outpost) is at Hixter Bankside, located in an old metal-box factory near Borough Market.
Comfortable, stylish and dotted with head-turning works of contemporary art (Tracey Emin’s neon signs are a running theme), the bar is a chic combination of leather Chesterfield chairs, wall mirrors and atmospheric lighting. The walls are adorned with video ‘paintings’ of nudes by Gerry Fox. It often has cutting-edge work: Pauline Amos exhibited this year with This Human Beast, which involved a painting session where she lay naked in the artwork.
As for the drinks, there’s an artisan range of exceptional cocktails, such as Mark’s very own creation, the ‘notorious’ Hix Fix: morello cherries in Somerset apple eau de vie topped with Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2004.
Mark’s Bar, 16 Great Guildford St, SE1 0HS. T: 020 7921 9508. www.marksbar.co.uk