Barrio North

2 02 2011

Double measures

A month off work gives me the opportunity to step things up a gear on the Essex Road project. Hopefully the renewed energy begins here at Barrio North, 45 Essex Road.

So another bar in quick succession but Barrio North seems to be a bit more vibrant than Sequence. It’s open more often but regardless of that it gives the impression of being just a bit cooler. It’s one of two bars, the other is Barrio Central in Soho. This was the first one set up though.

Inside it’s a kind of Central American chic. Colours, tiles, flags, the odd left wing revolutionary here and there. I went in just after opening time (17:00) and met two guys, a barman and Matthew the manager. Both warm and friendly from the off, they looked and sounded like they were perfectly cast, even down to the de-riguer antipodean accent.

As we chatted I remembered I’d been in here before it became Barrio North. It was a fairly trendy pub called The Warwick that had a ludicrously awkward layout. It was just one long corridor next to the bar that meant you were moving to avoid people consistently. I’d met some friends there for a birthday party. It’s funny thinking back to a time when people I now consider very close friends were just people I knew and/or had met recently. I like that sense of a place holding some kind of collective or distributed memory.

Matthew mentioned that they used several of the local businesses for various bits and pieces, extending down to the hardware shop. (Down to Hackney for him). He definitely felt that there was a good local crowd which isn’t something you’d necessarily expect from a bar like this in a place like this. I wonder if the Soho version is quite as friendly.

The man on the left is a clear foot taller

On that subject I mentioned that I’d heard the people at Wenlock and Essex weren’t all that popular but Matthew expressed surprise as, according to him that and The Diner are owned by the same people. Did somebody miss the memo? He didn’t share the same feeling but gave the impression that there wasn’t really anyone he didn’t get on with nor anything that really phased him. Reminded me of the Queenslanders on the news who’d lost their homes and businesses in the floods just accepting it all as part of the deal. Having seen the drama we made out of a couple of inches of snow here it seemed like the right way to go.

I tried to pay for a coke but was waved away. I left with the pair joking with each other and encouraging me to come back for a drink soon.

  • Business has been there since – 2007
  • Guaranteed cumulative years in business – 44.5
  • Previous business was – The Warwick
  • Five people work there
  • Interviewee arrives there on foot
  • I bought a coke for £1.50 but was offered it free
  • Cumulative spend – £25.75

Coke, £1.50 but free





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