Three Eight Four, Brixton
The demise of the hipster, hailed in the Guardian last month, has not been much mourned in South London. Why aspire to the specious counter-culture of Shoreditch when you can enjoy the genuine multi-culture of Brixton? The market still bustles despite Tesco’s invasion. The Ritzy still glows. And drugs still flow on street corners from people who look like they need the money – not the armoured vehicles of Hackney dealers, who don’t.
Yet a graveyard for hipsters, South London has become. Here, bearded types are settling to die – or at least grow up – priced out of Hoxton or exhausted from cycling to and from Homerton. Where, oh where can these watered down wastrels find girlfriends to spur on the transition to maturity?
Enter Three Eight Four, a new cocktail bar with exposed brick walls, distressed unisex loos kitted out with self-consciously retro hand-dryers, presumably imported from East London. Small and local (the premises used to purvey horse meat before the supermarkets took that over), the place has a pulse that positions it perfectly as the scene of a first date with a one-time scenester.
Cocktails frothing with egg-white. Four in the Pink, an unholy Trinity of Campari, Amaretto and Cointreau, topped with a Love Heart to articulate the adoration that will consume you upon first sip. Three Eight Four‘s small plates of food ensure the drink will go your head while supplying something to chew on if the conversation’s found wanting. Sweet potato chips (£2.25) are at the top of their class. Salt and pepper squid with aioli (£6) is plentiful and perfect.
Go! Eat, drink, be merry and, if you’re still standing at 11pm, hit the Effra Social, opposite, for its Dance Hall or hop on a bus to Peckham or New Cross to crash an art student’s house party.
Negligible. An egregious rectangular plate briefly offended an otherwise faultless aesthetic.
4. How to deny the dying breath of a hipster past his prime?