Honey & Venom
Near the end of last year I was approached by a colleague of mine to provide consultancy on some artwork. I am a designer by trade (graphic & web) so when I was asked about how they (the proprietors of this new venture) could get some physical artwork into digital formats, I was only too happy to explain all. Following on from my explanation my services were contracted and so the story unfolds.
Honey & Venom is self proclaimed as ‘another bar for drinking‘. It is a new venture from the people who brought Clapham the Holy Drinker; whose own label states ‘it’s a bar for drinking‘.
Located in Tooting, South West London; Honey & Venom is set up within the old compounds of what was once known as ‘Smoke’ – a bar & diner. Although once nominated for one of the ‘Best 10 Bars in the World’ by Guardian Unlimited (2007) and also shortlisted for the ‘Evening Standard Bar of The Year’ (2004), it would seem that after 6 or so years it was time for the smoke to clear. So when this venue came on the market Honey & Venom decided to move in. It was noticed though that some serious work would have to be done and so various structural renovations, as well as a total design re-vamp took place. You can see for yourself the stages of this on their Facebook page Building – November 2011
Over the space of a few months the place was transformed into what it is now, a very modern, funky and minimalistic drinking den. I say den because there is a large mounted hunting trophy, of what I believe is an antelope’s head, next to a fireplace within a natural looking bricked wall; bang in the middle of the main arena.
The interior houses various seating areas where the lighting changes depending on the ambiance and vibe. There are little coves to hide away for a bit of privacy as well as the larger open planned spaces with tables and flat screen TV. The bar is spacious enough to sit at and drink or you can retreat to the stool seating opposite and let others get in to order. There is also a vaster area of congregation upon your initial entrance. Honey & Venom also provides its drinkers with a covered outdoor area for smokers and when the weather is warmer, sun gazers. I was told there is still some more to do, but the place does not at all look unfinished.
Lauren and I arrived at the bar around 7.30pm and sat and relaxed having a drink and taking in the surroundings. The bar quickly filled up and each available nook and cranny was soon taken up with drinkers. The music was provided by CD decks behind the bar, where it seemed a few staff would take turns dropping tracks while mixing cocktails and pouring drinks.
After chatting to the proprietors over a complimentary glass of fizz, Lauren and I propped ourselves up at the bar. (I also took the opportunity to do some market research: www.billyfranks.co.uk jerky went down very well. Who knows it could be behind the bar one day too). Anyway back to the drinks and we took charge of one of the cocktail menus and decided to work our way through a few each. We started off with a Cosmopolitan for Lauren (being a New York girl it was the obvious choice) and I went for a Tokyo Iced Tea.
These first cocktails went down very well. As I mentioned, Lauren is a New Yorker and she even remarked that her Cosmopolitan was a good one! Praise for the Cosmo from a Cosmo girl so it must be good (although it was missing the customary flaming orange zest).
Next up, we took charge of a Cardamom and Pineapple Margarita and a Key Lime Pie Martini. Mine, the latter, was delicious and unusual. I really liked the brown sugar crystallised around the glass giving a sweet and crunchy touch to a boozy, vanilla and citric mix. Lauren, who loves a traditional Margareta, was not disappointed with this wildly exotic version. We sat, we drank and we enjoyed the friendly vibe floating around the place before our very eyes.
As we finished the cocktails Lauren noticed the Goldschlager. We both talked about how this has nostalgic relations to our lives of years gone by. So what else could we do before we headed home? Of course a couple of shots were promptly ordered and drank in the old time traditional way. Honey & Venom also has other drinks; in fact there is a large selection of specialist Ales, Lagers and Wheat on draft and bottle. There is also a good selection of spirits, wines and non-alcoholic beverages. Lauren and I however were at our limit for the evening. After a long week it was time to head home, happy and content with the new surroundings we had been lucky enough to be introduced to. Next time we are in Tooting we will definitely be back in.
The logo’s and artwork I mentioned in the start of this article were inspired by some street art seen on travels of Northern California and somewhere I personally love to visit, the bay area of San Francisco. The theme running, or should I say swimming, through the bar is that of a carp. The peaceful still water fish, that is traditional to any English coarse fisherman or angler, is silhouetted around the bar walls and also used as the ‘&’ in the Honey & Venom signs and logos. I’m glad to say this particular fish is not one that got away.
There are also various old school bottle designs that I vectorised and are ready for use on whatever Honey & Venom decide to use them for.
Will Yums = ★★★ 1/2