From burlesque to bugs, the House of Wolf assaults all senses. The Victorian-inspired three-story venue has double door frontage on Upper Street, Islington, and despite undoubtedly high rent – the founders have spared no expense on the details. They have recently celebrated their first birthday with a boozy affair (and the Mrs was lucky enough to attend).
Jennifer Anderson-Mann and Damian Frizzell opened two successful clubs in Brighton prior to the House of Wolf, while the third founder – Matt Fleming – was a bar manager at the Shoreditch House. This is their first collaboration and they describe it as a “multi-sensory experimental pleasure palace” with weekly offerings of burlesque and cabaret.
The Apothecary Bar is the imbibing heart of the house, set underneath the building’s original exposed beams, where bar manager Stephen Quainton is serving up his “theatrical” inspired menu. Suited in lab coats, the bartenders build swillable concoctions. And catering to those looking for more intimate gatherings, they’ve hidden a fainting room just off the bar.
Founder of the Experimental Food Society, Alexa Perrin, is responsible for bringing in their permanent series of monthly pop-up chef residencies (a first for the UK). Chefs such as Caroline Hobkinson, Blanch & Shock, Free Company & Dave Ahern and Jordan Webb have manned the kitchen for the punters in their Attic and Parlour dining rooms.
They’ve also played host to decadent events like the Disappearing Dining Club and Patron’s Naughty and Nice party.
Attention to detail: art
Hackney-based artist, Lauren Baker, was commissioned to create a piece for their music hall: a Swarovski-studded wolf head made up with 7,000 crystals.
“They asked me to put forward three different proposals and originally wanted me to do a mosaic fireplace, but I had this idea to do the wolf – and they loved it,” Baker says.
Attention to detail: cocktails
Quainton’s Forbidden Fruits cocktail is not one for delicate stomachs. The drink is built with Plymouth Navy Strength Gin, fresh peach purée and green chartreuse, then a homemade green tea sorbet ball is placed atop with a sprinkling of edible locusts to finish it off. Priced at £15.
Attention to detail: lighting
Understanding the importance of lighting in setting the right tone, the House of Wolf employed lighting sculptor Emerald Faerie to create original installations for three of their rooms (one chandelier was made using antique sherry glasses) – while the Apothecary Bar is kept alight with dozens of gas lamps.
Mr & Mrs Sip verdict
We highly recommend a trip to this time lapse of a bar … particularly on a Friday night when the music is all about nostalgia and fun. Despite appearances, this bar doesn’t take itself too seriously and it’s the perfect destination for a cheeky night out where you can have a bit of a boogie. Bring your dancing shoes and your partner and get ready for a late one.
Price: £8.50 (and up)
181 Upper Street, London N1 1RQ