Sophie Parkin’s Arty Hangouts – 10 places to find Artists/writers hanging out. Real People not wannabe posers!
Sophie Parkin was born an artist in 1961, London, and will die one. By heart she is a poet, by brain, a surrealist. She also owns Vout-O-Reenees, the last bastion of an Arts Club in London, (others having been overtaken by economic necessities!). She has lectured all over the country from schools universities and the BBC, and written for everyone from the British Library to The Daily Mail, when she had to pay the rent, but enjoys nothing more than great conversation, a fabulous wine and a good plate of cheese. She rides a bicycle and likes to read.
Vout-O-Reenees is my club. The only place I’d drink a real Espresso Martini or Daquiri. The Beijing Dumplings the finest in London Town. Artists, poets, performance artists, composers, filmmakers are naturally attracted. The events we put on are the best fun reflecting our membership, we even have ballet as well as vintage discos available to the public (look on our website and give me a call or email) Probably about 10 events a month open to the public where you might have to pay something in advance… But when I’m not at www.Vout-O-Reenees.com you’ll find me at….
The French House frenchhousesoho.com – a pub that’s been in Soho since pre first world war. Its where Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud used to drink before spending their evenings in the The Colony Room(sadly no longer there but I wrote the 60 year history of Bohemian Soho and the Colony so you read the stories). Soho is now a tourist place but occasionally you can see a few artists and writers propping up The French House Bar drinking a small French beer(no pints here!) or Pernod, plus the photographs, paintings and atmosphere are great.
Pellicci, epellicci.com Bethnal Green Rd East London.8am-4pm This is a fantastic Italian old school cafe still run by the same family for 100 years. They are unfailingly warm to strangers and regulars alike. Lots of artists, dj’s, musicians writers and directors and Italians, hang out but it gets really busy on Saturdays queues down the road.
Hunky Dory -http://hunkydoryvintage.com/ Brick Lane Is a wonderful shop near to my club in the East. Its where I go for special hats, dresses and all things vintage. The guys and gals are vintage cuties(circa 1952) who run the place, the 2 Ian’s and Emily and everything is of the highest quality, yet there are still plenty of bargains. Menswear esp. good. plus you can pop opposite for a Salt beef Beigel from the bakery, mind the cheesecake; vintage addictive and cheap artist fare.
Art Galleries are GREAT and mostly free in London, so good it’s hard to pick one but my favourites are The, National Portrait Gallery upstairs, The National Gallery, Sir John Soane’s, The Courtauld at Somerset House. The Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood , Packaging Museum www.museumofbrands.com/ great for stirring up memories as a writer but niche. And both Tates, Briton and Modern are brilliant. At all, you’ll find artists. ps they don’t always wear berets! The Damian Hirst Museum www.newportstreetgallery.com is where more artists go to than punters at openings.It has a swish restaurant too and a great Gavin Turk show currently but isnt near anywhere!.
For Books and history there’s nothing like The British Library and I always bump into people in the cafes and reading rooms, but you’ll always find me for new art books or novels, its the writers bookshop Hatchards of Piccadilly (along with Frank Auerbach, it’s old school) or The second hand bookshops of Charing Cross Road up the road. There’s only a couple left and I’m not telling you my favourite for first editions! http://www.anyamountofbooks.com/
The movies BFIhttps://whatson.bfi.org.uk/Online/ on the Southbank,outside on weekends also has a great stall of second hand books great for plays/film books. But inside the best of classic old movies as well as The Mediatech where you can watch short old films and tv , you have to book but its where I did loads of research for my book on Soho.
The Institute of Light Hackney, https://www.the-institute-of-light.com Movies, books, food and bar. Good mix of people all writers artists Musicians and a comfy little cinema playing off beat films. A great place to hang on Sundays.
The B Side.open weekends 10.30-6 The tea Rooms-148 Brick Lane E1 6RU We have record players at our club so I always like looking out for special stuff. Somebody who’ll do the hard work for you is Colin(aka DJ KINGPIN!). A record lovers paradise.
Dinner I love a proper dress up restaurant for occasions that aren’t about Michellin Stars(who cares about them anyway?) for a dinner date. Service is as much about dinner as the food. The best service is always at The Wolsley or its sister restaurant Brasserie Zedel. https://www.brasseriezedel.com/ (insiders tip if you go wearing a fabulous hat and outfit they’ll give you a complimentary glass of Champagne, well they do me!). They consistently attract artists, writers, actors because of the decor , (next best thing when you can’t get to Paris), atmosphere and Jeremy and Chris who own it.
Cornellisens https://www.cornelissen.com/ for art material. probably the best and most knowledgeable art shop in the world.
Its like an artist’s sweet shop.