Words by Greg Hall. Images by Julian Dodd
If Al Gore were to jump off the tube at Mornington Crescent looking for a good time
in his glad rags, it would probably warm the cockles of his heart to know he can schmooze on the recycled roof terrace at KOKO, one of London’s prime hotspots.
In fact, Mr. Gore would find the launch of the Lounge Bar’s outdoor area to be a convenient truth if he fancies some fresh air to go with his drink. As a general idea; the creation of the patio area makes some welcome room from the crowded, dimly lit, yet lavish lounge. However the environmental twist has made this move much more benevolent. The use of regenerated rubber tiling (made from car and truck tyres) has without doubt never been placed in such a funky setting. I’m also sure that it had never been adorned with such a diverse display of flamboyant footwear as it was the other Friday night.
KOKO doesn’t stand alone in having eco-aware policies. Numerous venues in London are following this fashion. Some more progressively than others; Surya has its own solar and wind turbine system and is literally powered by the dancing feet of clubbers. The phrase ‘dance till you drop’ has never had such monumental ramifications.
But getting back to KOKO; in what has become a splendid British summer, this inaugural al fresco event held at altitude was tinged with opulent imagery as a balmy night drew in over the capital. The born again balcony gleamed under the memorable KOKO sign, as the prominent haze of purple lighting shimmered on the wondrous white walls, bouncing down on us rooftop revellers while we overlooked the ever constant ebb and flow of the lumbering urban landscape. So yeah, it was a pretty decent place to have a beer.
On an aesthetically understated, sleek veranda, the atmospherics were average. However, things livened up in the adjacent Lounge Bar as the handball hoopla and penalty shootout drama of the World Cup Quarter final between Ghana and Uruguay broke out like an intense rash.
Passers by would have heard the groans of oohs and ahhs in harmonious unison from the top of KOKO as Africa’s popular Black Stars were blighted by the Gods of football. Their spot kick demise to the South Americans was a process of elimination that we English are too well accustomed.
It may not have been as riveting as the gig nights that KOKO is well known for, but it’s hard not to have fun in this luxurious labyrinth. I think a shout out has to go out to my friend Luke’s tattoos. Emblazoned across his forearms in decadent Roman lettering and numerals are his name and date of birth, and no he doesn’t have amnesia. They always seem to attract attention from randoms. I have dubbed these beauties; ‘The ICE BREAKERS’. At KOKO, just like on many night outs, they encouraged banter filled small talk which always tends to be fruitful. On this occasion the fruits bared were shots on the house and an invite to a private party upstairs. All in all this typifies the sort of enjoyment one can have in KOKO, as it attracts a laidback, upbeat youthful crowd.
We should all coco that the environment is a pressing prevalent issue. KOKO certainly knows it, though the primary aim for them is to provide an entertaining evening out.