By Christian Rose-Day.
I like cool. I like music. I like nudity. I like tattoos. I like beer. And I like fire. I am, more or less, the simplest of chaps. Usually, the bars and clubs of Shoredtich aren’t what I would call ‘decadent’. Nor are they particularly glamourous. They can be sexy, in their own way, but mostly they’re grubby, arty, and filled with trendy, tattooed, beer-swigging, music lovers who sometimes go for the ‘semi nude’ look. But, like I say, they’re usually not very swanky.
McQueen’s bar, restaurant and nightclub on Tabernacle Street, however, has changed all that for Shoreditch. This shrine to the brio of Steve McQueen has been plying its exposed brickwork, shiny surfaces and chocolate leather for long enough to cause a stir amongst the media-heavy sect of Shoreditch. It’s now home to primped and well groomed bravados who’ve become restless with the trip south to Aquum or west to The Valmont Club.
But cocktails and posturing are never quite enough for Shoreditch. Much like me, Shoreditch needs music, nudity, and fire. And now it has it. Like clockwork, every Wednesday night. McQueen’s calls it The Secret Rendezvous and if that name sounds slightly risqué, that’s because it is.
I was fortunate enough to attend the inaugural Secret Rendezvous and, as promised, an array of exciting acts from the realms of cabaret, music and burlesque were provided free of charge. A temporary mini stage had been erected in the centre of the bar and the first act to own it was an elegant lounge singer who’d put Amy Winehouse to shame (if she needs shaming).
During a brief conversation about the difference between the Canon G10 and G11 cameras with DJ Normski (who later played in the nightclub downstairs), we were interrupted by Lucy Cork who, despite wearing little of almost of nothing, was able to hide some kind of adhesive on her personage for her pole dancing demonstration. Either that, or she had incredibly strength and balance to perform several minutes of beguiling and physics-defying athleticism without even breaking a sweat. Her pole-grasping vertical splits was especially eye-opening.
And then things got even sexier.
Jonny Grimwade, the pyrotechnic peacock, was an Adonis in safety goggles, and breached several health & safety rules with his fire spinning and metal-grinding.
Sapphire de Vine, the sexiest lollipop lady on the face of the Earth, tap-danced her bodice clean off, and then did something with two fireballs that proved she’d ignored previous advice when warned “Not to try this one at home”.
My favourite act of the evening, however, was more graceful and less showy than the others. But by God she was utterly engaging. Her name was Leah Debrincat (her at the very top of this blog) and she looked as though she should’ve auditioned for a part in Kill Bill. She was heavily tattooed and heavily armed. Wielding two sabres, she fused exotic belly dancing with acrobatic sword(wo)manship and modern dance. After a couple of pints of £4.50 Blue Moon, I’d decided that this was the woman I wanted to stare at the most that night. And mark my words, there were plenty of gorgeous ladies there to stare at.
Anyone who is looking to spice up a Wednesday evening should look no further than McQueen’s. Because if this isn’t sexy, I don’t know what is.
Looking for more burlesque action in London, check out the Top 10 Best Bars & Clubs for Burlesque.
Photos provided by Julian Dodd. Leah Debrincat photo courtesy of Nathan Atia.