Hackney Wick: it’s where to take your friends who think London has nothing on Berlin.
It (the Wick, not the Pearl) smells of sawdust, iron-work and yeast (thanks, MR BAGELS).
Europe’s highest concentration of ateliers* manufacture this scentscape as well as their their music/ theatre/ film/ dance/ arts/ horticulture/ architecture/ culinary projects. Its not immediately obvious though, that this tiny corner of the city is such a cultural powerhouse.
You are unlikely to stumble across something charming (except perhaps a spot of arresting street art) as you potter along White Post Lane. Arm yourself first, with a bit of internet research: as much of interest is behind a corrugated iron gate, in the basement of a shabby brick building or inexplicably otherwise inaccessible.
Alternatively, just follow someone wearing overalls and/or an odd looking hat, they are probably a local.
They might lead you to a chilled cafe/bar: accented with re-loved formica, found ceramics and a spray or two of wild flowers.
If the welcome is warm, and the food honest, you’ve probably found The Pearl.
Certainly prior to 2011, the Hackney Pearl could not have relied upon the passing trade of central London to keep afloat – and – with repeat custom in mind – reliably delivers the main ingredients for a gentle, unhurried evening passed with friends.
The staff were happy for me to take my coffee to the wall/bench across the street for my drawing. I was pretty pleased with the yellow ‘underdrawing’ and feel I’ve somewhat ruined it with some heavy handed colour work. However – prior to this it was nigh on uncapturable with my smartphone camera.
I think I’m staying quite ‘tight’ with my drawings and might have to shake up the medium or technique next week! I’m told left (or non-dominant) handed is very good for loosing up a bit!?
* this oft quoted soundbite is, now that I try, quite difficult to substantiate – while remaining easy to believe.