The Macbeth in Hoxton

There are a number of ways to escape the real world. At the hard core end of the scale there’s acid and mushrooms. At the tepid, watered-down end there are odd, one-éclair-too-many dreams and getting lost in a sci-fi fiction series. Right in the middle of the spectrum is the door leading inside The Macbeth, the most surreal and underrated pub in London.

Technically, calling it a ‘pub’ is a gross understatement. There is no disgusting flower-patterned carpet on the floor, and no old greasy men calling girls ‘love’, leering from the bar stools. There is, however, an abundance of top hats and the disco ball casts a leopard-spot pattern of light onto items of furniture and faces. An American-sounding girl in a lumberjack shirt serves up overpriced drinks.

It’s all as if the Sex Pistols had sex with the cast of Alice in Wonderland, and their descendants now gather here, in their own strange universe, apart from the boring dreariness of every other trendy London night club and every Leicester Square pub with 2-4-1 soggy meal offers.

The defining characteristic of The Macbeth is the music. The management (which, I can only assume, consists of a Roman emperor, a spider-unicorn hybrid and Debbie Harry) regularly invites quality and original acts to entertain the punters. Last week it was Rodeo Massacre, a garage-punk quintet from Sweden, who were there on a quick stop-over between Paris and Amsterdam. The sound check alone was worth the measly £3 entrance: one of the members, known only as The Wolf, is cited on their myspace page as providing ‘organ, guitar and howling vocals’.

While a Lenny-Kravitz/Mad-Hatter hybrid support act plays on a miniature drum kit, a skinny, dazed girl in a mini dress hazily swings about in the middle of the floor, ignoring various boys’ attempts to make her acquaintance. Meanwhile the toilets are teeming with ladies armed with Sharpie pens and mascara, ready to reveal another ground-breaking philosophical truth on the cubicle walls.

By day, The Macbeth may not be more riveting than a pair of socks, and cynics may want to draw comparisons to the pretentious ‘punk-rockiness’ of Camden, but in the right state of mind it is a golden nugget of bass and platinum blonde hair, acid washed in awesomeness.

The Macbeth
70 Hoxton Street
N1 6LP

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