Horatia isn't located in the nicest neck of the north London woods, about half way between Highbury & Islington and Holloway Road tube stations.
It's a party pub-club presided over by the people behind the notoriously hip and hedonistic Horse & Groom in Shoreditch. A few nautical Lord Nelsons have been retained from its former guise as a traditional corner pub, but the rest has been stripped back, painted matte black and given a bit of gothic glam.
The barren black hue is softened by real candelabras, low bordello-style lamps and low-slung Chesterfield sofas. Gilded frames hold portraits and plasma screens showing black-and-white flicks from yesteryear.
These are joined by some meaty looking, and indeed sounding, speakers that apparently came from The Cross club. The back of the venue boats a decent-sized dance-floor, stage and a DJ booth – off which some seriously ropey toilets can be found.
This is not a dining destination, more a place for drinking and dancing. Finger food such as pizza slices and Scotch eggs are sold, but there’s little else.
Cask ale connoisseurs will find no joy here with a litany of lacklustre lagers on offer and, it must be said, this is no place for a wine connoisseur either.
With a slick sound system and a 2am licence, it’s all about the music. The owners have a well justified reputation for sourcing some of London’s finest turntable talent, acts from up-and-coming record labels and emerging artists A midweek comedy night is also planned.
For a Saturday night, it was surprisingly sparse yet the crowd was a friendly, not overly cool, and mostly nudging 30. Overheard at the bar: ‘Never eat a Crunchie bar before bikram yoga.’