© Jonathan Perugia
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Thu Jun 19 2008
Three years after 'Nathan Barley' satirised their daftest excesses, five years after The Guardian sounded their death knell in a piece headlined ‘Where have all the cool people gone?' and nine years after Neil Boorman’s Shoreditch Twat fanzine set them on the road to ridicule, Shoreditch and Hoxton remain in uneasy flux. The long-predicted artistic and cultural exodus hasn’t quite happened; from the avowedly mainstream T-Bar to the attractively louche Dreambagsjaguarshoes, the area retains some appealing hangouts. But every characterful success story has been countered by a feeble, bandwagon-jumping competitor: take, please, the risible Zigfrid on Hoxton Square, or the forlorn Spread Eagle, more popular and characterful when it welcomed not hipsters but strippers.
The latest entrepreneur to try to crack this muddled market is Gerry Calabrese, son of smooth-talking cocktail guru Salvatore Calabrese and an experienced mixologist in his own right. Calabrese Jnr’s previous venture was Meet, which boasted design-school decor, fine cocktails, an approachable food menu, regular DJs and a fashion-friendly location primed for walk-up traffic (next to Fabric on Smithfield Market). It didn’t last, so he’s brought the formula to the split-level Curtain Road premises that housed the late, unlamented Pool.
The bar is backed by a gimmicky pair of Natural History Museum-style dioramas and a side wall is dominated by the crumpled remains of an old car, but clutter is otherwise minimal and the colour scheme is modishly unfussy (black seats, white walls, red accents). Downstairs offers a small dancefloor and a lot of mirrors, lending the illusion of depth to a shallow room. When we visited, a DJ-mixed blend of ’60s pop and Pitchfork indie boomed through the building, and we mean boomed: the acoustics aren’t built
So far, so what? but the cocktails – which emphasise seasonal ingredients – do more to grab the attention. We tried four, three of them exceptional: an East End Punch, sort of a modified kir royale, Hobson’s Choice, essentially black forest gateau in a martini glass and an immaculate whiskey sour. This last one was cheekily ordered off-menu and didn’t appear on the bill. When we pointed this out, the bartender told us there was no button on the till for it and refused to charge us. Nice chap.
The sophistication of the drinks stands in stark and presumably deliberate contrast to the food: gauchely described as ‘East End Grub’, it’s poshed-up gastropub cooking served in bijou portions. A reassuringly short lunch menu is supplemented by bar food, much of it very decent. The drab beef skewers didn’t impress, but we enjoyed a daisy-fresh portion of pan-fried plaice and chips, and a flavourful rabbit-and-carrot pie with velvety mash.
The place is still settling into its surroundings. But for all its impressive aspects, which included excellent service, we were left wondering whether this ambitious and very new Hoxton recipe of unusual ingredients (frenetic DJ bar, upscale cocktail lounge, slick gastropub) will hang together under one roof. There’s a sense that the Hoxton Pony is trying to be all things to all people, when finding a single niche might have been a better bet. Still, it’s in good company: right now, you could say the same about the neighbourhood itself.
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Average User Rating
4.2 / 5
- 5 star:13
- 4 star:5
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:3
I've been once and I won't be going again. Night was going swimmingly until suddenly at around 11pm 1 barman decided to increase the price of a Jagerbomb (sorry I'm young) to £9.50 - mass hysteria then ensued as we refused to pay what was a blatant attempt at over charging, having bought the same drink 10 minutes before for at a reduced amount.
Doorman very aggressive , though I must add - not physical, nonetheless very intimidating.
I went to The Hoxton Pony for the first time and I have to say I absolutely loved it. Cocktails were outstanding, food really nice especially to share with friends and the general atmosphere was relaxed and very cool. I would highly recommend and will be returning again!
we had a birthday party on Saturday, the service was great and the crowd was pretty cool and friendly, all of us had an amazing time. we had the tea party with cupcakes (more cupcakes guys, give us more) that were so delicious.. finished the night off with far too many cocktails and a well deserved headache in the morning. Going back on 12th October for another birthday celebration. Love this place!
I was there on Friday night just by chance, it was raining down heavily and we decided to pop in for a couple drinks until the rain died down a little. I must say I was quite impressed by the cocktails that we lapped up over a 3 hour period.Luckily we able to book a table and to be fair the service was pretty good also. its a shame it finished at 2am as we were enjoying the music and vibe. The time went so fast, before we knew it it was time to go home.
I wish there was a way to give a negative star rating to this place. I was there Saturday night and will not be returning. First off, they charge £10 in after 9pm on a Saturday night. :O ! Secondly they stop serving draught at 9pm so you have to either buy their ridiculously expensive spirits/cocktails or their small selection of horrible bottled beers. And thirdly, the staff couldn't be any slower or ruder. One of the barmen threatened to kick me out as he had heard my order wrong and I refused to pay for what he served me. Don't even get me started on the TERRIBLE music and the deafening sound levels. All in all, avoid!
I had a great time here last night! I bought the Groupon deal so got to sample an infusion jar full of cocktail (delishh) and some really REALLY good cupcakes which were made by a local bakers. I'm talking better than the hummingbird bakery here! I came with 3 of my mates and loved the fact the music was ambient at the start of the night so we could have a catch up and enjoy the cocktail. We ended up staying long after the infusion jar was finished though, they play really great music here! A proper mix of old and new, we think we'll come back over the weekend so I hope it's as good, judging by the fact they have Professor Green launching his beer there on Sun it should be a fun time!
I went here last night for my birthday. I had ordered an infusion jar (which is like a sharing cocktail, it comes with dinky teacups to drink from, gorgeous! and cupcakes) and my friends and I enjoyed this at the start of the evening upstairs on our (free!) table, along with some bar snacks (what can I say, we enjoy good food!) which were Mediterranean style I guess but modern and really fresh. We then went downstairs once the club had filled up and danced the night away! The cocktails were simply spectacular, really original stuff along with the classics and the bartenders rose to the challenge of making us something a bit special! DJs were great, decent mix of fairly well known music and new stuff, we also got a free manicure! Can't say better than that, definitely the best birthday I've had in London!
I came here last night for Fancy Footwork, my mate knew one of the DJs and we thought we'd check it out. We ended up staying til the end and had a really great night! We were on a table which was the ideal base near the dance floor. The crowd was ideal, plenty of cool looking shoreditch types but everyone was lovely and the dancing never stopped, for a place with amazing design it's not remotely pretentious in terms of crowd and vibes! We had a bottle with the table but also tried a few cocktails which i highly recommend, the ingredients are all high quality which makes for a yummy drink and left me feeling fine this morning!! Would recommend this to anyone who likes a great mix of music and a fun crowd!
Fantastic venue! Because of two birthdays I ended up here on Friday AND Saturday. Friday was pretty hipster, but in a fun not arrogant way, loads of cool kids were there to dance and the DJs were excellent, DJ IQ who is apparently Professor Green's official DJ was headlining and a load of other great acts before, they sure know how to pick a line-up. Saturday was house music, and the DJs were both proper professionals and knew how to mix, the crowd was a bit more glamorous and less Shoreditch casual, so I'd say dress up for this one! Cocktails here are incredible, easily the nicest I've had in Shoreditch and seem really original and tailored to the vibe of the place, my mate booking a table was totally worth it as a base. Will be back soon! The Facebook pages has our pics up already haha, becoming a regular for sure.
My friends and I often come here on Fridays or Saturday, and last night was particularly incredible, we had a few cocktails at our table but spent most of the night on the dancefloor...I don't know anywhere else east that has better DJS, really cool crowd, well dressed but trendy. The bar staff and waitresses were great, you really get the VIP treatment! It's my birthday in two weeks and I've already booked The Tea Party, where you get an infusion jar of incredible cocktail with little china tea cups to drink from, so much more fun than just a bottle! Can't recommend enough, I've never had a boring night there
Rocking dancefloor! Awesome tunes! Loved the resident DJs and saw T4's Georgie spin a wicked set too!
Thursdays here ROCK! All the best tunes - didn't think I'd get to hear the likes of Justice, Nero and Calvin Harris but I did and I danced all night long! Half price drinks too if you ask a waitress at the bar about their free membership. And carriages home at 1am? Means Friday is hungover but not dry.
Went to the launch night of BBM Me last Saturday night.... an amazing night filled full of some insane house music and the most glamorous and flamboyant crowd I've danced amongst... and that's saying something considering I even spotted Boy George headlining on the decks! Get drinks, wonderful atmosphere and loads of hotties all round! Gonna be back here soon!
Friday nights here are simply the best in Shoreditch. It's the perfect mix of normal folk who live in the area and want a good dance, out-of-towners who are fed up of crappy surburbia and switched on hipsters. The music is a blend of pop, rock, indie and classic hip hop tunes like House of Pain's Jump Around and dance tracks like The Rockafella Shank. You get a few people who have clearly thought the bar was a rnb club due to it's shinyness, but they always disappear pretty quickly, leaving the dancefloor full of happy-go-lucky types who are all a bit tipsy but just wanna have fun like Cyndi Lauper used to tell us to. Great vibe, ace atmosphere, and full of some of the hottest guys East London has to offer. Ticks every box for me.
Love this place - it's the epitome of everything that's right with Hoxton thesedays. At first I was reluctant to go to the bar for a friends birthday but I was proved wrong by my fears and had the best night out. Even though East London recently has been flooded with the 'lads on tour' variety of visits, there were none whatsoever to be seen in The Hoxton Pony. In fact, they were all very well-mannered lads and really sexy girls. I've been to over clubs where you leave and there's people swaggering down the street, drinking and snarling, pissing against walls - yet this is the most politest bunch I've ever encountered when drunk. The neon blue and purple lights were a perfect touch for all the girls who had spent the time to get dressed up. Everyone looked fantastic, walking around looking like part-time models and film-stars. The Hoxton Pony is the ideal place to take the 'glamour' of the West End yet without the headache you usually have to endure. The idea of bottle service is great, especially if you're in a group who want to sit and catch up first before a dance. Music wise was great. There was no Taio Cruz, no Pussycat Dolls, and definitely no David Guetta! Thank God! I wish they'd paid me to come here!
Did a bit of research beforehand and realised I could book a table and get a free bottle of vodka if I shared the cost between me and my mates. Meant we also got the best VIP treatment this side of Hoxton, which was ace. Was pretty excited to see Blonde Ambition DJ, she's great - I saw her play at V festival recently and she has so much energy and I can honestly say the entire room was smiling thanks to her tunes. Service was wonderful, the crowd were lovely and the music exceptional. A must see.
Went down to see The Loose Cannons, listen to their show regularly on Kiss FM so was very happy to hear they were DJing in Shoreditch. Their flamboyant and hedonistic approach to DJing suits the essence of the bar, which I clearly understood - pride is a big thing there, but unlike most bars, it's in the favour of the customers. No egos here - just beautiful waitresses and gorgeous bar men. I loved the cocktails and the drinks we were served were divine.
I saw that Goldierocks was DJing at The Pony and having enjoyed her T4 show I wanted to check out her skills on the decks. It was a friend's birthday so I rang up earlier in the week to book a table. Easiest thing in the world, but what made things even easier was how shift and prompt both the doorhosts and waitresses welcomed and sat us down in The Pony with our drinks almost following immediately after. Goldierocks finished the night standing on top of the decks singing along to Journey's Don't stop Believing. Cheesy, yes? But it was Friday night and everyone had just raved to an hour of incredible electro remixes. It's the most mashup you can have without being mashed, and for that reason I even had my thumbs up giving The Pony the biggest smile at the end of the night!
Came into The Hoxton Pony last Thursday (28th April) for Reward night. Was absolutely amazing! Never been before but a bunch of my pals from work kept on talking about the live music nights on Thursdays. Thought I'd give it a try... I had such a good time! The cocktails were incredible, the atmosphere was electric and the whole vibe of the place just really got me going... so much so that I ended up coming back on the Bank Holiday Sunday aswell!! Felt a little fragile on Monday... sooooo worth it. 5 starss!
I had great expectations for this pub..... but it might have been the night we picked (Saturday) but we were looked down even had a girl try and pick a fight with me for my "old lady dress" we left after our first drink! Perfect place for wana be WAGS!