Last summer a furniture and computer shop in Dalston’s Ridley Road, following a quickie remodel, became home to a very different type of enterprise.
Not that you’d know it from the sign: in that knowingly understated east London style, ‘Furniture & PC Sales’ remained above the entrance, reminding those who sought it out they were about to enter a wilfully DIY operation.
It traded as a café until a few weeks ago, when a liquor licence turned it into a bar proper. Inside, fake-wood wall veneers clash gloriously with homemade cymbal lightshades, a checquered dancefloor, mirrorballs, a bar made of offcuts, cheapo seating and piles of exotic fruit. DJs play and sometimes there are bands.
It’s like a Club Tropicana where strangers don’t take you by the hand and drinks aren’t free – but they’re pretty cheap.
The nightspots up and down the nearby Dalston drag of Kingsland Road can be a bit intimidating for those not in leotards (men) or without undercuts (women), so RRMM, although clearly aware of its ironically tacky trendiness, feels brilliantly egalitarian.
On our visit, a giant but very friendly bouncer ushered us in; staff were assembling cheerful and uncomplicated cocktails. The short list was displayed on a peg-board menu: the likes of ginger mojitos, or gin with fresh pomegranate, served in plastic pint pots with a straw and piles of crushed ice for a fiver. Beer, appropriately enough for a tropical-themed bar in east London, is Red Stripe.
Instead of trying to cram a kitchen in to their premises, the people behind RRMM have cleverly given over a small streetfront area to a selection of modish street-food salespeople: Luca’s Italian meatball sandwiches regularly appear; other mid-market munchies include Big Apple Hot Dogs, Hoxton Beach Falafel and Luardo’s Mexican. Coffee is served during the day.
RRMM is the sort of easy-living place that would fit right in on the Beach Boys’ imaginary isle of Kokomo. It’s pitched just on the right side of hip so as not too feel like too much of an imposition among the stalls of the market itself – one still used by real people every day. As Wham! would say, all that’s missing is the sea…