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Review: The Fox and Firkin, Lewisham
FINDING an indie-rock bar in London is not easy.
Choked with gastro-pubs and posh bars playing soft beats and noughties pop, the capital offers few options to emos and rockers searching for the charm of a sticky, sweaty joint pumping out guitar rifts from the last 40 years.
And so as I made my way through the doors of one these rare and treasured venues I wondered why I didn’t feel excited.
Instead, an overwhelming and almost crippling wave of anxiety and self-loathing swept over me.
After taking a deep breath and propping myself up against a nearby pillar I asked myself the killer question, ‘why?’
Through dizzy eyes I looked around at the young attractive rock lovers drinking, flirting and dancing and it suddenly became clear – it reminded me of my teenage years; a time of trying to look cool in front of girls by smoking cigarettes….but then coughing myself into a frenzy; trying to impress them with handbrake turns but crashing into lamposts; and trying to dance romantically with girls…. but instead only poking them in the hip.
After regaining my composure I dragged myself to the bar queue along with my female companion to be greeted by a drunk teenager in a Pikachu onesie.
She was dancing with a 40-year-old smiley punk sporting a bright red Mohican. He held out his fist before saying “rock-on”.
After touching knuckles I fought my way to the front through the friendly crowd to be met by a myriad of bottled beers, ciders and ales – all very well priced.
After initially ordering two large glasses of white wine, the barmaid helpfully pointed out it would cost a mere £1 extra for a bottle – so that’s exactly what we did (£11).
As we sat and admired the venue’s chaotic but charming décor I could feel the panic subside and my heart rate slow. Teapots dangled from the ceiling alongside baubles and classy gothic chandeliers surrounded by hundreds of fairy lights.
Meanwhile a giant blackboard towards the door listed the pub’s upcoming events. A weekly Monday pub quiz is hugely popular while an array of live music has seen the venue shortlisted as Publican magazine’s Music Pub of the Year.
At midnight the dance floor was beginning to strain from the weight of friendly indie lovers tanked up on whisky and coke high-fiving anyone within a five-metre radius. Everyone was in such a good mood.
And then like a bolt between the eyes, it suddenly hit me. I realised why the Fox and Firkin doesn’t scare me in the same way as indie bars of my teenage years – it’s much nicer – in just about every way.
Without even a hint of anger or intimidation, the punters and staff at the Fox and Firkin are a lively bunch of music lovers eager to have a great time. No dance floor rivalries, no arguments about the music and no pervy men trying to hit on my pretty date – just good wholesome fun.
If only I had found it 15 years ago!
316 Lewisham High Street, London, Greater London SE13 6JZ
Drink *** All the usuals at decent prices
Price **** Awkward location means cheap drinks!
Service **** Cheeky but nice
Atmosphere **** Lively and friendly
Décor **** Quirky and fun