As I have much proclaimed in the past, Camden is a beautiful, boisterous lady of casual virtue. It is the 2am smudgy black eye make-up on the tired work-worn face of London. And just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean we can’t rock.
To herald in the first day of Christmas toilets, when my imaginary and perhaps a little out of touch, true love began giving me gifts (many of which may be returned for cash or store credit) I needed to find a dozen drummers drumming. And what’s got more drummers than a metal bar? So for the evening, I engaged a few friends to help me drink off-brand Jack Daniels among the perennially hairy at The Black Heart.
You know it’s the place to be when you show up and someone has removed the exterior signage. I’m pretty sure it was there the last time I looked?
Metal bars are a black clothing clad memories of my early 20’s.
Now I’m old I’m not always in the mood for excessive triple kick-drum ambience and piss covered toilet seats. But when I do show up, it feels a bit like visiting a much beloved primary school, if in that school you learned important life lessons about how much you can drink (lots), how many pet accessories you can wear at once (5) and how many emotionally retarded boys you can become attached to before realising it always ends in tears and suicide attempts (not mine).
The Black Heart was not my first choice for Day One of my 12 toilets of Christmas. The Intrepid Fox had been held aloft by my friends as the quintessential metal bar of London infamy, but alas it seems after a variety of moves and relaunches, The Fox has now closed for good.
The Black Heart functioned as a good stand-in, offering everything I required in a metal bar toilet and perhaps more.
First off, the bathrooms are unisex which is rather progressive, a feature of the metal world I always enjoyed. No need for an eight foot long ladies bathroom mirror. There is one mirror, one sink and one hand drier. The washing station felt like more of a nod to those who preferred to be clean than as a mandatory requirement. The amount of straight liquor spilled directly on to your hands would be sufficient to disinfect any bacteria you may have picked up during the evening.
The toilets are black, as to be expected, and have a variety of wonderful , entertaining graffiti.
My friend Karl came back from the bathroom saying that one of the stalls has the following inscribed on it’s wall; “Be cool, wank kids” and thought I am not in any way acquiescent of the sentiment, I was slightly impressed that the person used correct grammar in the pursuit of shock tactic toilet stall vandalism.
Piss covered seat or no seat at all? Your pick.
I enjoyed the toilet paper holders crafted from industrial chain and locks. A new take on a classic design style.
The bar staff have got your back, which is always nice to know.
Cleanliness : 6/10 Not bad considering the venue and the general nihilistic world view of the clientele.
Interior : 7/10 It had all the stuff you might need but not a huge amount of it. This is probably not the best bathroom to choose if you are having a panic attack but at least the music will drown out some of the sounds of your whimpering and choked crying.
Exterior : 7/10 Getting to the loo wasn’t an issue, and it is through two sets of doors so that gives you a little added privacy. The exterior sign seems to have gone awol so you would struggle to know the name of the bar should you happen upon it by accident but it’s very close to both the Tube and Woodies kebab shop which is fucking awesome. Mmmm hot greasy happiness.
Safety : 7/10 I feel far safer in metal bars and alternative places than in a “normal” club. It all feels a little less date rapey and pretentious. I might be fooling myself but I didn’t at any point feel uncomfortable at The Black Heart, the bouncers, bar staff an floor staff were all very friendly and helpful (see above sign). But a bar is still a place of unexpected, drunken violence so take care of yourself and stick with your buddies.
Snugglitude : 7/10 I don’t like other people’s piss but otherwise this is a pretty decent loo for a bar. I’ve seen better and I have passed out in worse.
Total : 34/50