Make Lionel Richie from clay at retro King’s Cross cafe
� A bright and colourful bar and shop bursting with retro style, all 1950s furniture and vintage tea sets, it could not fail to grab the attention.
And then you spot the punters pottering away making little clay models of Lionel Richie’s head. This is not something you would see in a Wetherspoon’s.
This bar/caf�/shop, in Caledonian Road, King’s Cross, is the brainchild of Kristie Bishop and Coralie Sleap, two 26-year-olds who have been friends since their first day at secondary school. Fifteen years on, they are running one of the hippest venues in London.
Kristie, of Packington Street, Islington, says: “It’s a design shop, caf� and bar which is set in the 1950s and 1960s and everything you see is for sale – from the chair you sit on to the tea cup you drink from.
“We hold fun events in the evening that tend to be free – the most popular being the Lionel Richie-themed Play with Clay. We also have a disco-based join-the-dots competition, papier mach� monster making, musical bingo and Lego nights.
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“We’re recreating something from childhood in an adult environment – where you can drink.”
Other regular “dos” include vintage hair or makeup styling sessions, knitting nights and scrabble Sundays. Attached to the bar is a quirky boutique selling the wares – from crafts to greetings cards – of top independent designers.
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Kristie and fellow Islington resident Coralie, of Liverpool Road, celebrated the first birthday of the venture in August.
It opened in 2010 as a natural evolution from a pop-up in the same stunning location, a former Turkish bath house, in December 2009. That was so successful the pair quit their day jobs – Kristie was working in sales and Coralie at a gallery – to chase their kitsch dream.
“We thought about everything we wanted a caf�-bar to be – super friendly, colourful, the style – and decided to do a pop-up version of it,” Kristie says.
“It went really well and everyone wanted us to stay.”
There are plans to expand and they recently won a battle at Islington Town Hall to get a premises licence for their basement, which had been opposed by police.
“We’re looking to continue the vibe,” adds Kristie.
“Like everything we do, there’s going to be a surprise element to it – it’s not going to be the same. Watch this space.”