24 May 2012

Sailor Jerry's Hotel Street: Rum, art and music at their finest.

Sailor Jerry has brought a combination of alcohol, clothes, music and some of the finest original tattoo art to Soho, forming an experience dubbed "an all-round good place for bad people". 

Named after Honolulu’s infamous Hotel Street District, Hotel Street pays homage to the place where Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins first made his name.

Hotel street is open from midday to midnight, Tuesday to Sunday. If you visit during the day, you'll find a shop full of Sailor Jerry merchandise and a gallery formed from some of the finest original tattoo art by Collins. By night, the place transforms into a music venue and a dive bar, with an electric line-up of gigs showcasing the best in straight-up, no nonsense rock n’ roll and punk. It has already hosted several sell-out gigs since opening in mid-April.

I headed down to 121 Charing Cross road and the place was everything I expected. The staff were chatting around the bar when I arrived and were mostly covered in generously sized tattoos themselves.  I felt out of place yet completely relaxed at the same time; the atmosphere was welcoming and unpretentious.

The venue is spread over two floors with the gallery space upstairs, which is simple and detracts nothing from the 75 legendary pieces that hang on the walls. So much was explained to me by the store manager Betty Flowers (I have never met someone whose name suits them so much, seriously). I went from knowing nothing about tattoo history to being able to pour out information within minutes. The main bits I took away though were that Collin's created the purple pigment in tattoos, he was the first to sterilise his patients and there had been grown men who had cried when visiting the gallery. 

Aside from the gallery transforming into a music venue, they are also hosting a fortnightly Sunday film club, showing selection of infamous cult classics and timeless rock n’ roll documentaries will be screened.

Do take along an attractive friend to make all the staff laugh.

The gallery is free and well worth a visit, even if you think you have little interest in tattoos - the friend I took left pronouncing her new desire to get inked. 

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Vice but all opinions are obviously my own.
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