Published on January 29, 2014 | by Sean McKee0
Last chance to visit: Sorry, No Vacancies
★★★★Upon arriving – confused – at this pop-up bar’s location, which looks like a disused old shop unit on Brixton High Street (panes of frosted glass and everything), we speak to the security about having real trouble finding the place. “Yeah, that’s exactly what we wanted,” was his reply. It’s easy to see why they’ve wanted to keep this place as one of South London’s best hidden gems. “The story of Sorry, No Vacancies is one about love of food, of dancing, of forgotten fun, of the act of creation,” we were told by email. The transformation of this spot into a ’70s style motel had me feeling like a cast member of American Hustle, and suddenly I understood the name and the title. It’s in demand.
That’s probably because this place offers that all too familiar triple threat: you can eat, drink and dance here. Moody lighting and plenty of floor space around the dining booths make a cosy and friendly vibe, with the staff providing an excellent table service despite the bar being rammed.
The food is the star of the whole concept, with Michelin-starred chef Chris Gillard at the helm of the “haute-dog” menu. Although the selection was a bit limited on the night we visited, the menu was packed full of creative and individual choices that shake up the traditional idea of a hot dog.
The best choice by far is El Bandido Nacho. The menu describes it perfectly: ‘a fiery Mexican, paprika wurst drizzled with salsa, sour cream and jalapeños, topped with a nacho crunch.’ Although there’s a lack of sides to order with your main meal, these dogs are so filling there’s no real need for them, and at £6.50-£8 they are a bit of a bargain.
The cocktail list is perfect for casual drinks with friends, and priced at around £7 they’re really not that expensive for a prime London nightspot. The list, created by the award-winning Soul Shakers crew, caters for every taste whether you’re a vodka (I recommend Lucy in the Sky), whisky, or even a Tequila fan (Golden Dragon was my favourite choice from the menu).A pleasant surprise was the great music that was playing during our visit. The venue boasts of hosting some top DJ talent, including Joe Goddard, Clancy, The Invisible, Hannah Holland, Bill Brewster and Greco-Roman Soundsystem during its residency in Brixton. Its cool factor is affirmed with their choice of house and disco remixes – genres that are so in right now they’re not even mainstream.
The most disappointing aspect of this project is that its not permanent, as I would have been making this my new local drink-spot. It won’t be around for much longer, so if you’re a “foodie, cocktail connoisseur or disco-head” get down and try some quality sausages and beverages. If you can, try and make the closing party on February 1st, where it will be sure to go out with a bang(er).