When it opened, despite its assured sense of style, we weren’t sure: the ambitiously expensive sound system, the pricey drinks, the slightly chilly staff, the problem of whether it was a cafe, bar, foodie joint or music venue – or a bit of everything.
But credit where it’s due: the concept has undoubtedly worked. Spiritland’s already on its way to being a vital part of London’s cultural fabric, having played host to Jarvis Cocker, Jeff Mills, Hot Chip, Dave Okumu, La Roux, Severino, Jane Fitz and even Bill Nighy to name a few.
And, hauteur aside, we find ourselves swinging by increasingly often to listen to the always entertaining soundtrack over a house negroni, or schooner of beer; no pints here, folks. And the joint’s often (politely) packed – but, with no vertical drinking, still retains its own distinct atmosphere.
If you’ve never been, this week’s probably the right time as the first year anniversary is marked by a week-long celebration. As well as the usual top scran and libations there’ll be DJs including Jimpster, Mark E, DJ Food and Pete Williams; plus the Spiritland Talks series also return with John Doran in conversation with author and winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, Roddy Doyle (Thur 7th Sep).
Let’s hope they’ve now re-cooped the cost of those eye-poppingly expensive speaker stacks – £350k, if you must know. Still, we reckon the investment’s justified: there’s nowhere else in the capital that sounds quite so gorgeous.