Just around the corner from Old Street station is Shoreditch the current capital of cool in London and among the veritable collection of bars, clubs and pubs that surround the area is the Foundry. This creative hub of an art gallery/bar is the brainchild of Gimpo and Bill Drummond, formerly of pop star fame with the band KLF. The clustered chaos that now makes up the Foundry ensures that it couldn't have digressed further from its original purpose as a bank.
Upon walking into the Foundry you can be forgiven for mistakenly believing you have just entered a land fill site. The couches are ripped, the chairs are repulsive and the assortment of brick-brack suggest the interior designer might as well have been a blind lunatic. Of course, this is all part of the Foundry's charm and the "give a sh##" décor that the place exudes makes a refreshing change from the try-hard "Ikea luxury" chain-bars that predominate London's drinking holes.
Everything in the Foundry in one form or another can be misconstrued as, or indeed is, art. Upstairs where the bar is located there are usually pieces of original art exhibited around bizarre seating arrangements. Downstairs in what formerly were the banks vaults are two gallery's where artists are invited to exhibit their works for free and there is a regular turn over making it likely that your are always going to see something new. It is rare that a bars toilette's are an attraction but the graffiti laden lavatories of the establishment, like the rest of it, defies the norm.
The foundry hosts a monthly poetry night on Sunday's, has galleries throughout the week and usually has some form of live music that varies from modern Indie and DJ sets to Jazz and Classic Piano. It is also one the capitals more reasonably priced drinking establishments and one of the rare places you can still get two pints of beer for £5.
The crowd ranges from political activist, musicians and artists to after work drinkers who just want to enter a parallel universe of creativity. Whether a place like the Foundry is your thing or not - it is definitely worth checking out at least once because it is certainly a one of a kind type of bar.