A former Victorian bath house used over the years as a brothel, rave den and sex shop is now inspiring a new generation to get crafty over
a cheeky cocktail.
Drink Shop Do is a design shop, café and bar set up by school friends Kristie Bishop and Coralie Sleap. By day it’s a shop selling stationery, old-fashioned sweeties and 1950s furniture as well as a café, but at 7pm anyone under 18 is asked to leave and the former Turkish bath house transforms into a cocktail bar. Not long after the DJs start the dancing in the old steam room.
But this is no seedy King’s Cross club. Drink Shop Do specialises in getting people to try fun crafts, often in the glamorous Dome Room under a giant silver glitter ball. There’s crochet and dot-to-dot for traditionalists but at Halloween around 800 pumpkins were carved, and on St Patrick’s Day papier-mâché leprechauns were made and released… click here to find out how two sisters-in-law enjoyed making a piñata.
“The idea for Drink Shop Do came when my best friend from school – we met when we were 12 – were chatting in a pub,” says Kristie Bishop who grew up near Ashford, Kent. “It was one of those conversations with a friend that goes on for a couple of hours. We’d both been in jobs for about a year, and they were fine, but we were 24 and thinking is this what we are going to do until we’re 60? Wouldn’t it be amazing to our own thing?” she says stopping to take a sip of Rooibos tea from a willow patterned cup. That heart-to-heart in May 2009 about the friends’ desire for a business with vintage furniture, afternoon tea, cake and dancing was translated into a pop up that December. This went so well the pair opened the doors of Drink Shop Do properly in July 2010.
“Both of our parents are entrepreneurs – and at that age we were determined, ambitious and naive. If we needed to learn something we googled it, asked someone or harassed a parent. If we’d been given a journal telling us what we’d have to do I’m not sure we’d have started,” says Kristie half seriously. But five years on Drink Shop Do, at the King’s Cross end of Caledonian Road is thriving. And that’s largely because of their craft concept reckons Kristie.
“We’ve never planned to be super trendy and the next big thing. The whole point of Drink Shop Do is you do more than just meet a friend for a drink, you also make fun things. It’s not often friends can do something together and maybe become a bit competitive,” she says pointing to the list of March activities, tucked into the café menu, which include a chance to make papier-mâché dragons, lego robots and clay models of Kanye West (last month’s celeb was David Bowie). “You’ll have an experience at a very low cost – and you come away with more than a sense of achievement – it’s bonding.”
Even though it’s not a craft night today’s customers, at seven busy tables, all seem to be having a real chin wag over a cuppa. Surprisingly no one seems to be on their own, or staring at a screen. “We’re small and independent, and that wins big for people so we have our regulars,” says Kristie happily.
Back in fashion
Blue and white willow pattern china. Formica kitchen tables and Monopoly boards add to the quirky feel at Drink Shop Do where everything is for sale. But you may find some of the things in your home are also now back in fashion including:
- ‘70s G Plan, Ercol or Eames furniture.
- ‘70s lamps with those huge shades and brown stone bases.
- A taste for old school cocktails such as a Manhattan, Old Fashioned or Negroni.