Scores of artists and art lovers gathered in Stoke Newington last night to mark the opening of the area’s latest hot spot ‘The Palatine’ – a bar-gallery that promises to provide a showcase for local artists and add to the growing diversity of drinking establishments in Hackney.
The collaborative venture, at 97 Stoke Newington Rd, is the brainchild of bar managers Michael Ward and Alice Nevermore, who took over the former nightclub earlier this year.
The pair make a promising team. “Alice has a great deal of art expertise, and I know a lot about the local bar culture” said Ward.
Having formerly worked at bars in Peckham and Stoke Newington, including ‘The White Hart’, he knows the area and its clientele inside out and is excited about adding to the burgeoning variety of ‘bars with a twist’ on offer.
“Over the last five years, the area has gradually brought in more money through a trendier, more bohemian clientele and we are looking to meet their changing needs. There are lots of nightclubs in the area but we want to offer something different, something consistent and classy that is first and foremost a straight-down-the-line bar”.
“As we are primarily a bar, we are able to offer very low commission on the art work and make it really affordable for emerging artists to show off their work”, added Nevermore.
When it fully opens to the public later this year, The Palatine’s downstairs gallery will feature a permanent exhibition by one artist, rotating monthly, as well as a number of pieces by others in the chic upstairs bar area, where the artwork is accompanied by black and white film footage.
Pieces on display last night included those by digital artist Chrysanthi Chrysanthou and Sebastian May, a contemporary visual artist who aims to: “Create an environment within which art has the power to expand social horizons creatively.”
Plans are also in place for exhibitions by ‘Maad Art Kollective’ pen artists and David Willis, an artist who assists Damien Hirst and is quickly gaining acclaim in his own right. There are also plans for the venue to start hosting regular music nights from American singer-songwriter Pete Kennedy and a series of local DJs over the coming months.
“At the moment we’re considering work by a host of artists from across the city” said Ward. “But it would be great if we could host an exhibition that focuses purely on local artists. There’s a fantastic community of talent round here and it is great to think we can help bring it success.”