es, you read the rather unappealing-sounding name correctly: launching next to the historic Leake Street graffiti tunnel this weekend is a street art-themed speakeasy with a winning card up its sleeve: a piece by the elusive Bristolian known as Giant Rat.
First appearing in 2004 on the wall of derelict pub the White House in Liverpool, the mural was lovingly restored back in 2013 over a period of five months. Sections were cut off the Scouse boozer by builders redeveloping the site, then put back together like a giant jigsaw by a crackerjack team of six experts.The artist has a longstanding history with this area, dating back to 2008 when he organised the Cans Festival in the vacant stretch below Waterloo’s former Eurostar terminal. The spray can and stencilling fest transformed the passage into a canvas of vibrant works, paving the way for it to become the permanent (not to mention legal) fixture it is today.
A 3-month pop-up from creative events agency Shout About London, the space, in one of the eight forgotten railway vaults (that in total boast a cavernous 13,000 sq ft), will display artwork by local and international talent and host live music sessions. The other seven will be home to the likes of modern Vietnamese Banh Bao Brothers, board game café Draughts and immersive venue Aures London.
And what can we expect to drink at the rodent-inspired watering hole? All manner of aptly-named tipples paying homage to Banksy, such as El Raton and Black Death.
A toxic Rat, indeed.
Main image: Matt Chung / Shout About London