Bar Sleuth: The Intrepid Fox — a different kind of bar
May 18, 2006
LONDON — Sick and tired of the cozy little hometown pubs overrunning England?
At the crossroads of Chinatown and the sex shops of Soho, a pub crawler can find The Intrepid Fox, a bizarrely attractive watering hole in the dark heart of London.
A garish gargoyle hovers over the front door, sending a message to those who dare go inside. Everything that is not covered by a stained and ragged poster for a heavy metal band or popular anarchist is painted black. The only lighting comes in dim reds and greens, with flares of orange at the bar and splashes of neon from outside.
In one corner sits a mock graveyard, bulging with members of the undead trying to wrest themselves from interment. Across the room, several seats in the fishbowl window in the corner can be accessed only by brushing the legs of a disjointed, life-sized witch, made completely of metal, who has been crucified on a 6-foot wooden cross.
Approaching the bar for a drink, it’s hard to find a place to put your elbows because most of the surface is a mess of dirty glasses, cigarette butts and forgotten pools of beer.
Behind the faux carnage is a tall, heavy man in a sleeveless Suicidal Tendencies concert T-shirt, his livid purple mohawk threatening to tickle his middle lumbars. He’s got more piercings than facial features and he’s slow at the taps, but he ingratiates himself to the customers with jokes about how abysmally bad the service tends to be.
“That waitress is terrible,” said one drunken man.
“We like to think so,” the bartender replied.
For some, The Intrepid Fox is a welcome change from the warm-your-cockles atmosphere of many pubs in England. Dark, dank and cursed with a set of bathrooms so unholy they repel cockroaches, it’s a wonderful place to get a whiskey and a beer and an earful of metal.
As always, if you drink, do so responsibly. Don’t drink and drive.
The Intrepid Fox, London
Drinks: Many English standards, plus JB Smiths. As with some London bars, there is also a deal to make your drink a double for just 1 pound extra when ordering a mixed drink.
Food: None. And you wouldn’t want to eat here anyway. Seriously.
Service: Abominable, admittedly
Ambiance: Freaky-meets-friendly. Dark and dirty, grim but campy, the decor is designed to feel creepy — the place has more skulls and bones than a Yale reunion. And if you’re put off by an authentic vampire-in-bondage outfit, keep walking.
Location: 97-99 Wardour St., London