Looking for a bit of Kitsch in London? Then Trailer Happiness is your answer!! Serving up classic cocktails with a “Tiki Twist”, this joint rocks Tacky! They’ll pour you a Mai Tai, an Old Fashioned, or anything in between! And while you’re boozing, be sure to peruse the art on the wall…it’s only one step above the Velvet Elvis paintings they used to sell on the side of the road!! Happy drinking!!
If you find yourself in the Coach & Horses, one of London’s most famous pubs, forgo a pint and instead ask the barkeep to allow you behind the bar to climb the secret staircase. As you ascend the rickety stairs to Soho’s Secret Tea Room, the sound of jazz being played on a Gramophone begins to fill your ears. Upon entering this delightful little tea room, you are instantly transported to a bygone era of England. Edwardian in style and 1940s in ambiance, the Secret Tea Room offers a retro version of the English High Tea. To the soundtrack of a Benny Goodman concert, charming waiters and waitresses serve traditional egg & cress sammies, scones with huge dollops of fresh clotted cream, and an assortment of fairy cakes on vintage, mismatched crockery. Sixteen varieties of tea are on offer at this little speakeasy of a tea room in the heart of Soho, but word on the street is that the hot chocolate is superb as well.
It all started one lazy Sunday afternoon in the summer of 1987 when my friend, Susan, introduced me to La Di Da, a vintage clothing store in the hip Five Points area of Jacksonville, Florida. While many of my classmates were shopping just down the street at Edge City (the progenitor of Punk, New Wave, & Goth styling in Jax), my funky sense of style was honed in the overflowing racks of vintage silk dresses, pencil skirts, Bakelite jewelry, & faux mink stoles of La Di Da.
I found my greatest sartorial coup to date at this little shop, a silver Moire taffeta 1950s dress from Furchgott’s that June Cleaver herself would have coveted. I may not have been the fanciest belle at the ball that night, but I was damned sure the coolest! While my days of dressing solely from thrift stores & vintage shops are long behind me, I still retain a style accented by a hint of vintage – a bag, a scarf, a bracelet, a jacket – and if I did find myself in need of an ensemble for a fancy dress party, I wouldn’t hesitate to seek out the nearest vintage clothing shop.
That opportunity came when I discovered Blitz, just off Brick Lane in the heart of East London. Touted as a “Vintage Department Store,” it fills five rooms and two floors of an old furniture factory, offering a range of neatly organized retro items — clothes, accessories, books, art, clothing, luggage, movie posters, crockery, and more. And taking me straight back to the 1980s was the impressively large selection of Swatch Watches. From Victorian to Flapper to Mod to Punk, it’s all here at Blitz and certainly worth including among the likes of Camden & Portobello Markets.