Shortlisted for Shortlist Magazine's Best Bar. Classic British food menu served daily til 10pm. Great music. Corner of Chapel Market and Penton Street.
Joseph Grimaldi - early nineteenth century Islington resident and the creator of the modern day clown - provides the inspiration for a new pub opening this week at the junction of Chapel Market and Penton Street, Islington. “The Joker of Penton Street” will put a contemporary spin on the satire that Grimaldi introduced to the stage at nearby Saddlers Wells by defying hipster bar fashion and taking itself far less seriously than its location suggests it should, and by celebrating those skilful raconteurs whom, throughout history, have raised a laugh at the expense of the conventions of the day.
“Life is a scream” comments landlord Dan Hanlin, “and at The Joker of Penton Street we intend to remember that by ensuring everyone has a fun time with us, every time they visit”. Comedy looks set to play its part in the entertainment at the pub, the first floor function room providing an ideal venue for great stand-up and improv. and the credibility of the music will never be in question. But the Joker is as much about having a great time in brilliant company with the tastiest food and the most refreshing ale. The food is provided by the aptly named “Tongue ‘n Cheek” street food specialists who have been setting Londoners’ taste buds alight with the famous Heartbreak burger, made from 50% ox heart and 50% dry, 40 day aged beef. Cask ale comes from the Laine’s Brewery located in Hackney at sister pub The People’s Park Tavern, and cocktails have been developed by Hanlin himself, who has attempted to reflect the joy and diversity of British drinking in the recipes he has devised.
When Grimaldi was a resident of Penton Street, the pub was called The Compasses, derivations of the name surviving right up until the last few years when it became a restaurant called The Hundred Crows Rising. New owners – InnBrighton – who made the site their sixth London acquisition, set out to turn it back into a vibrant pub by giving it an unconventional makeover in a similar fashion to their recent projects at the People’s Park Tavern in Hackney and the Aeronaut in Acton. In addition to a commissioned, large wooden sculpture of the comedy and tragedy dramatic masks, the interior includes a rare oddity in the original 10 feet high clock which featured on the cover of the Oasis album "Be Here Now", and which formed part of the band’s stage show. As well as portraits of Grimaldi himself, the pub’s artwork includes references to other entertainers who have added pathos, humanity and satirical qualities to the personality of the clown, such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Norman Wisdom and Andy Kaufman. But unlike Grimaldi who punned “I am grim all day – but at night I make you laugh”, The Joker of Penton Street, which trades from midday to past midnight, promises to be a welcoming, interesting and fun loving place whatever the time.