THE HISTORY OF THE BEST BAR IN LONDON, WHICH WE HAPPEN TO OWN
You might not be aware that VICE UK has its own bar. It’s called The Old Blue Last and it used to be a brothel before we acquired it. Still, it was a bar for 300 years before that, and even Shakespeare used to hang out there. It stands imperiously on the corner of Great Eastern Street and Curtain Road in London, dominating Shoreditch like a gigantic ancient rock that sells beer. To celebrate their magazine’s tenth anniversary, our English counterparts hired an incredibly famous historian who wished to remain nameless to find out all about it.
East London has been horrible and messy for a very long time. The Floralia, the ancient Roman festival of flowers, celebrated Flora, a hooker who’d been turned into a goddess. When the week-long festival came to London, scores of half-naked prostitutes gathered outside the city walls, in what is now Shoreditch, to exchange milk, honey, and invent all the STDs we have to worry about these days.
In the 16th century, everyone got into theater, which might sound wimpy but it was actually a lot more boozy and fighty back then. Plays were banned in London, but because Shoreditch remained conveniently just outside the city limits, in 1576 a venture capitalist named James Burbage built a venue called The Theatre where The Old Blue Last currently stands.
This illicit, out-of-town theater turned Shoreditch back into the godless pleasure garden it had been in Roman times. It was a place for gentlemen to bathe, play lawn bowls (which might sound wimpy but it was actually a lot more boozy and fighty back then), and fitfully rub their genitals against the wenches and rent boys who populated the area. Oh, and Bill Shakespeare hung out there all the time too, kicking back with John Webster and losing his shit to whatever the Elizabethan version of “She Bangs the Drums” was.
Eventually Burbage pulled down The Theatre and moved it south of the river, where it became The Globe. Shoreditch, meanwhile, remained an iniquitous pit of bowls and sex, and in 1700 a bar was built on the site of the old theater. It was called The Last, which, remarkably boringly, refers to a wooden block that a shoemaker uses to mold a shoe. The Last was owned by a brewer named Ralph Harwood, who went on to achieve a small level of fame when he was pronounced bankrupt one day by Gentleman’s Magazine. In these early years, men carrying powderpuffs used to frequent the pub. Anyone familiar with the coded body language of this era will know that “man with powderpuff = man who wants to fuck other men.”
THE OLD BLUE LAST
In 1876, Truman’s brewery took over the pub. They pulled The Last down and rebuilt it as The Old Blue Last, which means “the old blue wooden pattern that is used to mold the shoe.” Gents came to dine here, ladies took their tea here, everyone wore flat caps, well-made shoes, and called each other “squire” in a way that wasn’t irritating because Guy Ritchie and Pete Doherty hadn’t been born yet. There’s still a massive mirror hanging in the main bar that dates back to this time and has somehow managed to never get smashed. Eventually Truman’s went down the toilet and Grand Metropolitan Hotels took over the OBL (which, let’s face it, proves that they were never really that grand at all).
Throughout the 1970s and into the 90s, Shoreditch was still full of strip joints and violent gay bars (Freddie Mercury is said to have landed his helicopter on top of the building that is now The London Apprentice, formerly the 333). At that point, The Old Blue Last was a rough place full of rougher men and people who were afraid of being beaten up by them. It housed an illegal strip club and brothel, which was on the second floor. The room was divided into cubicles, with no walls, made up of single beds. Next to each bed was a small table, and that was pretty much it.
Weirdly, on every bedside table there was a bowl of peanuts. I guess East End gangsters were into throwing nuts at prostitutes? Apparently, once some pissed-off tough guys turned up to settle a score with a bouncer, put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Lord knows how, but somehow he lived (if anyone can be described as “alive” when half their head is missing).
We answer your pathetic questions about dating, loneliness, and your inevitable failure. First, meet your experts!
Congratulations, dudes and guys with glasses, you’ve just starting reading the most powerful dating tool in the world, second only to the Bible. My name is Kurt Braunohler (aka Hot Dog) and I’ll be your brah-guide on this wild, lonely ride called “reading about how to date.” I know a whole shit ton about the art of fuck-sticking (that’s what I call dating) so you can totally trust me. For instance, did you know that 90% of women can’t tell the difference between Old Spice and nutmeg soaked in rubbing alcohol? I can teach you how to make your very own “Moon Spice!” And ladies, a woman who doesn’t know how a guy thinks is like a ding-dong in a doorbell factory – nobody needs it. So listen up! Dating is a battlefield; you need a plan, you need courage, and you need a gun. Think of this advice as your gun… and your canteen. It’s like a gun-canteen that you can drink out of, to survive, and then shoot with, to kill. Now let’s start slinging the advice hash!
The Lady Bun
Hello, single gal! How are you (besides “sad”)? Before going on this exciting journey out of Lonely Ville and intoDoin’ it Town, let me introduce myself. My name is Albertina (aka The Lady Bun), and I’m here to teach you about men based on what I’ve learned in movies and from common house pets. So, slap on some lipstick, put down that doughnut hole and stop weeping in the tub. You’re about to take control of your life and then give all of that control away to someone you’re having sex with! Get ready for that super scary roller coaster we call DATING. Oh, and boys, I have a lot of advice for you too because my middle toe is shaped slightly like a penis.
Dear Hot Dog and The Lady Bun, I’m a smart single guy but I can’t seem to meet anyone. Living in New York, I especially have a hard time at bars where I don’t know how to approach women. How do people meet each other in bars?!?!
– Babar the Lonely Elephant
Hot Dog says:
Dear Babar, great question. Remember, in a bar you’re a hunter on friendly ground. The bar is your forest: your camouflage is a smile, the drinks are your weapons, and the prey scare easy so don’t just up and grab them (it’s often deemed illegal). Here are some quick tips to get your flirt on at the drinkey-hole.
● Try bringing a trophy with you. It’s a great conversation starter, and will immediately let women know that you’ve won at least one thing in your life.
● If you’re sitting next to a lady, try asking the bartender if they can break a hundred. When he says yes, say, “Show me.” This will make you appear strong and confident, but not too braggy, since you don’t have a $100 bill yourself.
● Ladies want a guy who’s reliable but not boring. Why not spend some time building a funky birdhouse out of cocktail straws at the bar?
● The mirror behind the bar is a great way to check people out; bring binoculars and tell everyone you’re “birding.”
● Women spook easily, so bring a bush into the bar and hide behind it while slowly sneaking up on a lady you fancy. Then jump out from behind it and yell, “Conversation surprise!”
Once you’ve got your sweet poon-target in site, here’s some sample ice-breakers to crack the frozen conversation lake!
● You smell great. Like a cross between my mom and a stripper – the only women I truly understand.”
● I love adventures, such as rock climbing and doing cocaine in public.”
● You know, I breast fed until I was five, so I’m very confident and know a lot about tits. Yours are great. Any kids attached to those?” (Point to her chest.)
The Lady Bun says:
Babar, it’s not just men who find talking to strangers in dark bars intimidating. Women do too. And based on the fact that your name is from a French children’s book, you’re half girl anyway.
Ladies, the reason people call bars “meat markets” is because they are expensive and filled with blood. You want to make sure you go in there feeling like the best piece of meat in town. In fact, try yelling “I’m a skirt steak!” at least once a day. The secret to meeting guys at bars is never letting them think they’ve got you all figured out. You want to show them that there is more to you than meets the eye, even though they probably won’t care either way. You see, men are visual creatures, so meeting them is a lot like Show and Tell day at school, except without all the “tell” parts. (Hot Tip: Men hate it when you talk!)
● Because bars tend to be dark, make sure you put on a TON of makeup on so you really “pop.” Dress up that face like you’re a clown. A “fuck-clown,” if you will.
● Make a lot of hand gestures so that guys know you’re fun and animated. Like this:
● When a guy tells you his name, slap a fiver on the bar and scream, “Prove it, ‘BRIAN’!” (Hot Tip: Men like a challenge.)
● Eau de Toilette is French for “Smells Better Than a Toilet.” Make yourself smell like something a man wants by rubbing smoked almonds all over your neck before heading to the bar.
After following any of the above, someone is sure to approach you. But what’s your next step? How about saying something! Try some of the suggestions below to get words out of your pie hole and wiener into your pee hole.
● How often do you come to this bar? I come to all bars ALL THE TIME.”
● Do you like your whiskey on the rocks? Funny, that’s how I like my relationships!” (Laugh hysterically to yourself.)
● Do you have kids? I was a mom for about three months until I found out I was pregnant and made the appointment.”
Well that was fun! You learned a lot and we got paid a very small amount of money! Do you need advice? Direct your questions here. We need that loose change the way you need loose pussy!
Follow Hot Dog and The Lady Bun on twitter @kurtbraunohler and @albz