A gothic, rock 'n' roll paradise hidden away in the backstreets of Camden.
Hidden behind a backstreet close to Camden Tube, The Black Heart is only found if you go looking for it. But this is a good thing, as it avoids a lot of Camden’s ‘tourist’ traffic and it instead attracts a diverse but alternative crowd. The venue definitely has a theme - rock 'n' roll, gothic with a religious edge. A red neon cross hangs above the bar and a glass-encased statue of Jesus and Mary hangs from a wall as well, while a handful of Mexican Day of the Dead skulls - and indeed skulls in general - add further decoration. Think of the bar in Tarantino’s ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ and you're not far off (minus the clientele of vampires, of course).
It is dimly lit, the bar being the focal point of the room. Dark furniture seems to blend into the walls, but there are large booths to the right of the bar - a good grab if they're free. Vintage band and gig memorabilia dominate the walls and can make for some interesting topics of conversation. There is also a pool table in the corner and a jukebox that gets much attention, although it doesn’t actually play anything. Upstairs there is a smaller more shabby space available to hire for events, parties and gigs.
You might expect groups of leather-clad metal heads propping up the bar, given the decor, but The Black Heart has patrons from all walks of life. You have the odd group of after work patrons who appreciate classic rock, mixed in with a few pierced goths, tattooed bikers and indie kids. It is hip but not pretentious like the The Hawley Arms and not as metal as The Hobgoblin down the road. Expect rock classics with a hint of metal thrown in - The Stones, Led Zeppelin, Metallica and Disturbed are all on the soundtrack. On Friday and Saturday nights it is fairly loud so don’t come here for a quiet drink.
Black Heart hosts a pop-up kitchen where each month sees a new theme. Past occupants of the Camden kitchen have included Mother Flipper burgers and Kimchi Cult, proving that rock 'n' roll music is best washed down with a bit of greasy tucker.
With such a great selection of bottled beer and cider on offer you can never tire from drinking at The Black Heart. Prices range from £4-£6. Try the 3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze, Brew Dog International Arms Race or Einstok pale ale. There are cocktails too, but not your usual ‘Happy Hour’ kind. Try one with absinthe - not only does it go down well, it’s also quite potent. A large range of spirits are also available, as is wine.
The Last Word
One of the best bars in Camden – it’s original, never dull and at its heart is true rock 'n' roll, which, let’s be honest, is a rare thing in Camden these days.