Queen of Hoxton: Shoreditch venue celebrates tenth birthday

Queen of Hoxton's rooftop has been given a Mexican makeover for the summer. Picture: Mothership Grou

Queen of Hoxton's rooftop has been given a Mexican makeover for the summer. Picture: Mothership Group. - Credit: Archant

Andy Maddocks, co-founder of the Mothership Group, reflects on a decade of quirky events and rooftop parties on Curtain Road.

Mothership Group co-founder, Andy Maddocks.

Mothership Group co-founder, Andy Maddocks. - Credit: Archant

The week leading up to Queen of Hoxton's 10th birthday party on Saturday July 13 looks fairly normal, to be honest.

There's a free ukulele class and neon naked life drawing on Monday, of course, then drag bingo and hip-hop karaoke planned for Wednesday and Thursday respectively. If none of those events are really for you; there's always tacos, tequila and giant frozen Margaritas to see to on the venue's Mexican-themed rooftop.

"We had the words 'A youth club for adults' originally written on the shutters," says co-founder Andy Maddocks, recounting his goals when opening Queen of Hoxton with Jon Ross back in July 2009.

"We wanted it to be a place where you could have all the fun you'd have in a youth club, but it would be for grown-ups.

On the rooftops above Curtain Road. Picture: Mothership Group.

On the rooftops above Curtain Road. Picture: Mothership Group. - Credit: Archant

"We also wanted it to be mutually inclusive, where it wasn't about posing or being the 'big I am', but more about having fun and feeling safe."

Queen of Hoxton is part of the Mothership Group, together with sister venues The Book Club, Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, and Brighton-based Patterns.

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The three-tiered venue will celebrate a decade of events, album launches, workshops and late-night parties alongside garage brand Has It Come to This next weekend. There's going to be 'old-school classics and underground sounds', as well as all the things you'd associate with a great party: cake, balloons, face-painting and confetti cannons.

Twice a year, Queen of Hoxton's rooftop is completely transformed. This summer's theme is based on the Mexican town of San Cristobal, and before that came Lady Celeste's Parisian winter den and Lost Vegas - complete with its own wedding chapel.

A club night at Queen of Hoxton. Picture: Khris Cowley.

A club night at Queen of Hoxton. Picture: Khris Cowley. - Credit: Archant

"We've got an amazing creative team and have done some really cool stuff," adds Maddocks. "We do Burns Night every year, we've had a dog show on the rooftop and there was a wedding proposal in the Lost Vegas Elvis chapel.

"My favourite moment is always when we re-do the roof. I just sit inside the WigWam and see the wonder and delight on people's faces - that is special, as is when I'm in the basement and everyone's dancing."

While Londoners might typically seek out rooftop spaces in the summer, Maddocks says his favourite time of the year at Queen of Hoxton is actually during the colder months.

"Winter can seem a bit damp and soulless, but it can also conjure up feelings of warmth and happiness. We create a different world with hot-buttered rum, storytelling and a big fire, and try to find all the nice stuff about winter in London."

The Shoreditch nightlife landscape has changed enormously over the last ten years - "we are continually being squeezed," says Maddocks. "Landlords can hike the rents, sometimes by 100 per cent, and councils place more and more restrictions on your licence," but he says Mothership Group are "in it for the long term."

"For us it's about being fiercely independent and continuing to champion young artists and DJs. We use local street artists to decorate outside and we spend a lot of money on production. We want to keep taking risks and engaging with young people."

Queen of Hoxton, 1-5 Curtain Road, EC2A 3JX. More information here.

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