Banksy’s Giant Rat artwork isn’t the only reason to visit Waterloo’s Rat Bar

posted on Friday, 15th June 2018 by Steve May

Art  Restoration  Architecture  urban  Food & Drink 

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Aficionados of street art and urban counter culture have an exciting new pop-up to visit in London.

A celebration of the city aesthetic, the Rat Bar, at 26 Leake Street, in Waterloo’s Graffiti Tunnel, has become the new temporary home to Banksy’s iconic Giant Rat.

Inside ID was invited to the opening, and can confirm the venue is every bit as edgy as you might imagine.

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The Rat Bar is big on atmosphere and low on light, perfect for live music and DJ sets. Indeed, it’s opened with the promise of live gigs every week of its three-month stint. The vibe is fittingly energetic.

A long bar tempts with a huge selection of craft beers, plus popular branded beverages. The cocktail list offers such delights as the El Raton and You Dirty, Double Crossing Rat.

The Rat Bar is actually the opening salvo in an ambitious restoration project, masterminded by creative events agency Shout About London. A restaurant, event spaces and brewery will follow.

"The Rat bar is big on atmosphere and low on light, perfect for live music and DJ sets. The vibe is fittingly energetic"

It’s obviously worth visiting the venue just to get a selfie with Giant Rat. The Banksy piece famously first appeared on the side of the White House pub in Liverpool, in 2004.

The original mural depicted a giant rat holding a large ‘graffiti’ marker pen, with the word Banksy on it.  It was salvaged in 2013, before it disappeared forever. It has since been subject to an extensive restoration.

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But that’s not the Rat Bar’s only artistic lure. Gary Alford, perhaps best known for his artistic collaborations with Wu-Tang Clan, has provided unique themed art within the bar. He told us that he only finished his work mere hours before the press launch was due to start, and it’s spectacular.

Inside ID Ratings
Interior design: 8/10
Food & drink: 9/10
Service: 8/10
Value: 8/10

We say: A refreshing celebration of urban art, this joint is a worthy distraction when you're next on the South Bank.

Visit The Rat Bar at 26 Leake Street, in Waterloo’s Leake Street Arches. Images Matt Chung/Shout About London & Steve May

Steve May

Inside ID Editor Steve May is a freelance lifestyle and technology journalist, who also writes for T3, AskMen UK, MTV UK, TechRadar and Trusted Reviews.

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