Food & Drink Lifestyle
Drake's Living: The Eagle Pub and Gallery
Jul 13, 2022
We go back to our Clerkenwell roots and visit an old favourite - London's original gastropub.
Clerkenwell and Farringdon will always be dear to us, having been located there for much of our existence, prior to moving to our current home at Haberdasher Street. Farringdon Road institution - and London’s original gastropub - The Eagle has been a Drake’s team favourite for many a year. Part pub, part gallery, The Eagle is famous for it’s warm, offbeat atmosphere and exceptional food. Basil Beattie graces the walls, and a good beer or drop of wine is never far away. Founded in 1991 by Michael Belben and David Eyre, the Eagle subscribes to a philosophy of ‘big flavours and rough edges’ - epitomised by the kitchen’s eclectic daily menu. A stellar take on the humble steak sandwich regularly rubs up against lentil dahl, or lamb leg marinated in orange, cumin, coriander, quince, rocket and dukkah.
“The food’s good here isn’t it?” says John Marchant, who curates the show at the pub’s second-floor art gallery “It always has been. Since day one it’s been very, very good.” John, along with gallery founder Emma Hill, has been a mainstay for much of the pub’s duration. “The gallery has been going for 25 years. It was started and is still principally run by Emma, who has a great track record in working with artists who have since become very well known. She generally specialises in quiet, smart work. I come in and do slightly flashier things, I suppose, but that’s the nature of the stable of artists I work with. I’m more of a vagabond than she is. We fit nicely.”
The Eagle Gallery’s current exhibition showcases recent work by Harry Adams - actually a nom de guerre for two artists named Steve Lowe and Adam Wood. “They’ve been working together for about twenty years on a number of projects, from painting through to performance work” says John. “They explore a number of themes which on the face of it have no relation whatsoever to each other, but on closer inspection things begin to mesh together. Some of these works were done recently in Italy on a residency, in a place called Monte Lucco where St. Francis of Assisi had lived. They’re enormously productive - actually hanging the show was really difficult. At one point we thought the show was just going to be us moving paintings around; the work just went on and on and on!”
The Eagle Gallery, much like the pub downstairs, is humble but creative, and John points to the symbiotic relationship between the pub and gallery as part of the success of both spaces. “The pub is part and parcel of the same group of people really. It was started with the same philosophy. That’s why it’s been such a great institution for 25 years.”