The Thin White Duke is a brand new, all-day drinking and dining venue to work, play and create. Offering cicchetti, cocktails and speciality coffee, alongside members’ recording studio suites, this beautifully designed space on Great Windmill Street is set to become a Soho hub for music-oriented creatives and contemporaries in which to collaborate, create and celebrate.
The Thin White Duke is the brainchild of production designer Sasha and musician Giovanni Almonte. Stylish and experimental, with nods to Berlin and Japan, the venue’s design and aesthetic reflects the many styles of David Bowie. Featuring an all-day cicchetti menu, an expertly designed cocktail menu from Dav Eames and coffee by Girls Who Grind, The Thin White Duke will offer a social and creative space, day and night.
Eames’s drinks, which are subtle references to Bowie records, include:
● Just Visiting – Quince infused Tequila, blood orange & rosemary syrup, Prosecco
● Rum from the Shadows – Golden rum, punt e mes, ginger liqueur, cynar bitters
● Lovers’ Eyes – Apple brandy, aperol, rhubarb & ginger syrup, lemon
● Gin & Milk – Pink pepper gin, almond milk & white tea syrup
● Four Walls Black – Coffee bean infused Bourbon, antica formula, cherry heering, chocolate bitters
● “…away” – Mezcal, yellow chartreuse, maraschino, lemon absinthe
● Bel-Air Boulevardier – Rye whiskey, Campari, punt e mes, antica formula, absinthe
Equipped with all the gear, instruments and acoustics needed to create amazing recordings across two unique control rooms and a shared overdub room, The Thin White Duke is a space where people can meet, create and be inspired by each other, all in a nurturing and muse-worthy environment. Whether it’s grabbing a coffee, working from a laptop, an evening cocktail by night or a supper between friends; everyone is invited to sit down and stay awhile in a beautiful setting.
Regular performances from members and artists will take place alongside talks, readings, screenings and workshops. Members will have access to a set of subterranean studios manned by an in-house engineer, offering a unique opportunity to make and create in the moment of inspiration and conception.
There will be a tiered membership offering launching in spring time for use of the recording spaces, which will range from a full all access option to restricted timings, as well as more affordable options for young musicians who are finding their feet in London. Membership will cap at 60 to ensure members have enough access.
The Thin White Duke is a distinctly design-led space, paying homage to Bowie’s love of culture and self-expression. His Thin White Duke persona was inspired by the Queer Cabaret scene of Berlin during the 1920s and 30s; a scene the Nazis did their best to stamp out.
“I am a set designer and Giovanni is a musician. We have dedicated our lives to art, beauty and community. We see this place as an extension of who we are and in honour of a man whose life was an example of fearless living that flew in the face of oppressive attitudes, which we also aim to embody.” says founder Sasha Almonte. “Like all of Bowie’s personalities, the Thin White Duke was not without his controversy; yet the Duke was never meant to be a straightforward hero. Rather, Bowie – a contemporary Pierrot, was interested in reflecting flaws through adopting satirical personas of social criticism and commentary, just as he explored the dangers of drug abuse through Major Tom or the dark side of celebrity worship through Ziggy Stardust. One need only listen to Bowie’s anthemic anti-skinhead protest song ‘Under the God’, which excoriates the rise of Neo-Nazism, to see where his true feelings lie.”
The design is led by two different and discordant visions, healed together – as in the art of Kintsugi – to reveal surprising elements as guests explore the space. Upstairs, an industrial aesthetic reflects mid 70s Berlin. An Irezumi tiger mural painted by tattoo artist Claudia de Sabe leads down to the recording studios and introduces a more fantastical style of decor, reflecting Bowie’s love of oriental fashion and design.
Unique in their emphasis on design, the recording studios regard beauty and function in equal measure. The first studio – the Kyoto Room – is a relaxing salon space inspired by 19th century Japonisme and Bowie’s fascination with Japan, while the second – the Seminary – features a high church aesthetic and a stained glass mural of Bowie surrounded by adoring saints, created by Danielle Croft of Luna Glassworks. They are linked by the vocal booth – a fantasia with floor-to-ceiling designs from Christian Lacroix.
‘We are so excited to be opening The Thin White Duke on Great Windmill Street ’ Co-Founder Giovanni Almonte shares. “David Bowie was a lover of culture, made a home of the world, made a life that was far from oppressed or oppressive and we celebrate these values too. The Thin White Duke is a special, welcoming site in Soho, which we see as the epicentre of bohemian spirit and creativity in the UK music scene. We really want our guests to feel like they are entering not just another bar, but an immersive space – an inviting realm of surprise and inspiration.”
Open seven days a week, hours vary. Booking advised.
Image Credit: Lucy Richards