Yes, we did. We succumbed to the lure of a bar named Hoxton in 'Athens' Trendy Gazi District', which is not unlike 'London's Edgy East End', which latterly became 'London's Trendy Shoreditch'.
The parallels are there. The mini piazza it borders, surrounding Votanikos Metro is surrounded by bars on a slightly larger scale than Hoxton Square. It's a little bit out of the way, and a short walk in any direction can give you a minor dose of the fear in a touristy sort of way, so I get the analogy. Need a cash machine? Not a chance, Old Street down to the details.
However, what's most scary is how the designers of the bar itself have managed to so directly rip off Lux Bar circa 1999 in a way that not even the Lux itself (now the Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen) manages to do anymore. In fact, the only other place doing an equally passable impression, right down to the Goldfrapp and Peaches soundtrack, is the Dalston Superstore.
Hoxton / Shoreditch has become a recognisable and therefore replicable brand with a fixed identity and style, much like any other tourist destination in the city, Theatreland, Chinatown, Mayfair, Bond Street, you can picture each just from it's moniker. However there is an issue here. At the very heart of the SoSho image is it's assumed identity as anti-brand, anti-commercialism and position at the forefront, all of which which is mutually exclusive to what it has become.
Sound familiar? Maybe we need to coin a new phrase. In the same way as we describe the verbification of nouns in linguistics, perhaps we should described the Camdenisation of the periphery in urban theory.
Hoxton Athens is a lovely bar with a great crowd, but I think the last little bit of London's Edgy East End just died in there. Or maybe that was just the smell of the loos.