Viktor Wynd, creator, writer, antiquarian and founder of London's beloved Lost Society is renowned for being a man that takes no pleasure in classification, conformity or comprehensiveness, and it's more than echoed in his cavern of curiosity. An amalgamation of shop, museum and bar, I went to lock lips around the absolute peak of the sui generis.
Split between two floors, we were first met by the candlelit hue of the bar and a backroom. A bijou and macabre space with all but four odd tables to choose from (ours being the corker with a taxidermy lion, all propped and proud. Talk about when the lion, not the tiger came for tea) this compact nook of skeletons, coral candlelight and taxidermy is but the start of Wynd's wonders as a gold, avant-garde staircase takes you to a basement of almost anything and everything. Remember that part about non-conformity? Here's your justification.
A museum with little to no ties to a theme, even boasting a dining table that totes an interspersed skeleton, this petite palace of off-kilter trinkets feels like stepping inside an antiquarian warp. Cabinets brim with anything from fish bones and retro McDonalds toys, to an elephant skull, shrunken heads and a homage to Sebastian Horsley of crucifixion fame. Propped in the corner in amongst bones and African artifacts? We came across two fine folk and their selection of animals. A pop-up petting zoo with cuddling constrictors, leopard geckos and a lazy lump of a bullfrog? It's the least you should expect from this Museum of Curiosities. I'll be honest, there's nothing in that room I wouldn't want to purchase and prop up in my imaginary future home, gecko included. I'll be seeing you in a different, and hopefully far better housing climate Mr Wynd.
I'll be honest, there was no time for food (of which they serve a selection of plates, and even offered to knock up a salad for us heathens later on in the night). But, in spending too much time cuddling snakes downstairs and sealing our place in the, 'they'll really touch anything, won't they' category, we were past hungry hankerings. But drinking? Now that, we could do.
Kicking off with wine and a bottle of Slag's beer, of course, this place was darn affordable at no more than £4 a pop. But as is with wine, bravery comes a knocking and you don your dunce/cocktail hat. The menu is actually pretty strong here, and boasts the same whims of the venues interiors, echoing its themes and trinkets. But they're hard, and potent, so bear that in mind when ordering. While we knocked back a swimmingly sweet 'B Flip' with bourbon, maple syrup, egg and nutmeg alongside a more tart pick in the shape of the orange marmalade and scotch toting 'Blood & Sand', guests can also gorge on the likes of a chestnut liquer and Prosseco proud 'Le Chat' or a 'Shrunken Head' with dark rum, honey and absinthe.
There's no doubt that a venue toting dead trinkets, double headed kittens and a giant crab skeleton already makes something of an enviroment for itself, without even the need for people; but with a gaggle from the party in a private room out back, couples canoodling over things in the venue they'd never dare touch, and a live petting zoo downstairs, the introduction of folk is still a pretty fine one. While I can't deny that Tim Maynard's Mini Zoo (a regular visitor to the venue) left me reeling even more than the candelit dim, and the adrenaline rush from having a millipede around my mitts really got the night off right, Viktor Wynd's museum is an embracing and eccentric hug, even if that comes from the arms of a dead lion perched at your table.
Whether its for talking point, tales of bravery or pure interest alone, Viktor Wynd's Museum of Curiosities has to be one of London's must-trys. Mixed in with lush cocktails, affordable glasses of glug and candlelit chameleon cuddling, this haven of a hardened collector is just, so, gratifying.
And, considering that most of you likely don't own the golden laced hippo head of a once drug dealer (if you do, how about we get to know one another?), dabble in celebrity faeces, or own a double-bodied lamb, i've got a feeling that curiosity won't kill the cat, but it might just be coming for you.