Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes is as creative and unique as the name suggests and, located in Shoreditch, it would be a travesty if it didn’t have some kind of artistic integrity. A big fan of the arty East London scene, Dream Bags is a nice ten minute walk down the road from work - perfect distance for me to grab a cocktail and pizza before heading home...
Dream Bags is the flagship venue of the Jaguarshoes Collective, which specialises in bringing art, music and parties together in four creatively focused and trendy locations in Dalston and Shoreditch. Each establishment has its own heritage and roots ranging from a decommissioned train station to a long standing British pub. Dream Bags is no exception to this theme and was once a bag and shoe wholesalers in the 1980's - naturally in keeping with the group's creative genius the name stuck and so did the original signage at the front of the shop. Inside, there is nothing standard or commercialised about this open planned venue. Throughout its time, the walls and bar have been redecorated with colour and artistic freedom, while the furniture comes in the form of an eclectic mish-mash of 1970s office chairs, wooden communal tables, benches and white diner tables for smaller groups to occupy.
Atmosphere and Clientele
On my visit, there was an array of wine bottles scattered amongst groups of friends to share as they nibbled on footlong pizzas, or a selection of antipasti, starters and sides. We came with the intention of dining, but the majority of groups here seemed to be visiting for a quick catch-up cocktail, vino and snacks, or something nice and easy to share for a light dinner. Dream Bags' architectural features are certainly designed for its clientele with high ceilings and a glass-panelled front creating a light, spacious feel and thus an easy going and socially inducing atmosphere.
The Food and Drink
Gone are my days of thick crust, cheese oozing, greasy (but I will admit oh so satisfying) pizzas from the local kebab shop, which have given way for the new days of fresh, authentically thin stone-baked Italian equivalents. With that in mind, Dream Bags serves food by Amici Miei with a repertoire of family recipe, made-to-order pizzas using quality Sardinian ingredients, and tasty topping combinations.
Whilst perusing the pizza choices, it dawned on me that what used to be a unique mix of flavours has now become the new norm on most pizza menus across the city; thus placing extra attention to the look and taste quality of the pizza. Feeling rather peckish we ordered the Insalata Galosa - Parma ham, Scamorza cheese, tomato and basil - and the Vegetali Al Caprino - Roasted Vegetables (aubergines, courgettes, peppers) and goats cheese - for starters, and both were very generously portioned to the point where if I wasn't so hungry, I could have ordered that as a main with a side dish.
I then opted for the Whimsical - Tomato, Mozzarella, Artichoke, Anchovies, Capers, Roast Ham and Mushrooms - the crisp golden, puffed up edges held in the crowd of toppings and melted rounds of mozzarella - oh would I have regretted not trying this! To quench our thirst - and feeling suitably Italian - I sipped on a Negroni before dinner, wine to pair and then a perfect after dinner velvety yet strong Espresso Martini; ending my night wide-eyed and comfortably satisfied.
Not intending for a late night, we soon looked down at our watches to realise we'd been sat here quite happily for four hours. If in need of a chilled out drink after work, Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes is definitely your place, but do make sure you have the whole evening free as you'll find it's easy to settle in for the night at this no-rush, easy-going Shoreditch watering hole.