For those of you who, like me, are obscenely bitter about the lack of Olympics tickets in your possession, there is another way to experience Britain’s glorious games this summer…
The Fringe is set to be the coolest pop-up private members’ club – located just 100 metres from the Olympic Park entrance you will hear every bit of the action while indulging and relaxing in this stylish venue. It is set in a stunning four storey mid 20th Century Victorian stable; the building has undergone an extensive make-over so that the club is able to provide every amenity and luxury you could wish for. Located in Swan Wharf, it is far away from the London I know so well and my visit there was certainly not simple, but the party was definitely worth the trek.
The venue is authentically East End but encompasses modern London, embracing international culture and design. Select artist exhibitions take over some of the private rooms and suites, including works by renowned artist Tim Flach, who shows his Equus collection and Charlotte Cory, with her limited edition ‘Olympic’ Victorian photographic prints. It is a design-led space, offering an eclectic mix of high-end, vintage and bespoke furniture, fittings and lighting. Bespoke pieces from stunning French design house Baccarat will fit out the Fringe 2012 penthouse, with famed Philippe Stark crystal chandeliers and Swiss furniture designer Vitra’s select pieces throughout the venue. For food and drink they have brought in the very best. Specialist event caterers “Rhubarb” are in partnership with the Fringe 2012 and renowned bar operators Sweet & Chilli bring their unique brand of fine drinking to the experience.
We joined the hordes of press last week for the opening night, a chance to gobble canapés, drink champagne and most importantly have a sneak preview of the exciting space. Arriving from the special taxi service from Hackney Wick station, the ground floor was already buzzing. Glamorous women handed out delicious Ginford Christie and Olympic Orchard cocktails while a talk was given about the venue. We were then invited on staggered tours to view the building, which is still very much a chaotic work in progress. I felt a little concerned that they only have four weeks to finish their ambitious plans, but the results promise to be spectacular.
Finally we wandered up to the top floor, for the piece de resistance Penthouse. It is a lovely bright and airy room with awesome views of the Olympic Stadium and grounds. It was hard to imagine the hype and frenzy of the events when it was so silent outside, but I anticipate this room being an exhilarating place to experience the games. Moet champagne flowed for opening night and Rhubarb Catering’s canapés steadily emerged from the kitchen: lobster cornets, foie gras lollipops, roast lamb with rosemary, hot Welsh rarebit bites, and many more exceedingly yummy snackettes. We were treated like royalty and I soaked up the experience knowing I was unlikely to be rich or cool enough to get a ticket when The Fringe is open for real!
Goodie bags were given out with miniature bottles of Belvedere citrus vodka and bags of Rhubarb chocolates, a perfect nightcap for the journey home!
Swan Wharf, E3 2NG (Pre-booking only)
Individual tickets start from £90 per day with the option of multiple day tickets and group bookings. The top two floors are available for private bookings and events, which can be tailored to meet personalized entertaining needs. Bespoke food and drink is available for both floors. The top floor Penthouse offers a private terrace and concierge service making it an ideal flexible, entertaining space. The venue’s four floors boast 40,000 square feet holding up to 2,500 occupants and will serve as an all day and all night retreat from 9.00am until 2.00am. The Fringe 2012 offers premium food, bar and cocktail lounges and LCD screens broadcasting the main Olympic events as well as the best of British food at the ‘Great British Food Market’.