Pharmacy-Themed Restaurant to Open in London
Artist Damien Hirst is opening a pharmacy-themed restaurant in a London neighborhood later this month.
Artist Damien Hirst has opened a pharmacy-themed restaurant in a London neighborhood.
The Pharmacy 2 restaurant is located at the Newport Street Gallery, so visitors have both a chance to imbibe and view art at the same time.
Pharmacy 2’s seats have pills emblazoned on the back cushions, and one side of the bar is made up of shelving units of pharmacy products. The bar also features a panel of rainbow-colored tablets, and above it is a neon sign that says “prescriptions.”
The Evening Standard reported that there is also a cabinet full of products that Hirst has taken during his life, including Bonjela products, diazepam, mouthwash, and gastro-resistant tablets.
Hirst collaborated with Mark Hix, a chef and restauranteur, on Pharmacy 2. The head chef will be Kevin Gratton, according to The Evening Standard.
Pharmacy 2’s website says it serves classic British and European food. Some of the items on the menu include a sweet potato and squash curry, lamb and turnip pie, fish and chips, and linguini with crab.
“It’s not going to be completely British,” Hix told The Evening Standard. “The ingredients obviously will be. We’ll do some classics, and it’ll be a weekly-changing menu. …I work a bit like an artist in that sense—what’s a good idea one minute is not necessarily a good idea the following day.”
The bar was scheduled to open on February 23, 2016.
The first Pharmacy restaurant, which was located in Notting Hill, London, opened in 1998 and closed in 2003. It was originally referred to as “Army Chap,” an anagram of “pharmacy.”
When it first opened, Pharmacy received the prize for best-designed restaurant from the Carlton London Restaurant Award.
“Its convincing pharmaceutical appearance led to threats of legal action by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society for misleading the public,” Hirst’s website noted.
The society argued that Pharmacy violated the Medicines Act 1968 by deceiving the public into believing the building was a pharmacy. Hirst claimed on his website that a woman asked him for an aspirin there once, but he told her they had a strict no-drug policy.
Back in 1998, The Independent reported that Charles Pullan, the restaurant’s manager at the time, said some patrons used to come into Pharmacy looking for prescriptions to be filled. He would try not to embarrass them and direct them to a Boots pharmacy down the street.
The first Pharmacy restaurant was less colorful, featuring white lighting, chairs, tables, and shelving, which were full of pharmaceutical products. It also featured a bar area with mirrors, blue lighting, and a panel of blue pills beneath where the drinks were served.
In the men’s bathroom, the urinals were made out of a glass case filled with syringes and rubber gloves, according to The Telegraph.
After Pharmacy closed, the items were auctioned and Hirst earned around $15 million, according to The Pharmaceutical Journal. A set of 6 pill-shaped bar stools went for around $22,000 alone.