Island Social Club
Summer in the city is the season for BBQ’s, festivals, and day parties. As the invitational messages alert on our smartphones and DM’s slide in, we caught up with Joe Pilgrim, 1/3 of Island Social Club who are bringing in the festival vibes to North London this weekend…
Island Social Club is a Rum & Roti shop that endeavours to bring authentic Caribbean cuisine, beverages and experiences to British culture. Inspired by a trip to Grenada, Joe was moved by how ingrained drinking rum was in the Caribbean lifestyle, and soon became passionate about creating a genuine Caribbean rum experience for Britons.
Sick of Ray and Nephew, and other standard rum brands, Joe, Biko and Marie created ‘Everybody’s’, a pop up rum bar in Hackney that used imported rum to infuse standard cocktails with tropical Caribbean flavours, which truly reflect “the Caribbean rum experience. We had a desire to share Rum that wasn’t available in the UK.”
All without a bartender background, Joe tells us that mixing drinks is no easy feet at the best of times, let alone as a novice, “Balancing flavours and the nuances that come with making a drink is really an incredible skill. We use existing recipes and do our own thing to make something that tastes good, is purposeful and fun", and out of ‘Everybody’s’, ‘Island Social Club’ was cooked up.
Balancing flavours are not the only thing Island Social Club harmonise, merging cultural inspirations is important to them too, "London is rich in culture and has a massive drinks scene. People are doing some really artisanal things with drinks, so that’s inspiration right there!".
The movement of the Windrush caused a new culture to emerge on British shores, and this shift changed the demographic of the British population and formed a new type of British experience. From his experience living in the UK and travelling to Grenada, Joe articulates that “Cultures exist, and over time, parts of that culture move, and then a sub-culture is created”; this sub-culture is what we know to be ‘Black British’.
Although African and Caribbean citizens only make up 3% of the British population, the heritage of those cultures has been heavily engrained into the British millennial culture especially in fashion, music and especially food. Joe explains that generating a Caribbean experience is not the manifesto for Island Social Club, but instead “we are trying to help identify what the UK Caribbean culture is because that’s to be celebrated too. It’s all about people recognising things from their ‘home’ here. We are not only selling rum punch and roti, we are selling the culture.”
Island Social Club are hosting their first launch event this Saturday at STYX, Tottenham from 2pm with the help of some amazing DJ’s. It’s guaranteed to include incredible food and fire cocktails that are “every colour of flames”. Get your tickets here!
Socialise with Island Social Club
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