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In Photos: The Legendary Trisha's In Soho
Patrick Clarke , May 14th, 2020 10:46

Trisha's, one of the last remaining vestiges of old Soho, is currently crowdfunding for its survival. Alex Eden-Smith and Matt Davey, who have been taking photographs of its patrons for the last year, tell us about what we'll lose if the bar doesn't make it.

Among the many, many cultural institutions that are on the brink of collapse as the coronavirus lockdown obliterates their income, The New Evaristo Club, better known as Trisha's after its Liverpudlian owner Trisha Bergonzi, would be one of the most sorely missed.

A member's club, tucked away in a basement on Greek Street in London, it is one of the very last vestiges of a Soho overtaken by chain coffee stores and overpriced eateries. It's even said you can get two drinks for under a fiver. Lifetime membership is only £10, but without it the likes of Jimmy Page, James Gandolfini, Mark Ronson and Liam Gallagher have all been refused entry.

They are currently crowdfunding for their survival, and we implore you contribute to their GoFundMe here

Among their many dedicated patrons are Alex Eden-Smith and Matt Davey, who for the last year have been taking photographs of the bar as part of an ongoing project. You can find a selection of their images throughout this article, and a gallery of them all below.

tQ: Can you remember the first time you went to Trisha's?

Alex Eden-Smith: My earliest impressions were that it was more like entering someone’s living room than a bar, it has an intimacy that grabs you immediately. It can be uncomfortable if you’re not expecting it and I’ve certainly taken people there that are freaked out by the lack of the normal luxuries like personal space but i loved it immediately.

Matt Davey: I was taken there by a friend in 2006. I paid £5 for a lifetime membership and was signed in by a middle-aged drag queen and an ex-bankrobber.

What made you want to come back?

AE-S: I came back time after time with different assortments of people in tow for years and i found that the more you go, the more you want to come back. Gradually you start to see the same people time after time and get to know them. A night at Trisha’s is never dull or predictable.

MD: The characters you meet. All human life is there and there’s nowhere else quite like it in Soho.

Tell me more about the photo project, when did it begin and what was the idea behind it?

AE-S: We had been discussing doing a photo project on Soho nightlife and, partly inspired by Anders Petersen’s Café Lehmitz, it suddenly clicked that we needed to document Trisha’s while it was still there.

MD: We’re both lucky enough to have day jobs in creative industries but our working lives are usually spent facilitating the creativity of other people rather than indulging in any projects of our own. We had both bonded over a shared love of old cameras, photography, music and drinking, so we thought it would be fun to do a joint project combining all of the above. Starting in Feb 2019, we had a rough plan to shoot one Friday night per month, for a year. We’re now working on a book/zine so that some of the regulars have a document of the place, even if it is only just a tiny snapshot of the bar’s 78 year history.

What do you think Soho loses if Trisha doesn't survive the coronavirus lockdown?

AE-S: Another nail in the coffin for independent and eccentric London. Trisha’s is open and embracing of everyone, no matter who you are or what you look like and that’s something to be celebrated and held on to. There are very few bars in London where talking to strangers is pretty much expected, Trisha’s has a way of breaking down people’s normal guardedness and cool.

MD: It's an important part of Soho's history and the only ‘members' bar around that feels genuinely inclusive.

Which is your favourite of the photos you've sent and why?

AE-S: Matt’s shot of the table with the spilt wine, the littered drinks and the fragments of limbs around the edge of the photo. It’s at once sinister and amusing.

MD: Alex’s shot of the jazz band. The old boy in the suit wasn’t the official singer in the band I don’t think, just a regular punter and they welcomed him onstage to sing ‘Pennies From Heaven’.

Do you have a particular favourite Trisha's memory?

AE-S: I ended up there once on my own after a particularly flat New Year’s Eve celebration. On the way home i thought, i’ll just pop into Trisha’s for one. It’s an odd thing to turn up to a bar on your own and even odder on New Year’s Eve but Trisha’s is always welcoming (as long as Nabil is in a good mood).

MD: I remember very little from my nights at Trisha’s. That’s one of the reasons we bring the cameras.

Click through the links below to view a selection of Eden-Smith and Davey's photos. You can contribute to Trisha's GoFundMe here. You can follow Alex Eden-Smith on Instagram here, and Matt Davey here.

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