Recently in Drink - bars and public houses Category


The Black Sheep Bar,

68 High Street,

touts itself as the only "alternative" music venue left in Croydon.

Latitude: N51:22:17 (51.371372)
Longitude: W0:06:02 (-0.100694)


However, possibly due to the malign influence of the nearby Home Office Borders Agency offices, their decision to turn into a private club, which enforces its door policy, not just with bouncers and CCTV surveillance, but also with Photo ID and a Biometric Fingerprint scanning system and (insecure) database, makes it a place to avoid

The appalling Black Sheep Bar biometric membership web page exceeds the bureaucratic requirements of the most repressive of secret police surveillance state dystopias.

George Orwell's Winston Smith did not have to go through fingerprint scanning in order to be sold his Victory Gin !

Welcome to the Black Sheep Bar's website. We are a members only bar, if you are coming down and you aren't already a member please bring photo ID (driving licence or passport) with you to sign up.

The Intouch system is a biometric door entry system (it recognises fingerprints). In order to become a member we require that you have your photo taken and provide a form of identification (driving licence or passport).

The biometric fingerprint club / pub door entry system seems to be the inTouch system, now marketed by idscan biometrics.

The fact that it is relatively cheap (£700 for the software and one fingerprint scanner), but does not offer any built in strong encryption makes it unlikely that it will be installed with sufficient physical security to prevent the entire system being stolen or copied.

To apply for membership we require such personal data as your full name, postal address, telephone number, date of birth, a photograph of you and your finger characteristics. We will occasionally need to collect and use sensitive personal data about you, for example, your conduct in our premises to ensure a safe and pleasant environment for our customers, staff and members of the public.

We collect and use personal data about you for the general provision of our services, we will disclose any data if required to do so by law or to comply with a legal process or where permitted to protect and defend our rights and property and to protect the personal safety of our customers, staff and members of the public. By providing your personal data to us you agree to these terms.

As with all other fingerprint scanning systems used in public places, what about the biological infection risk from bacteria and viruses which will contaminate the fingerprint scanner ?

Fingerprint scanners never get washed or sterilised, do they, so the risk of spreading pandemic infectious diseases like Swine Flu etc. is substantial.

Cyberpunks and any other freedom and liberty loving or public health conscious people should boycott this totalitarian venue in Croydon.

UPDATE: 5th November 2009

If you look up entry Z8210589 for Bossicks's Restaurants Limited / Black Sheep Bar, on the Information Commissioner's Office Register of Data Controllers you will find only one Data Purpose which has been registered.

This was registered back in 2003, presumably before the fingerprint system was installed, and is only for the CCTV surveillance system, so technically this fingerprint system and club membership database is illegal under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Fitzrovia - Be The Reds / Cyberia cyber cafe [currently shut]


Update 20th August 2009 - currently shut for re-furbishment - will it ever open as a cyber café again ?


Just behind Goodge Street Tube Station, parallel with the Tottenham Court Road, is the site of what was the pioneering Cyber Café which started on 1st September 1994, with a single 64Kbs leased line and ten or so computers.

This is now currently run by Korean business interests as the Be The Reds (named after the South Korean world cup football team slogan) internet and gaming café , with a downstairs basement bar, and Karaoke booths, and an upstairs online role playing or shoot 'em up gaming parlour.

They deliberately have no website,but are located at 39 Whitfield Street (corner with Scala Street), W1T 2SF, telephone 020-7209-0984, fax: 020-7813-2825



GPS grid coordinates:
Latitude: (WGS84) N51:31:12 ( 51.519987 )
Longitude: (WGS84) W0:08:06 ( -0.135036 )

British Museum


British Museum
Great Russell Street


GPS grid coordinates:
Latitude: (WGS84) N51:31:08 ( 51.518970 )
Longitude: (WGS84) W0:07:35 ( -0.126501 )

The British Museum is close to the TUC conference centre, and the Forbidden Planet Megastore, where the William Gibson readings and signings from Spook Country are scheduled (see the Ground Zero category links)


The Great Court is an elegant roofed over central courtyard, with cafés and restaurants which is open

Sunday – Wednesday 09.00–18.00
Thursday, Friday, Saturday 09.00–23.00

See Ground Floor Plan showing the Great Court, and the cafes and bars and shops etc.

The British Museum houses a vast array of exhibits, some of which may be of interest to, CyberPunk fans of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, such as cuneiform clay tablets and seals from ancient Sumeria etc.

Soho - CroBar - Manette Street


The CroBar is a bar which attracts a slightly more well to do (bourbon rather than beer) rock music crowd than The Intrepid Fox.

It is at 17 Manette Street, opposite the side entrance to Foyles Bookshop on Charing Cross Road. Next door is a shop which sells various occult items.



GPS grid coordinates:
Latitude: (WGS84) N51:30:53 ( 51.514830 )
Longitude: (WGS84) W0:07:51 ( -0.130807 )

Chinatown - New Laughing Buddha restaurant - Macclesfield Street


There seems to be a growing consensus amongst the William Gibson Board tourists (see the Hacking the Gibson, in London! discussion thread) that they will meet up for a Chinese meal at the

New Laughing Buddha restaurant
12 Macclesfield Street,

although precisely when, is as yet unclear.

Macclesfield Street is about halfway along Gerrard Street, the main street in Chinatown.

The restaurant is next door to the De Hems public house which specialises in beers from the Netherlands, which is not too crowded in the afternoon, but is usually packed out in the evening.

Macclesfield_Street_New_Laughing_Buddha_1_300.jpg The New laughing Buddha is to the right of the Chinese ceremonial gateway in this picture, looking away from Gerrard Street.


GPS grid coordinates:
Latitude: (WGS84) N51:30:43 ( 51.512040 )
Longitude: (WGS84) W0:07:52 ( -0.131224 )

Point 101 Bar - New Oxford Street


Another candidate for a William Gibson Board tourist meet up is the Point 101 bar, also in the shadow of Centre Point at 101 New Oxford Street.


This has two floors, with a glass frontage, and is quite large, but it can be crowded in the evening.


The Intrepid Fox public house

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The Intrepid Fox public house, 15 St.Giles High Street

The Intrepid Fox public house, used to be situated in Soho, and was (in)famous as a music venue which attracted "alternative" lifestyle people. After the original site was sold to property speculators, it has moved to take over the former Sanctuary public house, in St.Giles High Street, in the shadow of Centre Point.


In this former guise, as the Sanctuary, it was the location for the overspill book signing of Virtual Light by William Gibson, back in 1994, which due to happen in the old Forbidden Planet bookshop, which was then on New Oxford Street.

This makes it very close to both of the Ground Zero events - the book reading / signing event locations at the Trades Union Congress conference centre in Great Russell Street on Tuesday 28th August at 7pm, and the signing at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, in Shaftesbury Avenue,on Wednesday 29th at 1pm - 2pm.

The pub has retained the decor of the old venue, but has more space,and, importantly for some, now that the "no smoking in public places"law has come into force in England, a bit of a walled patio where smokers can perch themselves, whilst still being "not more than 50% enclosed", without spilling out into the traffic.

It is a strong candidate venue for William Gibson Board tourists to meet up at before or after the events for a drink.


GPS grid coordinates:
Latitude: (WGS84) N51:30:58 ( 51.516017 )
Longitude: (WGS84) W0:07:45 ( -0.129101 )

N.B. this whole area around Centre Point, St.Giles High Street and High Holborn is not a safe place to be on your own at night - there is a lot of street crime from aggressive beggars, drug addicts, muggers etc. who uphold the old historical tradition of the notorious 18th and 19th Century slum The Rookery, which used to occupy this area, and which was illustrated by the engraver William Hogarth in Gin Lane etc.


Polonium-210: Millennium Hotel, 44 Grosvenor Square


Pine Bar, Millennium Hotel,
44 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, London, UK W1K 2HP

This is where the massive lethal dose of 210Polonium is alleged to have been administered to Alexander Litvinenko in a cup of tea, perhaps by Andre Lugovoi



GPS grid coordinates:
Latitude: (WGS84) N51:30:39 ( 51.510718 )
Longitude: (WGS84) W0:09:04 ( -0.151079 )

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This documents and analyses William Gibson's novel Spook Country which has some London locations, and from which this London CyberPunk Tourist Guide was spawned.

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