One of many reasons to visit Walthamstow, the cavernous bar known as Mirth, Marvel & Maud has been through many incarnations in its impressive 131-year history. Beloved of Hitchcock and visited by The Beatles and the Stones, this place has been used for arts, entertainment, and cinema. And now, cocktails.
You could be forgiven for walking past this venue on Walthamstow’s main drag without batting an eyelid – save for the large ‘MIRTH’ above the canopy visible from the opposite side of the street. The faded grandeur of its Hoe Street exterior does little to reveal the palatial space you’ll discover through the doors. The name at first seems rather curious. It stems from the owner’s great aunt Maud, who took him to a similar place once before, inspiring him to bring ‘mirth’ back to this Walthamstow ‘marvel.’
Entering into the high-ceilinged foyer, you’ll be wowed by evident glamour and greeted by the cute as heck 1930s style ticket-booth-cum-cocktail bar, dubbed ‘Mirth’. It serves up all the classics, as well as a delicious list of innovative and exciting concoctions like their Lavender Field Rummer, made with their own lavender syrup. The bar downstairs champions local breweries and serves up craft ales. The venue space currently features a cinema room, ‘Maud’, and their mezzanine restaurant, running along the back wall. The venue hosts live music, DJs, theatre, comedy performance art, spoken word, and of course, film.
Mirth, Marvel & Maud pays homage to the building’s former Art Deco splendour, boasting contemporary decor with a twist. Vintage furniture and pinball machines bring kitsch and cosy charm. As the building is Grade-II listed, many of the original features are still in place; grand marble staircases are flanked by tall mirrors and gold detailing.
Forever threatened by change and proposed redevelopment, Mirth, Marvel & Maud began life as the Granada Theatre – a cine-variety venue, and one of the first public spaces in London showing the new medium of film in 1896. It was almost turned into a church until it was saved by a community effort, with big names like Mick Jagger, Boris Johnson, Meera Syal, and Stella Creasy lending their support to the campaign.
186 Hoe Street