British artist and art collector Damien Hirst and collaborator Mark Hix are set to open a new restaurant called Pharmacy 2. Newport Street Gallery, which opened in Lambeth, south London, in October 2015 will play host to new his restaurant. The venue currently features exhibitions from Damien Hirst’s personal art collection and entry to the gallery is free. The restaurant is set to function as a canteen for visitors during the day, then come evening after the gallery closes, it will be serving British and European dishes with Mark Hix behind the food.
This is not Hirst’s first foray into the restaurant business, Pharmacy was a restaurant located in Notting Hill which first opened its doors in 1998. The restaurant displayed Hirst’s artwork with his famous pill pictures on the walls and the pharmaceutical wallpaper that can be seen in the new Pharmacy 2 restaurant. For a brief time it was considered the place to eat, with Celebrity frequenters including David Bowie, Kate Moss and Madonna. Aside from being associated with Hirst, It gained further publicity due to a dispute with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain which claimed the restaurant name and the pill bottles and medical items on display could confuse people looking for a real pharmacy. As a result, the name was considered to be breaching the Medicines Act 1968, which restricts the use of the word “pharmacy”. The restaurant subsequently re-named to Army Chap and then Achy Ramp, both anagrams of the word Pharmacy. The restaurant eventually closed in September 2003, with Hirst going on to earn over £11 million when the artwork was sold at auction.
Pharmacy 2 will give visitors the opportunity to view some of Hirst’s art in an alternative and exciting environment. A number of Hirst’s works will also be exhibited throughout the restaurant, including extracts from the Butterfly Kaleidoscope and Medicine Cabinet series. The interior design pays close attention to detail with bar-stools in the shape of tablets, pills are embroidered into the leather booths and the gallery’s windows are beautifully etched with DNA designs creating a provocative stained glass effect.
“Pharmacy 2 combines two of my greatest passions; art and food. I’ve always loved Mark as a chef and his approach to food, so it’s great we’re working together on this.” – Damien Hirst
“Damien and I have been friends for many years, sharing a love of food and art. Damien designed a formaldehyde ‘Cock and Bull’ for my restaurant Tramshed so it makes sense for me to exchange my skills by creating the menus at Pharmacy 2”. – Mark Hix
Pharmacy 2 opens 23 February 2016 at Newport St, London SE11 6AJ. Opening hours will be 10am to 12 midnight, Tuesday to Saturday (gallery closes at 6pm) and 10am to 6pm on Sundays.
Photography is by Prudence Cuming Associates, courtesy of 2H Restaurant Ltd.