Getting Hygge with it: Muddy Drinks
Look guys, it doesn’t matter how you choose to phrase the word Hygge, do what it takes to beat a path to a cosy candlelit table at Northampton’s smart new Scandinavian bar. And when there, treat yourself to an ice cold glass of wine, or challenge yourself (as Mr. Muddy has) to working through a constantly refreshed menu of draft and bottled craft beers.
You like potato and I like potahto
You like tomato and I like tomahto
Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto…
Actually Hygge, pronounced ‘Hooga’ is a Danish word with no exact translation into English (think cosiness), but know this my dear friends, in Northampton it translates into ‘great place to duck into with the family, to break up Shopping Saturday’ or ‘perfectly sophisticated date night haunt, especially handy before a trip to the Royal Derngate Theatre or Errol Flynn Cinema’. On a cold February night, Mr. Muddy and I were happy (nay, grateful) to find refuge with the friendly team, and the low-lit simple décor on offer. Think classic Danish rather than screaming children running around demanding more meatballs on a rainy (never ending) Sunday in Milton Keynes and you’re in the zone.
Attached to the Derngate Theatre, and the brainchild of Royal & Derngate’s Chief Executive Martin Sutherland, the bar offers a refreshing change to other venues within the Town Centre, not least because there is simply nothing quite like it.
Now that I have developed a palate for craft Ale (See We Hart Beer), I was delighted to see that the menu includes local favourites alongside an alluring list of all that is best from around the world.
Even more impressive is the menu, which is dated, and updated regularly with new arrivals. Don’t like beer (What????), Hygge also offers a ‘not beer’ menu containing fine wines and spirits. Those Danish/Northampton types seem to have the balance right that’s for certain. At this point I have to mention, that the bottled beers are served in an impressive array of (lovely) glasses, all designed to help you enjoy, rather than simply, imbibe what’s on offer.
On this particular night, two craft beers down, and feeling a little light headed, we ordered from a light bite menu of British cheeses and cold meats which come served with pickled food stuffs. Our waitress, I think she was called Meaghan, was just lovely, AND it was table service, result for my aching legs (Pilates, not too much shopping on this occasion). As it was, we had dinner planned elsewhere for later that evening, which in retrospect was a good call as the plates were tasty, but more of an amuse-bouche or snack (be warned, I can pack it away), although ideal for us on this occasion.
The concept of Hygge makes this venue an ideal stop off on a chilly Scandinavian style night (or as we Northampton types refer to as ‘anytime between September and June’. I can’t wait to revisit when it warms up again, and we can take advantage of Summer ales, before enjoying Northampton’s nearby cultural quarter and increasingly popular outdoor concerts and street festivals that the town is becoming well known for. Bar Hygge seems like an ideal start point for those good times.
It’s open everyday except Sunday, from 5pm to midnight, with an entrance both on Guildhall Road and inside the Derngate itself. Kids are welcome with responsible (ahem) parents until 7pm, which means that in the true sense of Hygge – everyone is welcome (even the suspect dude below).
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Theatre/film goers, couples, groups of mates out of an evening, families with older kids.
Not for: Lovers of the Kath Kidston or cottage country vibe. This is pure Scandi decor, all warm woods and cool metal fittings.
££: £4 to £7 for bottle beers, but you get what you pay for, and the choice is good; draft comes in 1/3, 1/2 and 2/3 glasses, £1.35 £2.10 £2.70 respectively (depending on beer).
Bar Hygge, 21 Guildhall Road, Northampton (same building as The Royal and Derngate)