Vice, “The Hilton Opened an ‘Anarchist’ Cocktail Bar in London. The Drinks Are £14”

The hotel chain changed the branding of its “Freedom Cafe” in East London, after a local anarchist group complained that it ripped them off.

By Simon Childs, April 12, 2022

East London anarchists have accused the Hilton hotel chain of copying their radical image and history as branding for a luxury bar for “wanky City types” where cocktails cost up to £14.

The Freedom Cafe was supposed to be East London’s anarcho-communism themed cocktail lounge. When it opened in October customers could sit on a sleek leather chair and spend £13 on a vodka concoction named “the Russian Anarchist” after Peter Kropotkin, who escaped to London after being arrested in Tsarist Russia for subversive political activity. Or for just £11 they could order a virgin cocktail called “Why Work?”, “named after a provocative series of essays dissecting work, its forms under capitalism and the possibilities for an alternative society producing for our needs, rather than mere avarice”.

The cafe was named after the historic Freedom Press anarchist publisher down the road in Whitechapel. The bar’s menu was even made to look like a copy of Freedom Press, the anarchist journal published since 1886, with “Anarchist Weekly” written on the top of the page. It offered, “Anarchy, coffee, drinks and comfort food”.

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