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The Dragon Bar 1998 - 2008


300 pages
Edited by Josh Jones & James-Lee Duffy
27.9 x 20.7 cm
Language: English
Publisher: Pavement Licker

Loads of brilliant, funny and important things happened at the Dragon Bar, and I can’t remember a single one of them. The vibe was probably a direct result of its time and place – when you get a dirty, neglected urban area that butts right up against one of the world’s biggest financial districts then sparks can fly. There was a collision between uptown money looking for thrills and down at heel artists on the make. I could never figure out who was exploiting who.” - Banksy

The Dragon Bar is the only book to document the birth of the street art movement - this is an oral history of the London’s iconic Dragon Bar featuring contributions from the pioneers of street art, including Banksy, Faile, INVADER, ELK, Mode 2, EINE, Lucie Flynn, CEPT, Sweet Toof, AIKO, James Jessop and many more.

It wasn’t obvious at the time that the Dragon Bar in London’s Old Street was to be an era-defining place filled with decade-defining artists. No one knew these people would go on to do the things they did but when we looked back, and asked around, the artists agreed. The Dragon Bar was a moment in art history that deserves a book about it...

The Dragon Bar toilets were legendarily graffitied, there were block parties out the back and the gallery space upstairs was given to artists for free. Banksy had his first ever London show there, Faile and Bäst had their first UK shows there, INVADER stuck one of his space invaders outside. And then it mysteriously burned down…

It was a moment, you know? I really think it was like the CBGB’s of London for that art culture in that moment. There were a lot of amazing established artists and street artists that rolled through there. It was a really fun time." - Faile

When the history is written, street artists in the late 1990s and early 2000s are to London what the Lost Generation was to Paris in the 1920s: the city and the art are irreplaceable to each other. And key to that history is the community and cultural life that the art forms took into the nightlife. Debauchery and libations are part of the fabric of the scene, and a folklore rises from it. The Dragon Bar was most definitely a chapter of the tale.” - Evan Pricco, Editor-in-Chief, Juxtapoz