The El. Train design team are transforming the bar area, the Hell Hole Saloon, into an extension of the world of the plays, as if the audience has been invited backstage to drink with the characters – and with O’Neill himself.
The bar was Eugene O’Neill’s pre-prohibition drinking haunt in New York, the raunchy and unruly Golden Swan, referred to by everyone who went there as the ‘Hell Hole’. It was here, in the 1910s, that O’Neill held court among fellow drinkers who represented a comprehensive cross section of the New York “low-life”: thieves, truck drivers and the Hudson Dusters, a tough Irish gang.
The Hell Hole was owned by Tom Wallace, a former prizefighter, and was overseen by his bouncers John Bull and Lefty Louis. Inside, gas burners provided poor lighting and the Sixth Avenue El. Train ran past shaking the whole bar and drowning out conversation.
The lives and personalities O’Neill glimpsed in his time as a regular at the saloon were a rich source for his writing, indeed twenty-five years later O’Neill wrote about the Hell Hole in The Iceman Cometh, renaming it Harry Hope’s “No Chance Saloon”.
The live music will continue as re-workings of period cocktails, from this exciting and turbulent era in American history, are served by Joe Stokoe’s team.
The Hell Hole Saloon Cocktail Menu
Hot Buttered Rum: Golden rum, honey, lemon, butter, cloudy apple juice, cinnamon & nutmeg
Bronx Before Breakfast: Gin, sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, clementinejuice, orange bitters
Dreamy Kid: Gin, lemon, cream, homemade pineapple syrup, orange flower water, soda
Rose’s Web: Vodka, homemade rose & raspberry syrup, vermouth, fresh lemon
Pizzas: Margherita £6 | Pepperoni £8 | Fiorentina £8 | Siciliana £8
Joe & Seph’s Popcorn
The Hell Hole opens 1 hour before the show. Last orders 10.30pm, Sunday to Wednesday.
Late nights at the Hell Hole on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Liquor license until 2am. DJs on the main stage.
* Please note: The Hell Hole will be closed during the performance and between matinee and evening shows *