Take a Sneak Peek Inside Damien Hirst’s New London Restaurant, Pharmacy 2

The artist co-owned a restaurant in the 90s.

Damien Hirst's artworks adorn his new restaurant. Photo: Pharmacy2 via Facebook

Damien Hirst is back in the restaurant business—sort of. Pharmacy 2, which is located in the artist’s £25 million ($38 million) London museum, is officially taking reservations ahead of its opening on February 23.

This time the artist has collaborated with British chef Mark Hix. “Pharmacy 2 combines two of my greatest passions: art and food,” Hirst told the Evening Standard. “I’ve always loved Mark as a chef and his approach to food, so it’s great we’re working together on this.”

The restaurant’s decor is strongly influenced by Hirst’s artistic aesthetic, albeit in a far more ostentatious and in-your-face manner compared to Hirst’s first foray into gastronomy. Between 1998 and 2003 he was a co-owner of the Notting Hill eatery, Pharmacy.

The restaurant will be located in Hirst's private museum, where his personal collection is displayed. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates/Newport Street Gallery via Facebook

The restaurant will be located in Hirst’s private museum, where his personal collection is displayed.
Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates/Newport Street Gallery via Facebook

Hirst’s first restaurant, according to the artist’s website was modeled to realistically resemble an actual pharmacy—to the extent that the Royal Pharmaceutical Society threatened legal action for misleading the public.

But judging from a video posted by the Newport Gallery, the new location’s interior is far less subtle. Five blue and purple Hirst kaleidoscope butterfly pieces adorn the walls, a large medicine cabinet lines the rear wall, and there are pills everywhere. The round lozenge-themed bar stools add an especially nice touch.

According to the Evening Standard, Hirst and Hix have known each other since many of the YBA’s including Sarah Lucas and Tracey Emin used to hang out at Hix’s Rivington Grill in London’s East End.

They ended up collaborating for the first time in 2012, when the chef commissioned a sculpture from the artist for his chicken and steak house, Tramshed. The resulting artwork, Cock and Bull (2012) was influenced by Tramshed’s menu.

Hirst's Cock and Bull (2012) in Hix's 'Tramshed' restaurant. Photo: Hix Restaurants

Hirst’s Cock and Bull (2012) in Hix’s ‘Tramshed’ restaurant.
Photo: Hix Restaurants

In terms of the food, Hix compared his approach to running a restaurant to that of an artist. “It’ll be a weekly changing menu,” he said […] “I work a bit like an artist in that sense—what’s a good idea one minute is not necessarily a good idea the following day.”

“You can come to the bar for a quick drink or, if you’ve been to the gallery, for a snack or more,” Hix says. But what will it be? Can Hirst’s new venture prove to be as successful as the wildly popular restaurant he co-owned in the 90s, or will it become little more than a his private museum’s canteen?

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