Image: C. Tyson Edwards
As club life grew amongst mainstream late-teens and early twentysomethings, pubs became the alternative night out. Floor shaking music and epileptic strobe lights were exchanged for intimate chats over a few pints of the local ale. However, as graduates were released from student life, they too turned to pubs for a cheaper night out. Hipsters then began looking elsewhere. Jazz clubs and music bars were to become their next festering ground. Their proclaimed love for Ella and Miles supposedly drove them to late nights of closed eyes and rhythmic head bobbing, listening to some amateur alto saxophonist play all the wrong notes at the same time. But now, authentic jazz enthusiasts who see through this façade are pushing them out. Underground house clubs tried doing the same but wannabe 'Boiler Rooms' welcome them with open arms and open legs. However, house music has always been an obvious alternative for the unimaginative hipster. So where does one look for the true alternative Friday night out? I propose to you all - Ikea.
Open to the reasonably late hour of 10pm, one can venture there with one's bearded comradery after an earthy dinner of lentils and organic couscous. The luminous yellow block letters that spell out Ikea compliment the building's blue exterior, representing the colours found on the Swedish flag, are warmly welcoming; understanding foreign culture is a must for hipster. Furthermore, European culture that isn't one of the big dogs such as French, German or Spanish is even cooler. Have you heard of the latest Aleskärs or Sötblomsters? Of course you haven't, but anyone trying to be alternative can now claim they have. Indeed, these kitchen faucets and duvet covers can serve as the perfect veil for cultural immersion.
Upon entering this new alternative paradise, why not start the night with a cheeky drink, or even a meal if your lentil dinner wasn't satisfying. How about ordering the köttbullar with a jordgubb to drink? Meatballs and smoothies have never been so alternative. Even whole bean coffee and cider can be found here: two favorites for any hipster.
Once refreshed and energized, it is time to begin the maze-quest of Ikea. Depending on which Ikea you're at, the quest will feature different routes. Some begin with kitchen utensils, and others begin with lounge areas - at least your local Ikea is unique (uniqueness is a hipster must). Together, you must work as a team to venture through the wilderness of Ikea in order to reach the end. Be warned - once you begin the quest, there is no option of turning back. There are only emergency exits for the weak hearted.
One of the key elements of being a hipster is being arty. In this sense, Ikea couldn't be more perfect - it provides design choices and the opportunity to explore your creativity. Not all arty people are hipsters, but all hipsters are 'arty'. Unlike places such as DFS, Staples and Matalan, which focus on certain areas of home décor, Ikea combines all areas of home interiors and adds an artistic touch, at a reasonable price. Ikea's simplicity in flat-pack DIYs has earned them worldwide recognition as the king of home décor, which makes their products easy to use and assemble, even for the modestly intelligent and frugal hipster. Ikea can transform the any hipster pad into an arty home where they can showcase their hildis and odla proudly.
Image: IKEA website
Like any hipster rave, Ikea of course has its own warehouse section. Hipsters embrace the unashamedly untouched look of warehouses and their vast open space to house large numbers of people. Ikea certainly accommodates this through their final stage of their quest. Any items larger than the environmentally friendly Ikea bags (hipsters avidly hate climate change) are stored in the warehouse section, where customers must go and collect them themselves. This is easily where the largest number of people is at any one time, without making it insufferable. After all, it's a Friday night, so hustle and bustle is a necessity. Even the warehouse trollies that are designed to transport large flat-packs are alternative to the ordinary Tesco trollies.
Image: DAILY MAIL
Post checkout, there is even a small food area to bring your night out to a perfect end. Even here, Ikea remains loyal to the alternative night out by serving hotdogs and coffee, because pizza and coke are too mainstream. Stay until it shuts at 10pm if you're really hardcore.
Ikea may not be the first thing you think of for a night out, but for that very reason alone, hipsters should check it out. Embrace the authentic Swedish language, try European food, explore your creativity, go wild in the warehouse section and take an ansluta home with you.