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Saturday, 27 February 2010

Leopard, Victoria: Dalston Superstore, Dalston

There’s no room to swing a moggy let alone a big cat at The Leopard Bar. Formerly, the Rubens Hotel’s gift shop, this diminutive new champagne lounge is marginally smaller than one of Mariah Carey’s travel trunks. Handy, though, for a quick kir royale (£12.50), glass of Cristal (£52) or bottle of Château Petrus, Pomerol 2000 (£4,000) before hitting one of Brenda’s dreary garden parties at Buck Pal. Dinky canapés, even dinkier Asian staff and the hotel’s florid PR - a raconteur who actually employs Bertie Wooster-ish phrases like ‘au reservoir, chaps!’ - all amuse; the mise-en-scène, less so. Leopard suggests art deco decadence or 19th Century Sicilian baroque à la Visconti film of that ilk;  what we get is comfy, retired major’s Home Counties study furnished by Army & Navy, Victoria circa 1978. It’s a whole universe away from Dalston Superstore’s concrete floors, trashed furniture, prosaic pine clad bar and arty wall hangings. The brainchild of Dan (Disco Bloodbath) Beaumont and scene queens, the Trailer Trash boys, this ex-Turkish restaurant turned East Villagey bar/ diner/ disco is wowing the glampy Ponystep crowd. Get rinsed on Corona, cider and cheap mojitos with Johnny Woo, similar polysexual freaks and sundry mentalist trannies. With designers like Marios, Pam, Gareth, Giles and Jaiden James checking out proceedings, expect Alexis Colby crossed with League Of Gentlemen’s Tubbs to appear on autumn catwalks. Pitch up late and shimmy to the sound of the underground as ledge’ DJs such as Princess Julia and Tasty Tim host nights called Phat Bitch, Strut The F*** Up and the like. Barely two months old, this unprepossessing pile is pulling the SOS (so over Shoreditch) set, but with Italian Vogue proclaiming it the centre of the universe, are Dalston’s days numbered?
Leopard Bar, 39 Buckingham Palace Rd SW1 7834 6600 

Dalston Superstore, 117 Kingsland High St E8 7254 2273