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Sunday, 28 February 2010

Lost Angel, Battersea: Friendly Society, Soho


Don’t let tricky transport links deter you, The Lost Angel(pictured) is a genuine find . I liked Dusk, the previous occupant of this site in a part of deepest Battersea still waiting to be discovered by Livingstone, but its Buddha Bar-lite duds have entered the Twilight Zone, replaced by the new owners’ vision in Victorian kitsch. A sister to Clapham’s Lost Society, that bar’s reputation for consistently good drinks and chilled ambience is successfully translated here. Don’t be fooled by the name, a ‘Booze’ menu - all 12 pages of it - contains creative cocktails built on superior spirit bases. Try the Proper British selection‘s Peary Mason (Godminster rhubarb voddie, pear jam, rhubarb liqueur, lemon juice and egg white), a £6.50 summer quencher, or choose from well-executed classics and contemporary stonkers. A lunch offer - two courses and cocktail for £20 - should be seized on; its anglo-continental dishes a cut above the usual sous vide gastropub norm. Staff that look like they belong inLauren Laverne’s latest hot tip band are sweethearts, swiftly changing the music when two mates moan in unison ‘anything but bleedin’ Bob Marley!’ David Soul's Silver Lady, Chuck Berry and Roger Miller’s King Of The Road are among the DJ’s turntable picks at Friendly Society, a bijou, watery, aqua-tone underworld set in a louche alley patrolled by ladies prepared to be very friendly...at a price. Campy twinks dance in a circle - a gaisy chain? - and quaff bargain shampers (£29.50), jugs of ale and cloying, lychee-based martinis. Babycham mascots, glitterballs, Barbie dolls and dangly mobiles fashioned from flash handbags once sold in 1950s shopping malls are both witty and charming as, on a good night, is formidable post-punk landlady, Maria. Confession, lest I be labelled partisan; its owners are mates which explains why it always feels like coming home whenever I descend the Friendly's steep stairs.

The Lost Angel, 339 Battersea Park Rd , SW11 7622 2112

Friendly Society, Tisbury Court, 79 Wardour St W1 7434 3805