Sunday, 28 February 2010
Pigalle Club, St James's : Pembroke, Earl's Court
The Pigalle Club is an ideal night cap spot: make mine a Manhattan, the perfect poison for a bijou venue straight out of 1957 Sinatra flick, Pal Joey. I swung by recently to catch an intimate gig by an on-form Boy George; the old queen upbeat despite facing a stretch at the current Queen’s pleasure, after an escort claimed the singer handcuffed him to a wall. In his heyday, George could have found countless volunteers at The Coleherne, a sleazy Earl’s Court joint. Reborn as The Coleherne Arms, new owners Realpubs - The Old Dairy, Crouch Hill and The Oxford, Kentish Town - are aiming this once notorious pit at the kind of punter whose idea of ‘heavy leather scene’ involves matching sofas from Heals. All muddy browns, chintzy wallpaper and braised pork belly, it’s as good as gastro gets in newly gay bar-free SW5. A kitchen replaces the dark, cruisy loos where I witnessed a furry ‘hetero’ Hollywood hearthrob beg to have his nipples near twisted off by a sinister chap in chaps. Over a bottle or two of Tempranillo, we observe bemused Tom Of Finland clones strut in, their out-of-date Spartacus guide having given them a bum steer. (Update) So much clear blue does the pub want to put between it and its gay heritage, the Evening Standard recently reported that an employee took its owners to the cleaners at a tribunal on grounds of sexual discrimination. So if the pound you are about to spend is pink, think! Tonight, a blizzard of flashbulbs alerts us to the Heir and the Spare’s arrival at the adjacent Troubadour gallery. ‘Oi, Wills! Tell that old Queen not to send Georgie Boy down tomorrow.’It's a plea that will fall on deaf juggy Windsor ears.
The Pigalle Club 215 Piccadilly W1 7644 1420
The Pembroke, 261 Old Brompton Rd SW5 7373 8337