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Saturday, 27 February 2010

Shannons, Notting Hill

Back when mobile phones weighed more than Madonna, style arbiters convened at Notting Hill’s Market Bar marveling at the sheer fashion-forwardness of its nouveau Dickensian retro-Creole pose; not only was exotic Japan import Sapporo lager available but a decadent Thai restaurant lurked above. So cool, you could expect to rub shoulder pads with Neneh Cherry, Nick Kamen, Big Audio Dynamite and every other face from The Face, it was to 1980s Portobello what the Hawley Arms is to Camden today. Although you’ll still find Kaeng Pa curry upstairs, the ground floor bar’s new brooms have swept out the old in favour of shamrock green frontage, Guinness paraphernalia and new monicker, Shannons. I’m guessing a shrine to Erin, as in Emerald Isle - as opposed to Ms O’Connor, although the decorative mannequin and her shillelagh would find a welcome within even if antique Hibernian bartender reckons ‘it’s Irish but it’s not’. With its prosaic furnishings, Kensington Gardens railings ‘art' specials, bemused tourists and a gummy auld Molly Malone tribute gurning along to Neil Diamond hits, I’m unsure who its target audience is. Not wine buffs, judging by a tepid list from £15.50. Handbills announce ‘one night of soul with Stacey.’ As in Ms Solomon? How quickly did that dream sour? The new old Market lacks the X-Factor; let’s hope the new decade holds better in store.

Shannons 240 Portobello Rd W11.  7313 6516