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Thursday, 19 August 2010

New Bloomsbury Set, Fitzrovia

It’s a fallacy that all gay men are inherently stylish: Graham Norton; Gok Wan; David Furnish; cool? And, having marveled at their makeovers, what mentalist would let Justin and Colin loose on their living room? Are Glasgow’s MDF queens behind New Bloomsbury Set, London’s latest gay bar, I wonder? Owners Tom & Jerry (yes, really!) are old drinking partners (but not 'partner' partners, they tell me, should anyone fancy having a crack) who decided one night to open their own bar rather than subsidise somebody else's business, despite having no background in the industry. (Free tip: don't drink the profits, guys!) They claim its amateurish Victoriana/ 80s hi-tech/ 60’s repro randomness is the creation of a mate. Who knew Helen Keller was still alive? What does impress is the absence of the chippy gymbo attitude that mars some cruisy joints; NBS could be a by-word-of-mouth house party, the sort of impromptu evening where you end up thinking ‘Who are these people? How did I get here?’ And, given its suburban vibe, ‘Help! How do I get home from Uxbridge at 4 am?’ Without advertising, Tom, or is it Jerry, says early adopters have cottoned on via Facebook, adding ‘don’t tell anyone, but Wednesdays are “unofficial lesbian night”’ So, of course, I won’t. Drinks are fair at £3.50 for Budvar and £7.50 for a Bloomsbury Sidecar - a ginny twist on the original and the music is, well, like nothing you’ll find on my iPod. Feel-real hands-in-the-air shake-ya-disco-tits house and some Israeli punter doing covers of the Carpenters, as I recall it. The boys aspire to match Friendly Society, Soho’s most stylish gay bar owned and designed by...Michael and the divine Maria, a straight couple!

76 Marchmont Street WC1 7383 3084www.newbloomsburyset.co.uk