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Thursday, 14 April 2011

Good Godfrey's, Aldwych

What dash was once cut at The Waldorf’s Palm Court, the place where London's Brilliantined rakes and derring-do dames learned to tango, was lost as the hotel, then synonymous with elegant living, faded into mediocrity and the beau monde deserted her. Part of a major makeover by Hilton, its new 1920’s-style lounge - named after former resident big band leader, Howard Godfrey - hopes to attract today’s generation of cocktail-mad young things. And, why not? Any list that includes well-executed revivals Martinez and pre-Prohibition-era pink Philadelphian, lovely Clover Club, deserves respect. Alas, house signatures underwhelm. Rosemary-anointed foamy flip, Spring Memories won’t spring to my mind in a hurry and prissy pink Refined Madam’s Tanqueray 10 is better in Waldorf-tini, a hoochie coochie that’ll show any punter a good time for £17. ‘Edible gold flake don’t come cheap, dearie!’ Served in a hip-flask, bourbon blast The Astor is a cute idea. Other ideas, such as art deco atomisers for perfumed finishing spritzes, reference rivals: The Dorchester, for example. Presided over by the capable Nelson, a Portugeezer who knows what to do with a shaker, a handsome illuminated onyx bar cuts it, but the room, all penumbral (listed) panelling, needs lighting tweaks for warmth and interest. Elsewhere, stylistic affectations such as an ivory tinkler’s straw boater (naff) and a bowler-hatted lanky doorman’s too-large uniform (Freddie ‘Parrot-Face’ Davies?) - amuse. Godfrey’s report card? Good: could be very good.   
Good Godfrey’s, Waldorf Hilton, Aldwych, WC2B 4DD 7836 2400