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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Caxton Bar, Westminster

Strange synergy. On the day I meet Brian Paddick, the ex-policeman turned London mayoral hopeful (read, no hope at all; he's batting for the Lib-Dems),  to take part in a photo opportunity (don't ask!), I later find myself clambering over piles of coppers in SW1. That's as in plods, not  loose change, you understand. The rozzers are changing out of riot gear on the pavement outside my destination, a hotel bar directly opposite New Scotland Yard. Well, at least the staff doesn't have far to look if their punters kick off and need a good coshing that isn't strictly liquid. Fisticuffs seem far from likely here, however: the well-dressed middle-aged imbibers look like the sort of people who mow their Middlesex semi-detacheds' lawns on Sundays, are kind to animals, shop at House of Fraser and model themselves on Bill Turnbull and Sian Williams. The decor - pleasant enough, and expensive-ish in warm tobacco and toffee tones, could be a set from a Penelope Keith vehicle. Cocktails from upwards of £9 are fair. From the ‘Empire’ selection, we dig ginny Earl Grey Ceylon Ice Tea; from the ‘Americas’ Three Saints (£11) with a trio of rums in the mix. Ulstermen will be miffed not to be represented under ‘Britain’- a few ideas themed on headgear, from which Welsh Hat, using vodka distilled in Cymru’s valleys, comes out on top. There's a pretty terrace for summer drinking but keep the noise down or the old Bill (and not as in newscaster Mr Turnbull) will 'ave ya. Got it?
St Ermin’s Hotel, 2 Caxton Street SW1H 0QW 0800 652 1498  

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