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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Piano, Soho (CLOSED see BAR TITANIA)



These Chinatown premises have seen off a succession of swish cocktail lounges and even swishier gay bars including Geisha, an ill-fated short-lived oriental cocktail lounge aimed at older chaps looking for a bit of Gok, as far as I could tell when I visited. But Kensington's High Street's original Piano's second fiddle seems to be hitting the right notes with a theatrical crowd drawn to its effervescent brand of camp show tunes at the old joanna. Say Hello Dolly to cocktails from £9.50. White lady, Moscow mule, Singapore sling and sidecar are suitably retro rinses for roisterous rat pack singalongs. Owner Bazz Norton is a jazz pianist and ex-cruise ship crooner whose bona sense of humour belongs in a 1960s smut-com featuring Sid James and Hattie Jacques - Carry On Tinkling, perhaps.  Hence, ‘Pianist Envy’ and champagne cocktail, Piano Pick-me-up - an open invitation to a skint chorus boy on the make? A limited selection of wines from £4.50 and champagne from £8.50 a glass are available but eats are restricted to crisps and nuts, unless you pre-order buffet bites for parties of 10 or more. Punters range from elfin boys to a fabulous dame I took to be Ethel Merman until I was informed the curtain had finally fallen on her act. Taking her old hit if My Friends Could See Me Now to extremes, maybe the old trouper had herself stuffed to be wheeled around town by adoring fans? The idiosyncratic Piano is a fun night out in a jazz hands/ John Barrowman kind of way. Prepare to make new friends meet fellow closet Judy Garland fans and razzle dazzle 'em.
75 Charing Cross Road WC2H 0NE 7287 7699 www.pianosoho.com