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Friday, 20 July 2012

Bar Américain, Soho

When the Regent Palace Hotel was demolished, the site's developers promised its basement bar would be carefully packed away and reinstated within the new building. ‘PR twaddle, I thought.  As part of the Atlantic restaurant, it had been a fiercely stylish Beautiful People hangout circa Hugh Grant with Liz Hurley in THAT dress. All softly-lit chrome, frosted glass, dark leather and oaky ethereal gorgeousness, this elegant art deco lounge belonged in an old MGM musical set on a 1930s ocean liner. Joy of joys, it was run by drinks industry legend Dick Bradsell, inventor of Espresso Martini, Treacle, Bramble and the daft-sounding but distinctly doable Snood Murdekin -  future classic cocktails to make a chap dance on the ceiling like Fred Astaire. Bradsell has moved on -  currently to be found at Soho hip pit, The Pink Chihuahua  - but good to their word, the developers - with a little help from David Collins Studio - have indeed recreated Dick's former domain piece-by-lovely-piece. Rebranded Bar Américain, it's a destination den at Corbin  and KIng’s new baby, Zédel. Head downstairs past the Josephine Baker-style cabaret bar, Crazy Coqs, towards the main draw, a buzzy gilded Montparnasse-style brasserie,  swing a right under by the 'vestiare', et voilà - 1932 revisited. My drinking buddy claims it reminds him of the bar scene in The Shining; but any carnage here is likely to be on account of the bar's resident tuxedoed matinée idols' sours, slings and things: Sazerac, The Gatsby and The Calloway (a bourbon, port and fig flip), impeccable at £9.75. My only gripe is that, on two otherwise faultless visits,  the clientele has been less ocean liner more Coach Trip. Time for London’s beau monde to reclaim this grand old girl, surely?
20 Sherwood St W1F 7ED 7734 4888