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Friday, 21 September 2012

Heliot at The Hippodrome, West End


When I was a yoof, Peter Stringfellow ran discos at The Hippodrome. One night, with an exotic tableau vivant as backdrop, we were in full ‘le freak, c’est chic’ mode when, quite without warning, the tableau's star turn, Queen Bluey, leapt into the audience. Cue pandemonium and a Daily Mail headline: ‘lioness scatters nightclub dancers.’ I survived unscathed; so too, Boy George, I recall. Now a Vegas style casino, the venue’s restaurant and red and black Tom Dixon-designed cocktail bar has been branded Heliot at the Hippodrome, after Claire Heliot, an Edwardian lady lion tamer who appeared here - albeit, not on the one night when they needed her most. Served by wenches in Moulin Rouge-lite costumes - why am I thinking ‘Ann Summers sale rail’? - Vesper, Gibson and brandy-based martini Delmonico are fair at £9.50; and bespoke cocktails by Tony Conigliaro, I’m told, will soon also appear. But Heliot’s USP is that it stays open 24/7 every day (except December 25th). After a night out, hole up here until the first Tube, spending the cab fare to Zone 5 you just saved on bubbly (from £25), hot dogs, sliders and croques (although perhaps not rubbery scotch eggs) and puff away, happy as Larry the lab beagle, on a terrace open to the night sky. I’m told there’s also a cabaret lounge where Dionne Warwick recently played and Suzi Quatro is to appear. Or did I hallucinate that? Anyway, Bluey was real: wanna come back to mine and see my Press clippings?
Cranbourn St WC2H 7JH  7769 8888 www.hippodromecasino.com