Thursday, 8 November 2012
Reverend JW Simpson, Fitzrovia
When I drop in briefly at this new bar, en route to Michelin-starred scran in starrier surroundings, I feel slightly over-dressed. My formal suit is at odds with such dilapidated decor. The former basement flat’s original tatty peeling wallpapers and tacky pastel tiles suggest a 10-bob-the-job walk-in knocking shop (knob rinse and rubber included); my poncey attire suggests a heartless pimp here to extract his outrageous cut of some hapless old hoor's back-breaking daily grind. In such tawdry surrounds, once lived not a lady of the night but a man of the cloth - the eponymous vicar who has unwittingly given his name, if not his blessing (he's long gone to meet his maker), to this devil's playground. It's new from the Bourne and Hollingsworth boys whose other Fitzrovia bar, all great-great Aunt Mabel's parlour, lies within staggering distance and wherein the fragrant Mary Queen of Shops once enquired of me 'Keith, why are so many lesbians so fat?' 'Eating out too often? A Dunkin' Donuts fetish? Sloth?' I mused. After a hard night on the batter, I occasionally look like K D Lang might, found drowned in the Saskatchewan River, her floating waterlogged corpse undiscovered for a fortnight, but I would have thought Ms Portas better placed than I to answer her own question. Anyhow, I digress. Greek (via Glasgow) barman Dino knows his stuff: from a hatch in his claustrophobic cubby hole under the pavement above, he dispenses quality stirs and shakes in retro cut glass stemware, served, with comped snacks, by a towering Tilda Swinton-esque brunette with to-kill-for cheekbones. Try Prune Manhattan (£9.50), Rebourne Royale ('gin, lime and elderflower, but livened with fizz') and Tequila and Sherry Cobbler. Less appealing to this brothel creeper's tastes - not being big on Ribena-y rinses, pimped-up or not - is Port-Berry Stinger. If you fancy a grungy alternative to fancier Fitzrovia dives - Shochu Lounge, London Cocktail Club and Lucky Pig are all on my go-to list - come on down, but avoid Sundays: the Rev is busy worshipping with his flock elsewhere.
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