'Have you heard of a Bayswater bar called "Old Marys?"' asks a colleague. I have not. The name conjures up a last chan...
Thursday, 31 January 2013
Hammersmith Broadway is physical proof of why town planners should be lined up and shot; the clueless clowns' cadavers used as landfill for Boris's estuary airport's main runway. If the RAF needs target practice, let them reduce to rubble the buildings on the traffic-clogged roundabout underneath the traffic-clogged flyover that blights this foulest of faubourgs. Any local building that had an iota of character or charm - The Palais and The Clarendon ballroom, say - have been demolished, replaced by the sort of concrete and glass ghastliness that has blighted Dresden since Churchill unleashed the Lancasters. I'd as soon drink bleach as drink cocktails in downtown W6, and the entrance to tonight's destination doesn't augur well, looking as does it like the sort of basement dossers might adopt for the drinking of meths. We push on through anonymous double doors behind which I half expect to run into wheelie bins full to the brim with festering trash discarded from the hotel above. Thankfully, what lurks beyond comes as a pleasant surprise. Here's a fair approximation of a Louisiana juke joint circa Tennessee Williams; where Tennessee Smash awaits latter-day vintage chicks channeling deluded Southern soak, Blanche Dubois. Washed brick walls; bordello plush; a skip load of the sort of decorative tat once found in Carnaby Street boutiques circa Sgt Pepper's: original its magpie mix is not, but it's a perfectly fine place to fritter away an hour or so over a £7.50 Blood'n'Sand, Monkey Gland or what turns out to be a rather horny Dark'n'Stormy. Less sexy, is our £15 assembly of vegetarian dips, the Katy Perry of the share platter world- cleverly styled but ultimately bland and forgettable. On the table opposite, a couple discusses their future private party with a manager who says proudly 'We want to keep the place semi-secret...like a speakeasy.' With few punters to speak of in the house on a Friday evening at 9pm, his reverse sales psychology is apparently working. How come? W6 is not blessed with good bars. And although it's hardly Nightjar or Hix Soho, If I were forced to dwell hereabouts (not that I could afford one of its unfathomably popular terraces), I'd be at Smith's every night, drowning my sorrows on the rum punch cocktail for two they call the Gustav Holst. Hammersmith - a far-flung Planet I'm not Suite on.