'Have you heard of a Bayswater bar called "Old Marys?"' asks a colleague. I have not. The name conjures up a last chan...
Friday, 11 January 2013
The Blue Boar, Westminster
The last time the Intercontinental group opened a new hotel in London, the Sex Pistols' puerile profanities were about to cost TV host Bill Grundy his job, Sir Chris Hoy was in nappies, and an unpopular government was propelling us towards the Winter of Discontent. 36 years on, it's the same old song at Westminster. That's the location for this new hotel whose bar, The Blue Boar, takes its decorative cues from its proximity to the nearby pile currently presided over by tweety t*** Sally Bercow's heinous little hubby - that's John, not gypsy Paddy; let's be clear. Wood panelling and mock baronial upholstery suggests a Commons bar, while Scarfe cartoons and puppets of political big wigs - Tony Blair grinning like a mad man, flanked by his imaginary friends, Saddam's weapons of mass destruction - are witty ornament. Mezcal Mule (£10), Aviation (using eucalyptus-infused gin), Tequila Martinez and Paddington (rum, Lillet blanc, pink grapefruit, lemon, absinthe and the eponymous Peruvian fur ball’s beloved orange marmalade) are vote winners - as is a beer offer that includes draught Black Isle Porter and Meantime’s Yakima Red. As well as the sort of bar food you'd expect of most high-end intercontinental hotels (small or capital I) - burger, Caesar salad, share platters et al - there's pork belly bites, deep fill cheese baps and baked or pastrami-spiced oysters at £14 for six. Cosy conspiratorial private snugs are where to plot to bring the Coalition down, while afternoon tea is served in in Emmeline’s, the adjacent ‘ethereal retreat’ (read over-styled, twiggy and twee )- the sort of place I imagine Brummie Baroness Warsi might rate 'groovy.' Should anyone other than Westminster wonks bother to file through the Intercontinental's lobby? On balance, the 'ayes' have it - but please, guys, ditch the overpowering pervasive perfume that hangs heavy in the air. I should also add that, in order not to display any political bias, I propose the bar's name be regularly alternated between The Blue Boar and The Red Bore - homage to Ed Milibland. (Spot the difference: The Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition and The Goon Show's resident eejit, Eccles - pictured above left)