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Sunday, 31 March 2013

3 Cromwell, South Kensington

I have been to so many different incarnations of this townhouse bar/ members club/ restaurant, they blur into one largely because they were universally dire - Dorsia the latest dud to exit the building. My pal Auntie Lynne - a seminal 60's dolly bird - says this pile was a 'with it' scenek in its heyday as The Cromwellian when everyone who was anyone - from the Stones to those too stoned to remember - partied at this stucco-pillared pile. Hendrix played his first London gig here and Elton (before he was even 'Elton') gigged in its basement discotheque. (Fun history lesson here )  What Mick , Marianne and their Swing 60s gang would make of  3 Cromwell - new from posh party organiser Howard Spooner - is anybody's guess. Cool London has swings out East, leaving SW7 to the Made In Chelsea set - those toffy twats that make me glad I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth...or up my nose, more likely. Tonight's shindig is fuelled by nothing more sinister than booze - big spender bubbles, doable mojitos and a gum-botheringly astringent gin punch. Served gratis, it's saying something that it's left unfinished by my three hooch Hoover homies, none of whom rate 3 C... although junior sports journo from Croydon is hardly the gaff's target demographic, to be fair. The main bar and (steak/frites/salad-only) restaurant's punked-up jokey country '"hice" decor doesn't look much different from Dorsia, as I recall it. Garish neon lighting in the Stygian disco (do something about the hellish pong from the loos, guys) suggests a Hamburg porn video arcade - wipe-clean padded walls, a private booth. The sort of wankers who'll dig the new Cromwellian are quite possibly among those on Tatler's list of London's most eligible bachelors under 30 whose most attractive feature is their impending inheritance. As ’a tongue in cheek nod to aristocratic service of yesteryear,' I'm told, staff sports tweed and flat caps. In another nod to yesteryear, the soundtrack lurches chaotically from Bob Marley to Elvis with a bit of 70s jazz funk thrown in. It's as if someone hit the iPod shuffle button. Did the DJ spin the old regulars' discs - The Animals, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder or The Hollies, one of whom, 60's chick Lynne knocked back the first night she came here? I can't say. After barely 20 minutes, I'm at the bus stop. Bus Stop? The Hollies? See what I did there?
3 Cromwell Rd SW7 3397 7838