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Friday, 8 March 2013

Mansion, Earl's Court


(Pilgrims flock to Freddie's Earl's Court mansion but 
will punters flock to Mansion in Earl's Court?)


Are the Lib-Dems in control here? Am I to assume their mansion tax, a wheeze to milk cash cow Londoners,  is already in force down Chelsea way? For how else to explain the price of cocktails at Mansion? Sure, the spirits used are far from being Tesco Value range, but £13.50 for a 'carbonized' (sic) Negroni built on Plymouth gin is what I'd expect to pay at 'upscale boutique hotel' bars that are way more 'destination' than just across from Boots, off the Earls Court Road. Outside, two hulking security men guard Mansion's front door. In genteel SW5, why? In case a mob of Man U fans, angry after losing to Chelsea at nearby Stamford Bridge (unlikely as this currently is) rock up and riot when they discover a Mint Julep costs the equivalent of a week's rent in Lancashire? Mansion's cocktail list commemorates long-dead locals. Hence, Sazerac - that famous New Orleans classic - for er, Irishman Oscar Wilde,  'a regular frequenter of the Earl's Court nightlife' (i.e. cruised for runty rent boys). Brandy Crusta is among the ideas that represent Freddie Mercury where a new recipe called Big Girl's Blouse would be nearer the mark. Poor Freddie: he too was a frequenter of the local nightlife. This I know. While still a slenda yoof, I ran into the old poof one night at a club called the Copacabana, (nowadays Ping http://tinyurl.com/cbneem9 ). Mr. Queen engaged me in conversation, asking if 'I'd........' But that's a tale for my autobiography. Exploding the myth that gay men have great taste, Freddie's outfits often teetered towards the terminally traj. Clearly, dead Fred can have had no hand in Mansion's ahem, witty nu-Edwardian decor. Bowler hats as lamps; panto baroque; blue fabric roses; ghastly gilt frames: if Changing Rooms' Glaswegian makeover molls, Justin and Colin,  had been given free rein at Matalan, could Mansion look any more nelly? Ironically, bar designer extraordinaire David Collins is, (as of July 2013 - read his obituary here http://tinyurl.com/l4qrnob ), another late local: his pad was just opposite Mansion. Sadly, London's greatest bar designer was not consulted before he left for the big Blue Bar in the sky. If you find yourself in Earl's Court; have a look - then leg it to the infinitely more stylish, highly affordable, Evans and Peel ( http://goo.gl/gfp4D )
Hotel Indigo, 34 Barkston Gardens SW5 www.mansionbar.co.uk