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Friday, 28 June 2013

The Churchill Bar, Marylebone

"I'm afraid the bar is closed for a private party tonight" says flunky guarding its doors. "Good! I'm at the right place, then. Now find me a seat, please," I say, pushing past the nose he's just looked down. Maybe my whistle doesn't cut the mustard (serves me right for even thinking about Zara's sale rail) but if I could afford Savile Row tailoring, The Churchhill Hotel wouldn't be my first choice - or even tenth choice - when it comes to blowing a wad on wasabi sake-tinis (assuming its bar can run to one). Tonight, I join bona fide members of the Churchill dynasty, here to reccie its lavish refurb - chic minky taupe low-key luxe - and to greet their most famous relative, newly appeared on the bar's smoking terrace - a windswept affair, open onto Portman Square so passing sans culottes can see how the other half lives.  A dubious life-size bronze of Winston, parked up at a table, depicts the ex-PM indulging in his favourite pastimes - planning how to stick it up Herr Hitler's jackbooted jacksie, drinking like a fish, and smoking Hunters and Frankau Cuban cigars that cost more than a conscript on a Normandy beach would have earned in a week (had he not been riddled with bullets two minutes after disembarking). Yes, he died so you could  enjoy a Romeo Y Julieta Short Churchill (£18.50) with your Glenfarclas 1995 (£45) or cocktails from £12 at this 5 star Hyatt. Try Trafalgar Sour (Colonel Fox’s London dry gin, pear and greengage liqueurs with apple and lemon) or Ale Flip, a 17th Century revenant that combines cream, chestnut paste, spiced rum and goose egg to interesting effect. A rum and Calvados milky mix, meanwhile, is named after 1940s French film star Jean Gabin, the sort of stylish chap,I imagine, that would have felt more at home at Claridges - my destination after I load up here on free smoked salmon and cream cheese balls here and make sniffy door whore organise transport.

Hyatt Regency London - The Churchill, 30 Portman Square W1H 7BH 7486 1255 www.london.churchill.hyatt.co.uk