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Friday, 9 August 2013
The Glenn Miller Bar, Marylebone
On the hottest night of the year, sweating like a glass blower's arse as Lily Savage would say, I am not a happy bunny to be on Oxford Street, squaring up to pro-Palestine protestors besieging Marks and Spencer and competing for pavement space with the locust-like swarms of rich Chinese out to strip Selfridges bare of Balenciaga, Gucci and Vuitton. I'm headed to what has been sold to me by its PRs as 'an evening of cocktail decadence for modern gents and glam girls.' It's in aid of the 'newly revamped' (as in 3 years ago, a staff member will subsequently tell me) Glenn Miller Bar, 'named after the famous American jazz "singer."' Glenn sang? Who knew? The bar is in the Thistle Marble Arch, a hotel I have never set foot in, but have heard talk of from my (glam girl) godmother who would rendezvous here, in shantung silk gown and matching shoes, for a cocktail soirée with her West End stagey mates in the place's 60s prime as The Mount Royal. The old dame - the hotel and, indeed, my late-godmother - was clearly a looker in her day: inlaid marble floors and Art Deco styling hint at a grand past. Alas, like Glenn in his plane en route to Paris in 1944, this pile mysteriously disappeared off fashionable London's radar around the same time Vera Lynn did. Tacky floral arrangement, tedious muzak that sure ain't Glenn's swinging big band, hideous lilac overhead lighting, and motley Millerabilia aside (I've seen better at car boot sales); I rather like this retro-style watering hole away from the crazy fray of Primark, opposite. Cocktails from its new list - the revamp in question? - are being mixed for the half dozen invited hacks that have bothered to pitch up by the personable Andy Pearson who, I'm told, often appears on Something For The Weekend - a BBC 2 programme that's not something that figures in my idea of an ideal weekend. Aviation (an ironic choice, given Glenn's fate); Clover Club; White Lady; Vesper: what's not to like about a list of classics that replaces a menu that imagined Sex On The Beach and Jack Rogers (Jack Daniel’s grenadine and Coke) would lure sophisticates in? So, if you are ahem, In The Mood for a Manhattan and a club sandwich up Marble Arch way, put on your finest String Of Pearls and pop in. But guys, the clue is in the name; so stick some orchestral class on your stereo system - this, par exemple: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3hsVrGr5Dw Thistle Marble Arch, Bryanston Street W1H 7EH www.thistle.com/marblearch