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Friday, 13 September 2013

Polo Bar, The City



In brothel creepers and draped jackets, bequiffed Teddy Boys lurk malevolently on street corners. The first Mini motor car goes on sale. 20 Park Drive cigarettes cost half a crown (12p). Confirmed Bachelor Boy, Cliff, is having his first of numerous number 1 hits to follow,  and teenagers are in thrall to pointy winklepickers and beehive up-dos. The year is 1959 and an Italian family has just opened Polo (coffee) Bar to satisfy London's new-found need for frothy brown dispensed from gleaming chrome Gaggia machines. This dinky City caff with its  fab period frontage has been serving Liverpool Street ever since, long after other 'greasy spoons'  have been killed off by Satan from Seattle and similar charmless chains wherein dozy undemanding herds graze. Today, Polo and its kind are rare black sheep and if, like me, you despise English Heritage for not slapping preservation orders on the likes of the New Piccadilly Cafe, you'll applaud it survival against the odds. The gem's current owner, Philip Inzani, has had the old gaff modernised without trashing the caff's heritage in the process. Tiled benches, brick walls and 50s styling work well and its classic caff menu, with a few contemporary twists, has pretty much everything you'd want  at whatever the hour. Polo, you see, never closes. What's more, it has now, to my great delight,  contrived to secure a 24/7 liquor licence. So if you fancy eggs any style, bacon, bubble and a beer (Bethnal pale, Shoreditch blonde, Camden Hells or Hoxton stout); a bottle of Chapel Down with your fry-up; cider and a sarnie; bourbon and chocolate milkshakes and pastries; smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel with Cristal (yes, really!) at 4am with a handsome stranger you've just met at a club, Move It down to Bishopsgate and fire into this Living Doll - as Cliff sang it back in the day. Polo: it's a seriously ahem, mint hole-up!

176 Bishopsgate EC2M 4NQ 7283 4889 http://polo24hourbar.co.uk