Friday, 28 February 2014
7 - 9 Battersea Square SW11 3RA 7592 8545 http://www.gordonramsay.com/london-house/
Thursday, 20 February 2014
(Park up at Rextail's bar)
If Simon Cowell did bars, I imagine they’d be like Drake and Morgan’s. As slickly styled and packaged as One Direction, their latest shiny pleasure-dome, a sister to City behemoths The Folly and The Drift, will doubtless have the X Factor for a too-cool-for-Tiger Tiger crowd. For them, £9 mouth-tingler Marys and skinny mojitos and the chance to snog Prince Charming - a rum bugger from a list of ‘fairytale’ cocktails. If that sounds like your bag, book a table at The Fable immediately.
No disrespect to D&M, who have clearly nailed a winning format, but it isn’t necessarily mine. This explains how after a record-quick in-out reccie, I find myself washing up at Rextail en route to plan B, one of my time-honoured fall-backs, The American Bar (at the Stafford, not The Savoy which I'm less keen on post-refit). On my 'to-do' list at number 45, or thereabouts, Rextail is Arkady Novikov’s Mayfair cantina for the kind of Saint Tropez tanned (as in, acquired there not from a SW3 pharmacy) Boxtoxy blondes whose blokes’ valet-parked wheels come with Monagasque or Dubai number plates. Like the Fable, Rextail isn't my natural habitat either. Pristine pair of Tod’s taupe suede loafers - tonight’s footwear - notwithstanding, I'm not exactly Mr Monte Carlo material. Martinis, however, are very much my bag, and Rextail's Sardinian head honcho Paolo Farris’s babies pass would pass muster on any Sunseker yacht moored in the marina at some South of France multi-millionaire's playground, I imagine. Try his a Knob Creek bourbon take on a classic hanky panky, or a Scared gin, lavender and sage martini - his off-menu bespoke suggestion that hits my G-spot. (That’s ‘G’ as in gin: even Dyno-Rod couldn’t hit the other one, in my case, these days). I'm told the high maintenance blondes are apparently big on Paolo's summer berry, cachaca, Chambord, and Chardonnay cooler, Brazilian garden - maybe because it sounds like something they’d have done at a spa? Will Rextail be my new regular midday perch? At £15 plus a pop for a Sipsmith Cherry Herring negroni? Negative. In Mayfair, even a liquid-only lunch calls for Syco-deep pockets.
(Fable's 'little touches - of which many!)
The Fable, 52 Holborn Viaduct EC1A 2FD www.thefablebar.co.uk
Rextail, 13 Albemarle Street W1S 4HJ www.rextail.co.uk
Saturday, 15 February 2014
240 Amhurst Road E8 2BS
Thursday, 13 February 2014
Hoping to replicate the success of his effervescent piano bar on High Street Kensington, irrepressible crooner/ ivory tinkler Bazz Norton (the son Judy Garland and Liberace never had) has taken over what was previously Smithfield cabaret lounge Rouge. Rouge is the (inherited) colour in a dive that looks like somewhere Christine Keeler might have partied in her 1962 pre-Profumo Affair heyday. Listen to standards from back in the day mixed with more modern material played jazz hands-stylee until 2am at weekends (closed - Sundays). High-spirited, friendly and inclusive, even the biggest Glee-hating grouch is likely to be sucked in. With no cover charge to bump up prices, Piano is also an affordable night out: wine starts at £20.95 for Chilean sauvignon. But put on the Ritz and break open the Laurent Perrier (£62.50) as on The Night They Invented Champagne - one of the show tunes you’re likely to hear. If the Lady Is A Tramp and Krug Grande Année (£270) is your poison darling, let’s hope your pal Joey is picking up the tab.
Monday, 10 February 2014
Saturday, 8 February 2014
(Drinking From The Bottle? Tinie Tempah scrubs up nicely for an Esquire photo-shoot - Farr's Facebook page)
The latest addition to pub chain Antic’s burgeoning pan-London portfolio that includes Balham Bowls Club, Deptford Job Centre, and the one-time Catford Conservative Club, is another quirkily reinvented space given over to boozing. High-ceilinged Farr’s was Dalston’s académie de danse in the late 1930s; the depressive decade echoed in the venue’s recycled retro decor. The room stylists also plunder the 1960s in the shape of leatherette chairs with hood dryers salvaged, presumably, from an am-dram production of Hairspray. Beats for dancing feet include 60s Northern soul and rock'n'roll nights and, at under £14 for serviceable rosé, prices verge on the retro too. I'm no fan of industrially-produced Euro-lagers: local craft beers, Adnams Single Shells, Californian Anchor Steam and Hogan’s Warwickshire cider (all on tap), London gins and mint julep or old fashioned at £7 are what to drink here. There’s talk of a basement speakeasy and an upstairs dining area and kitchen serving comfort food - a work in progress when I sashay in. Farr's is far better than many Dalston watering holes but, like Sophie Ellis Bextor and Brendan Cole's Strictly Come Dancing efforts, I score it an 8 rather than a 10.
17 - 19 Dalston Lane E8 3DF 7923 4553 http://www.farrsschoolofdancing.com