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Saturday, 16 August 2014

Call Me Mr. Lucky: Borough

The bartender spins the arrow on a wheel of fortune. Fired-up punters scream and yell like pussy down the well. Such is the hubbub, you'd imagine at stake was a free Bankside loft, not a tequila shot (numero 3 of more to follow). I'm being pestered by a wee Glaswegian blonde. Claws dug in, she's all over me, trying to budge stubborn stool pigeon from his perch. "Aaaaw cum-oan! Dance wi' me, ya big basturt!" she slurs, imploringly, perhaps taking me for Strictly's Slovenian stud-muffin, Aljaz Skorjanec - an easy mistake to make when you're 'miroculous' as they say in Govan. So infectious is the piss-up party mood at The Breakfast Club's latest 'secret squirrel' hole-up, I would be indeed up for a jig, if only they hadn't dropped Sting's "Don't Stand So Close To Me!" (Capisce, blondie from Buchanan Street?) Happily, Trudie's tantric tosser and the Brummie nasal whine of UB40's Red Red Wine are the only two duds on a retro soundtrack that covers everything from The Archies' Sugar Sugar to The Average White Band... if not the O Jay's '72 track the bar shares a name with. I'm also sold on £8 cocktails such as lucky rostini (a tequila and plum liqueur relation of the negroni) and Ruby Murray (a tandoori-infused bourbon and Cointreau sour), while my brave drinking buddy declares himself a fan of pea diddy (rum, pea puree, horseradish, lime and pineapple J). We're given a trio of nips to knock back in quick succession. Sadly, 'salud, amor, dinero' - i.e. 1.tequila 2. jalapeƱo-gazpacho-ish gubbins 3. c***ing coconut water (the Devil's semen) and mint - ain't my definition of 'mint.' But then, I'm not a Mexican masochist. Shonky shots aside, I'm with the The Breakfast Club's owner who he tells me "We just wanted to do a damned good dive bar." Mission accomplished! And, by the looks of it, on a Poundland budget: my kitchen once wore the same garish paper lanterns strung across Lucky's u-shaped bar; until my father sniffily suggested he buy me something "more suitable from Heal's." The lounge's low-rent look - somewhere between Phoenix Arizona and Phoenix Nights - works for me. If you do manage to crack the 'open sesame!' code here, like 'Lucky' Lucan - the notorious Lord who's been AWOL since 1974, accused of murdering the family nanny - you may never be seen again. Call Me Mr. Lucky is the sort of den you won't want to leave. 
11 Southwark Street SE11RQ