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Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Fontaine's, Stoke Newington

"You look like an old man cut-down!" My father's withering assessment of my attempt at a young Frank Sinatra hits Havana. To his Austin Reed-attuned eyes, dressing in some Yank's cast-off 1940s cream tux, midnight blue Oxford bags and jazzy rayon palm print shirt was anathema - no matter that, days before, L'Uomo Vogue had snapped me in said look for a 'Londra Trend' feature. Hard to imagine now, but wearing "smelly", "old", second-hand clothes, some from an Edinburgh junk shop run by Mrs Doubtfire (yes, she inspired Robin William's character), as I first did in my student days, was then considered downright weird. 'Vintage' is, of course, big business today, but where to show off when you're channelling Ava Gardner as Gilda, if you get it right or Father Ted's Mrs Doyle if you don't? Try Fontaine's, a new retro-styled bar whose unofficial PR is, tellingly, 's Fleur McGerr. All 1930s cream upholstery, Odeon foyer art deco with bronze Egyptian palms, here's a film set for a duet featuring Fred and Ginger. Appropriately period cocktails include Aviation, Clover Club and Singapore Sling. Hollywood Hills silver screen era, silver tray staples include oysters Kilpatrick, smoked salmon and caviar blinis and Bellinis. In a tiki bar downstairs, the vibe is more Marlene Dietrich sings Hot Voodoo - hers, a lurid look that will get you odd looks at your local All Bar One. Vamping up, vintage-style, for cocktail hour is to be encouraged in these super-dull Superdry days. Choosing an appropriate backdrop is key. This Stokey belter fits the bill.
176 Stoke Newington High Road N16 7UY