19 June 2013

A first for everything

Spontaneous Saturday nights are quite often the best. I was quite happily (and lamely) planning on having a relatively quiet night in with the voluminous amount of food that had arrived earlier that morning (god bless you, online shopping). And then a friend called and it was decided that I really should go out.

First stop was Gordon's Wine Bar. This is another place that I can't believe I hadn't actually been to before - a Central stalwart in a prime riverside location. Claiming to be London's oldest wine bar and established in 1890, this remarkable bar is tucked between Charing Cross and Embankment in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it walkway. Despite being 9pm, we sat on the busy outside terrace at the only empty table with a bottle of the Fat Bastard Pinot Noir (great name, huh?). Once it got cold, we moved inside to be greeted by exposed brickwork, intimate darkness with flickering candles, the lowest ceilings and leaky walls (which we became unwitting custodians of). It was packed and very atmospheric, and we indulged in another bottle of red, before everybody was fairly unceremoniously turfed out. (A recurring theme, according to reviews, its seems.)

From there, we headed into Soho, glancing in at Cellar Door - a basement club just off Aldwych/The Strand that was ridiculously rowdy and being bounced by an overzealous overseer - before ducking into Blacks on Dean Street for another bottle of red and a lounge on a daybed in one of their gloriously ornate rooms. As things quietened down, we repaired to the ground floor where everyone sits around old dining tables and a fire roars, despite being mid June.

And then onto another first - world famous Ronnie Scott's. By all admissions, I'm not a jazz fan and tend to steer well clear of the genre. We went to the Late Late Show, and caught one of the house bands. Upstairs, Ronnie's Bar is a crimson shade of decadence with rolling banquettes, glimmering fixtures and table service that weaves its way through the mixed crowd. I was surprised at how busy our showing was but reminded by the amount of fellow first-timers in the audience. It was a great experience but given my aversion to the music itself, I think I'll let the lovers take my place...

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