WYLDE FOR LIQUOR
Get Rinsed with The Glass Half-full Guy, Keith Barker-Main
Last Christmas's Whammy, George Michael; Prince; Bowie; Brexit, the vengeful English shires' attempt to take down London; an obnoxious orange onanistic philistine, he of the criminal comb-over and smug mug moulded from Spam and boiled ham, let loose in The White House; the ghastly guff Gucci sluiced down its S/S 17 runway (see also Dsquared2); Vicky B's OBE for 'services to fashion' - what next? 'Sir' Henry Holland: 2016 was a shocker.
Might this year be worse still? The original Glass Half-full Guy, I hold out for happier times ahead. A serial soak whose current gig involves getting paid to test drive new bars (juicy job, shame about the Berocca bill), I insist life looks rosier after a vat of of rosé - Château Miraval produced at the Provençal pile pounced on by loved-up Brangelina (another of 2016's casualties #fauxconcernedface), pretty decent pink at £20 a pop. With a slew of high-end cocktail lounges and low-rent shebeens in the pipeline, 2017 should be a vintage year for London lushes. In the meantime, get your glam on and get rinsed at these current crushes, my pick of last year's openings.
Club Bar at Park Chinois W1
Alan Yau's decadent Art Deco boîte, all shimmering, silken 1920s chinoiserie, evokes a tea dance circa Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Lil. Channel period Chanel and Jean Patou. Preen, McQueen Chloé or Molly Goddard frilly-flouncy will work too. Geezers go gangsta (Balenciaga's wide shouldered jackets) and lock lips with Asian exotics: duck fat-washed Japanese whisky, cherry, coffee and tonka bean, Hasu No Hana, for starters.
In 1957 fashion flick Funny Face, Kay Kendall plays a New York mag-hag who commands her readers to "Think pink!" 60 years on, Bottega Veneta, Céline, Valentino and Hermès are among those that showed it in various shades for spring. Ditto, Tom Dixon whose stylish bubble-gum concrete bar at Bronte is where to bag a Bird of Paradise (pomegranate-infused cognac, hibiscus tea, goji berry liqueur, rhubarb bourbon vanilla, ginger and lemon foam.)
Ray's Bar E8
Nu-disco drinks at Voodoo Ray's spot-on spin on a naff 1970s Northern nightclub: That's The Way uh-huh, uh-huh, I Like It uh-huh uh-huh. Take the Sisters (see Yes We Can Can on YouTube) as your style Pointer. Hi Steppin' Hip Dressin' Fellow, get it together at Beyond Retro up the road but bin the beard! Dalston Desperate Dan is beyond retro... in a bad way.
Mule Bar at The Holy Birds E1
Louder than a Pucci print kaftan, fluffier than Agent P marabou mules, Gerry (Hoxton Pony) Calabrese's insane Technicolor playpen "dahn Petticoat Lane" is a kitsch California go-go girl lounge rebooted. The vibe? Don Draper gets Nancy Sinatra squiffy on Pink Squirrels at the B52s' Beverley Hills Love Shack.
First Nightjar, then Oriole, now Swift: the latest rare bird from Ed Weil and his missus, Rosie, is this pretty Soho perch. Swift's swallows, top 'tails, are down to Mia Johansson and Bobby Hiddleston. "Who they?" Google 'em! The bar's basement giggle juice joint is straight out of Bonnie and Clyde. Dunaway and Beatty shoot Armagnac, almond, pistachio and rose petal sours.
Hooch trickles through conduits sunk into a communal table hewn from a mighty oak, the focal feature at this specialist Tokyo-style whisky bar. Jap minimalism for mademoiselle - as seen at Loewe, Marni and Jil Sander this season - and classic Comme for the garçon will cut it at this Aoyama-chic Zen den from The Worship Street Whistling Shop posse.