Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Swanky New Bar, But Don’t Take Away The Chocolate Tree

By Christian Rose-Day.

£2m can buy many things. Google has a few ideas. Apparently, last year there were a few interesting ways in which £2m was (nearly) spent: UK taxpayers spent £1.9m renting two buildings in Northern Ireland that were actually empty; a Californian car enthusiast spent £1.9m on a 1949 Delahaye Type 175 Roadster which was previously owned by blonde bombshell, Diana Dors; whilst Malaysian tycoon Zhen Low and New York property developer Winston Fisher spent a meagre £1.8m between them in a single night at the Les Caves du Roy nightclub in St Tropez buying £600 bottles of champagne for their friends, just to see who could spend the most.

£2m can also buy a whole new marble floor and a swanky new bar and lounge to plonk on top of it. That is the amount it took to refurbish the bar at the InterContinental Hotel on Park Lane and name it The Arch Bar. As the InterContinental is home to the luxurious Theo Randall restaurant, the amount spent is probably not a surprise. (It is also home to the lesser-known Cookbook Cafe, incidentally).

As is the London truism, expensive bars require expensive launch parties and an expensive crowd to attend. Which is how I found myself surrounded by a large crowd of beautiful people sipping vast quantities of Moet from dangerously tall Champagne flutes loudly admiring the new marbled floor and gin-focused creations (they have 25 different gins to choose from) of the newly opened Arch Bar.

Money had been thrown, verily, at this launch. There was an ice-carved Champagne bar, an edible chocolate garden, two semi-naked phantom nymphs, a live jazz band, indoor-outdoor grass (that nobody was allowed to walk on), and immaculate waitresses with perfect air hostess hair carrying canape and drink trays bearing live vegetation.

The chocolate tree was particularly popular with the ladies present, especially the shorter ones. Many of the pickable chocolate treats remained untouched at the rear, hard-to-reach branches. All it needed was one tall, chocolate-loving gal to come along and....CHOMP. That, or a chivalrous chap with very clean hands.

I was mostly interested in the steaming Mother’s Ruin creation - Six O’Clock Gin, Tuppence Duty, a mix of champagne, fresh lemon and Fifty Pound Gin and Ernest Roots – which bubbled like a witch’s cauldron and packed a punch that was equally spellbinding.

Take away the fickle fancies of this particular launch party, however, and The Arch Bar - named after the iconic Wellington Arch across the road - will, I am certain, be a much quieter domain in the coming months. And then, £2m will buy a whole lot of peace and quiet.

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