By Kate Williams.
Ahh, remember turning 25? It's a funny age. (If you've not reached it yet, SPOILER ALERT. Also, I hate you for your youth)
Reaching 25 is a gatepost where, in coming years, hangovers will feel like near-death experiences, you'll start caring about home décor, and dinner parties consist of more than pre-cut carrot batons, a tub of Lidl humus and three for a fiver wine from the iffy offie downstairs.
This year the forever-youthful TGI Fridays reached this particular milestone in London and I was there to help celebrate.
Everything you'd expect from a ”Fridays” was present: platters of beige, moreish food, served by staff who are enthusiastic to the point of cartwheels, and cocktails; pages and pages of cocktails.
Sure, there are cooler places to drink cocktails in London - check out the Top 10 Best Cocktail Bars in London for evidence - there's no doubt about that. But when it comes to fancy cocktail flaring showmanship – much like what I witnessed (and won!) last year
or the recent Guinness World Flairing Record attempt by Fridays - and sheer quantity of drinks, TGI is hard to beat.
'Work your way through the menu by the end of the night,' the cheery server said as I flipped pages, struggling to choose. The trouble is, so vast is their drinks list that her invite, if accepted, could have had her up in court on manslaughter charges.
In the end, I couldn't meet the challenge and bowed out when the party was still raging with only a long island ice tea and a couple of margaritas to send me swaying on my way.
So can we expect TGI Fridays to grow up now it's reached it’s quarter century? Will the film poster-clad walls be hung with "affordable" art? Will they start serving their potato skins on a bed of samphire and on-the-vine cherry tomatoes? And the cocktails, will they be served in dinky glasses by snooty waiters who act like you ran over their puppy?
Pah. TGI Fridays, all grown up? Not bloody likely.
Looking for cocktail bar inspiration? check out the Top 10 Best Cocktail Bars in London