The Writing’s On The WallNo, this isn’t a portent of misfortune mixed with doom and gloom. This blog post has been triggered by a mid-week visit to a new basement bar in Clapham (and yes, I did fall over again). But seriously, let’s consider wallpaper, often overlooked or deigned worth of but a mere fleeting mention in critical bar and restaurant reviews. It’s not the obvious thing to talk about, as there’s almost always something to say about the food, the cocktails, the atmosphere, the cocktails, the music, the cocktails. But this time, I’m looking at the walls. I love bars and restaurants that take interior designs to the extreme. A venue with a visually vivid style will always stand out. Look at the Callooh Callay and Lounge Lover cocktail bars in Shoreditch. Even if you haven’t been to those bars you know that when you eventually do it’ll be a treat for the eyes.
Out of Africa and in to ZahraThe recently opened Zahra bar (pictured above) - basement bar under the Clapham branch of Del Aziz - is a basement bar with the rather apt line address of “The Pavement”, that oozes Middle Eastern sexiness. The launch party I attended included canapés worth fighting over, a live jazz duo singing songs ranging from Nina Simone to Lana Del Rey, and belly dancers that seductively swished veils and swords simultaneously. This all done in a room with wall-to-ceiling wallpaper that I can best describe as a zany pick n’ mix of tribalism from Aztec to Zulu. So mesmerised was I by the print extending towards the ceiling that I forgot to grab my helping from the mezze platter; a major error, which resulted in my having to grab a Chinese takeaway box to eat on the tube ride home.
Darling buds of FollyCome springtime, approach The Folly bar (pictured above) near Bank in the City of London with care because floral frocks will be everywhere thanks to the fashion catwalk. Stand next to the giant floral motifs on the Sanderson wallpaper and Harlequin fabrics and you risk being invisible for the rest of the night. Sample the delicious Rosehip & Red Chili Margarita, by all means. Just don’t do so while head to toe in petal prints and beaded blossoms. If you must be the flower girl (or boy) then be careful with your choice of flower; red rose screams “I love you” while a yellow poppy represents wealth and success and will say “I love you for your money”.
Nights at the CircusThe price of silver is at an all time high and no other venue shows that better than Circus in Covent Garden, with its stylish interior design. Alleyways of kaleidoscopic mirrors, glitter balls on the ceiling, and a harlequin patterned wall instantly transports guests to a world of high decadence and glitzy glamour. Add a few fire-eating ballerinas and one or two half provocative performers on a suspended hoop and the evening’s a roaring, soaring success.
Baby’s got a case of the Blue Bar BerkeleyOkay, so this hotel bar - Blue Bar Berkeley - in Knightsbridge is completely blue. Can’t say much more than that. It’s perfectly weird - like sitting in the sea after a storm – I love it. I’ve scheduled revisits to all of these bars in the next month. First up is Zahra bar to make up for the lost mezze platter feasting from the first time round. My wallpaper judging is over and I approve wholeheartedly. Now bring on the Lamb Boreck and Falafel!