A few weeks ago, I had what for me amounted to an epic night out in London. It began at 5:30 in the evening and ended roughly 11 hours later, as the sun was juuuust beginning to rise over Hampstead.
The night began near the American Embassy, where my friend Erin and I grabbed some tapas and then rendez-vous’d with embassy employees. In the two minute walk between embassy and tapas, I had my friend English celebrity siting: Mark Francis, from Made In Chelsea. And I freaked out a little. If you’ve read the blog much, you know I regard Made in Chelsea as the ultimate guilty pleasure and I’ve been a regular watcher since arriving in this country. So the night kicked off with a little thrill.
We went to a club called Amber, near the Barbican Centre. It was a sprawling nightclub complex, really, which three different dance floors. We stuck to the one that had a light-up Rubik’s Cube dance floor and go-go dancers (some on roller skates) wearing orange legwarmers. For me, though, the highlight of Amber was the giant disco-ball drinks – the only other place I’d had communal drinks like that was at Asian restaurants, where they’re typically called Scorpion Bowls. But these came served in the bottom half of a disco ball.
We were among the last to leave the club, around midnight, when we went to a bar a few blocks away (it had a sort of vintage feel and a big booth for all of us, but I forget what it was called or where it is). And then around 1:30 am, we went to a Bar Nightjar. I am obviously unschooled in London nightlife, but Nightjar is apparently a big deal. By showing up at 1:30, we were able to waltz right in and get a booth in a little alcove in the back, and then we each got an incredibly complicated, lovingly-crafted cocktail. When they kicked us out hours later, we paused at the little stage (pictured above, although the picture is an advertisement) to play some Beatles tunes. The waitstaff was so bemused by this display that they just stood there and waited for us to finish.
I didn’t realise until later, but when I told my friend Robert we’d gone there he said “And you just walked in? No waiting? No crappy table?So lucky!” So my advice is, if you go, go really, really late at night.
The next day, having not really recovered, I left for Switzerland and had a mercifully wholesome holiday, with lots of looking at cathedrals and brisk walking and bread and cheese, but not a lot of copious quantities of alcohol.