Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Black Door, August 3rd

This is a rather odd complaint to make of a bar, but the The Black Door was entirely too popular. I guess it has been a long time since I went to a cocktail bar that is more like just a bar, and not the kind of place where you make sit-down reservations. I was ill-prepared for the masses and just didn’t warm to the place, and neither did my party. When I suggested we move on after one drink, everyone was very enthusiastic about this idea. Perhaps it was because there was a sizable group of us and too many people in the way for us to be able to mingle as we would like. I had made arrangements ahead to reserve an area, which was waiting for me when I arrived, and throughout the email exchange they were very professional and accommodated me, but I must admit, they did come across as a bit cold in email. I had a nagging impression they didn’t really care if they got our custom or not (understandable once we got there and saw how full it was). This is in contrast to the Star of Kings who I also emailed about reserving an area and who seemed somehow to exude cheeriness over email, even though, in the end they hadn’t actually set aside an area for me. That didn’t really matter though, as when we got there we pretty much had our pick of places to sit.

After a very enjoyable few hours at the Star of Kings (which was markedly busier than the first time I went there), we moved on to the Black Door. I was firstly disappointed that you couldn’t actually get to the cocktail bar through the black door down the side street. Instead we had to go in through The Fellow, which definitely ruined some of its mystique. Then, there were the aforementioned crowds. So, we found our table, but it was so crowded that not everyone could fit near those of us who were sat down. My friend and I ordered a julep and this was nicely strong and tasty. I have no complaints about the drinks. But the music they were playing wasn’t at all what I was expecting – I thought they stuck to retro 50s and 60s but apart from one Talking Heads song (which doesn't fit that brief anyway), I didn’t know or care for what they were playing. In some ways, this didn’t really matter as there wasn’t any room to dance like I’d hoped there would be anyway. It was a shame though as I am very fond of The Fellow, the pub downstairs. I’ve had a few drinks in there on more than one occasion and think its lovely with a menu that I plan on trying one day. As you’d expect from the sister pub of the Owl and the Pussycat. So I was expecting more of the same charm from the Black Door, and it didn’t deliver.

So, we moved on. To the downstairs part of Drink, Shop and Do, which is called Drink, Shop and Dance. This was MUCH better. Busy, with an atmosphere, but not crowded – there was enough room to start dancing by the bar, but they also had a dedicated dance area at the back which we made much use of. The music policy was commercial but eclectic. Perfect for people who had been drinking for about 5 hours, then.

And, the cherry on the cake, was when we spotted John Torode dancing away in there. So far Stephen and I have seen Michel Roux, Monica Galetti, and now John Torode. Only a matter of time before we see Gregg Wallace chowing down on a pud somewhere and we'll have spotted the full deck.

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I work as an editor in educational publishing by day, and then spend most of my spare time discovering interesting things to do in London, and taking people there with my own Meetup.