Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Posh Bird in Soho - a party, a pop-up club and a bed at Groucho's

Posh Bird had quite the Soho night out last weekend. My father worked there in the 80s when it was still a proper sexshop dive (there was a sign on the buzzer below his office, which said, "busty, blonde model" which I remembered thinking, even at the age of 10, was a rather odd way to get modelling jobs). Then in the 90s it got trendy as the film companies and advertising agencies got richer. I used to hang out at Madame JoJos's, Soho House, the Boardwalk, the Limelight and Raw (strictly speaking off Tottenham Court Road but cool enough to be almost Soho). Late night coffees in Bar Italia and early morning breakfasts on Old Compton St were de rigeur.

But in the Noughties, the mainstream crowds moved in and I rarely would go there on a weekend night. During the week is still fine - cocktails upstairs at Quo Vadis (since the divine Sam and Eddie Hart took over), a bit of music at Ronnie Scott's, a meeting at Soho House or catching the flicks at the Curzon Soho. But weekends are reserved for the coked up bridge 'n' tunnel crowds. Not for me.

Still, I had a happy occasion to be in the area this time - for a friend's wedding party. Posh Geezer and I tottered off to the Union Street club, which I like a lot. It's not too poncey, with red glossy walls and a relaxed atmosphere. Afterwards, we popped into the amazing pop-up members club at House of St Barnabas, which was set up by Quintessentially's Ben Eliot. Every single rug, glass, oil painting, cushion and fork has been begged, borrowed and stolen by the very clever and extremely fun interior designer Russell Sage. It's got the air of an impromptu party in a half-abandoned house. Lots of people are going to miss it when it closes on December 21st.

Finally we rocked up to the Groucho, where we were staying for the night. I'd been very kindly asked by the PR if I wanted to try out their club rooms. I have to admit that the room itself is a little basic if you're used to 5 star country hotels (what, moi?) but not if you're used to squeezing into central Manhattan. The bed is comfy, there's a decent bath, a big telly, an iPod base plugged into the speakers and the service is truly impeccable. I was a difficult PB, demanding chips, batteries (for my radio, don't be naughty), an A4 envelope and tea. It's not really meant to be providing full room service, but they did. And for £135 a night, I don't think you'll find much cheaper or better in deepest central London. You even get the joyous Soho atmosphere: lagered-up shouting until the early hours. At 6am, I took a peek outside. The washed down streets reflected the street lamps and a neon sign glowed - 'Sex Shop Basement'. Ahh. Familiar comforts.

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