We just don’t party like we used to. Yes, partially because we’re getting older and can no longer dance for more than an hour without looking for deep tissue massage deals on Groupon. But also in a larger sense. Because gone are the days of Gatsby, secret basement soul nights, and wine-stained ball gowns. Instead we have clubs that’ll charge you £20 to dance in strobe lights, contemplate tinnitus, and decide you need a McDonald’s after finding out that Jason Derulo is still making music. Luckily for all the old souls and people with Fitzgerald complexes out there, London still has somewhere where you can party like it’s 1920. And that place is Quaglino’s.
A grand jaw-dropper of a hall hidden beneath Bury Street in Mayfair, this place has been serving stylish debauchery and cocktails since 1929. Okay, technically they closed for a hot minute back in the eighties but hey, who needs historical accuracy when you can eat beef tartare whilst watching a live band perform the best of the Rat Pack? We don’t. Especially when you take into account that they also serve a very decent - and yes, very expensive - whole lobster situation. The menu here is packed full of big European brasserie classics with a handful of surprise twists à la avocado rolls thrown in. You’re either going to want to lean into the polite little bar snacks or stick to the dishes that Sinatra wouldn’t turn his nose up at. You know, a round of oysters here, a crème brûlée there, and big tarted-up pieces of fish and meat for your mains. None of it is going to, erm, ‘fly you to the moon’, but - spoiler alert - you’re not here for the food, you’re here for the atmosphere.
It’ll hit you at full force from the moment you enter. A grand, sweeping amber staircase that you should descend slowly and ideally with your mate casually filming you from the bottom step (#candid). You’ll see people playing dress up for date night at the huge 360º bar, birthday groups making their way through their fourth, fifth - maybe seventh? - bottle of bubbles, and older, seriously dolled-up couples sat in front of the stage simply raising a cheerful hand for another St Germain cocktail from a suited and booted server, please. You’ll find yourself in some kind of glamorous alternate reality full of champagne flutes, loud saxophone solos, and a distinct feeling that you’ve definitely never had gum stuck to your shoe in your entire life. Sit down, start merrily toe tapping, get involved in a hefty £50 côte de boeuf or just some nice little nibbles from that glowing bar. It’s time to party, baby.
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