August is the quietest month for clubs and so openings are thin on the ground in the West End. Last week however saw the launch of one of the biggest new venues in London (yes, Camden is in London) with a distinctly African theme. Shaka Zulu (www.ahaka-zulu.com) is Stables Market’s new destination restaurant, nightclub and cocktail lounge with a touch of Disneyland. Just around the corner from what could be its long lost Pan-Asian cousin Gilgamesh, the cavernous 27,000 sq ft space covers two floors with a 740 capacity and a reputed cost of £5.5million. The scale of the design is certainly impressive (if you can ignore the slightly less than authentic shiny escalators) and the spacious lounge bar is open till late, so if you fancy trying a bit of springbok or are or have been pining for the dear departed Umbaba, it may be worth heading north to explore.
There have been a number of promising neighbourhood openings dotted around recently. The much talked about and very glossy Phene (www.thephene.com) in Chelsea has been a great success with the discerning (if slightly Sloaney) locals. Its high quality finish with chic interior and all important outside terrace ticks all the right boxes. It follows in the footsteps of Coquine (www.coquinelondon.com), another launch of recent months that has continued to impress on the Old Brompton Road with its elegance and attention to detail.
Another interesting recent debut has been Purl (www.purl-london.com) in Marylebone which has been pulling in a trendy crowd and even the odd celeb. The basement bar with copious booths and nooks and crannies is worth seeking out and is ideal for groups to hang out without pretension or pesky minimum spends. The brand new Italian gaff Tempo (www.tempomayfair.co.uk) on Curzon Street has a hidden gem with its slick upstairs lounge bar on top of this modern but homely eatery. Stylish design with restored original features successfully marries old and new with a flat screen thrown in for good measure. In the summer staying local is obviously a good idea.
Tim Badham is the founder of Innerplace, London’s leading provider of VIP entertainment, including film premieres, fashion shows, launch parties and members club access.