Reinventing the old-school bar legends

Tim Badham
LEGENDARY venues are currently undergoing reboots all over London. Home House’s newest portal to hedonism, The Vaults, draws inspiration from Studio 54 for a modern twist on the glory days of disco. This intimate space has a private entrance leading to a clandestine leather-clad door complete with chain-mailed peepholes. Inside, vaulted rooms of rich copper and gold hues mix with the ultra- modern to striking effect, creating an exciting new take on decedent after-hours partying. The VIP rooms have cutting edge technology, art and sculpture, including X-Boxes, karaoke machines, burlesque stages and an anything- goes attitude.

Epitomising old school reinvented, The Arts Club on Dover Street was founded by Dickens but its recent relaunch has firmly placed it in the 21st century. The opening of their new night lounge Club Nouveau is generating even more interest partly thanks to Director of Music Mark Ronson, and co-owner Gwyneth Paltrow who has already turned in a trademark “Forget You” performance. Mica Paris, Ronnie Wood and Ronson himself have also graced the central stage (which has a serious sound system) and is set to showcase emerging artists and live bands.

Down the road on Old Park Lane, The Met Bar has opted to offer access to non-members and has undergone a sexy revamp following the charity eBay auction of the former bar. It now incorporates a sleek black lava-stone bar capped with leather, back-painted glass and gold tables, a raised private booth and mural art by British artist Giles Miller.

Rock and roll is still the order of the day. The Cuckoo Club, another enduring hotspot with Rock routes, has enlisted the iconic Barbara Hulanicki to complete their redesign incorporating neon art work from Kerry Ryan (longtime Emin collaborator) as well as work from other significant artists. The look and feel still screams exclusive fun but now has an arty twist. Embassy is also shortly to be reinvented with new restaurant Kitchen Joël Antunès on the ground-floor of their landmark Mayfair site. There’ll be an understated-chic interior evocative of mid-20th century Riviera glamour with Carrera marble topped bar, classic French limestone tile flooring, Slim Aarons prints and a couple of Tracey Emins neons too – not to mention superlative Provençal cuisine from the eponymous chef.

Beefy Sloane Street staple The Rib Room has also just been renovated a la Martin Brudnizki and features a glamorous new bar and cigar terrace.

Tim Badham is the founder of Innerplace, London’s leading entertainment concierge. Experts in access to exclusive members clubs, bars, restaurants and VIP events. @InnerplaceLDN