From sleazy chic to grand hotel-glam

Tim Badham
THIS week’s hottest launch took place down an unassuming alley off Soho's Brewer Street (the old Raymond Revuebar site) where imposing oaken doors hide London's newest spectacle, The Box. This sister club to NYC's theatrical speakeasy is not for the faint hearted. Lurid murals line the walls of the womb-like reception room where would-be revellers await their fate. Ascend to VIP, with its private bar and dark leather settees or head for the cavernous main room, dominated by a velvet-curtained stage where the most licentious of fantasies are brought to life. From the Prohibition-flavour of the drinks menu and décor to the retro swing of the music, The Box is an ideal destination for beautiful people yearning to feel just a little bit damned.

The other major launch this week is equally hip with a decadent feel but on a slightly grander scale. The Four Seasons Park Lane is finally here following a stunning £125m renovation and with it comes the seductive Amaranto ( Comprised of lounge, bar, restaurant and even a garden terrace, Amaranto impresses at every turn. Designed by Pierre Yves Rochon, who recently reimagined The Savoy, there are eastern touches mixed with the contemporary and the eclectic. Black marble, deep reds, walls of wine and the most spectacular chandelier.

Back in Soho the ever popular Polpo on Beak Street will next week open the Cicheti Bar ( below the dining room, to provide much needed overflow space. You’ll be able to enjoy light cicheti snacks and “ombra” in the rustic Venetian/Soho setting with exposed brickwork and wooden communal tables, but it will be the buzzing atmosphere which will no doubt be the main draw.

The Polpo Cicheti Bar will serve classic cocktails, including signature Venetian Spritz, along with a carefully selected Northern Italian wine list. Owner Russell Norman keeps his finger on the pulse and this simple tavern belies a savvy understanding of what works.

Finally, for Paddington commuters there’s a plush new place to go. Searcys, also behind St Pancras Grand, has opened Paddington Champagne Bar ( in the heart of the station. Offering fifteen sparkling vintages by the glass including Dom P, it will help you float to your destination even if the rest of your journey is not quite first class.

Tim Badham is the founder of Innerplace, London’s leading providers of VIP entertainment, including film premieres, fashion shows, launch parties and members club access.