IS, what economic crisis? Piccadilly, at least, is experiencing a revival, says clubs entrepreneur Fraser Donaldson, who tonight opens the £25m Dstrkt on Soho’s Rupert Street.
“If you look at Hakkasan, Nobu and Roka, they all have two to three-week waits for tables,” reasons Donaldson, the former owner of Prince William’s favourite club Crystal on Wells Street. “If you come in at that level, I think you have every chance of success.”
Donaldson and his business partner Ivaylo Krastev of the Buddha Bar in Vienna tested the water by hosting the wrap party for the X Factor on Tuesday night, attended by judges Louis Walsh and Tulisa Contostavlos and the show’s winners Little Mix.
“It went down very well,” said a sleep-deprived Donaldson yesterday after a 3am finish; now he hopes to attract “multicultural and discerning” drinkers to the 12,000 sq ft basement venue formerly occupied by Planet Hollywood and Rex Cinemas.
The lounge bar and 162 capacity restaurant will open at 6pm six days a week, before transforming into a 580 capacity club with a 3am licence. “This is unique in London,” said Donaldson. “We are a one-stop shop so you don’t have to go anywhere else.”
DSTRKT is also “a good place to entertain clients”, says Donaldson. But possibly not for coffee – unless you want to spend a generous £70 on every cup, as the Soho venue is the only UK establishment to serve Kopi Luwak, the world’s most expensive blend.
Don’t be put off by the fact that the Indonesian beans pass through the digestive system of the Asian Palm Civet before being “cleaned up” and ground into coffee. The smooth flavour – “like caramel” – apparently justifies the price tag.
As do the economics of supply and demand for the limited commodity – the next nearest place to order a cup, The Capitalist is informed, is the Ritz Carlton hotel in Paris.
CALL it insider knowledge; call it venture capitalists’ ability to know a loophole when they see one.
Either way, when somebody behind the bar at the Bistro du Vin on Dean Street tipped off sixteen VCs that the restaurant was offering free happy hour drinks to all Father Christmases working in the West End, there was only one sensible thing to do: rent costumes and turn up in Santa suits demanding cocktails.
The group, aged between 28 and 35, weren’t quite what the general manager had in mind, but the bistro stuck to its word and gave the bankers an hour’s worth of drinks on the house. And then axed the every-Monday promotion two weeks early.
CREDIT Agricole’s press release on its enforced cutbacks read like an M&S advertisement.
The bank isn’t making 2,350 employees redundant just before Christmas, it is “meeting the challenge” imposed by tougher regulation and a turbulent economy. And it isn’t leaving 21 markets, it is “focusing on its strengths on serving the real economy”.
Sure, it is always good to emphasise the positives. But yesterday’s release dripped with so many upbeat platitudes the cynical would be forgiven for thinking the bank was trying to spin its bad news so heavily the City lost sight of the disaster.
Even losing your job was presented as a career opportunity. The “preferred” option is for staff transfers and “job mobility”, says CA, while voluntary redundancies will be looked on “favourably”. Onwards and upwards!
NICK HOUSE MUSIC
YOU’VE drunk your body weight in pina coladas and elbowed Prince Harry out of the way in the VIP area – now buy the CD.
Yes, Mahiki’s first compilation album, Fun Times: Volume One, has hit the shelves of HMV in time for Christmas at an oligarch-friendly £8.99. The “super fun” tunes in the mix include Stand By Me (at the bar) and Sheikh, Rattle and High Rollers*.
*With apologies to Ben E King and Bill Haley
INDIA’S biggest business names descended on Grosvenor Square for the launch of two books for tycoons: Indian Powerbrands, which features 81 of India’s most successful brands, and Cult, by professors Arindam Chaudhuri and A Sandeep.
Ipsos Mori founder Sir Robert Worcester, Cobra Beer boss Lord Karan Bilimoria and Lycamobile chairman Subaskaran Allirajah all attended the gala evening, where the 27 awards handed out included Most Popular Indian Racer, for Karun Chandhok of Indian Formula 1, and Hall of Fame Rockstar of Bollywood, for film director Farhan Akhtar.
India’s answer to Bernie Ecclestone, meanwhile, Sahara Group’s chairman Subrata Roy Sahara (left), won Indian Business Icon of the Year.