Wayside Gardens: Staying Power - The Bars And Restaurants That Stand The Test Of Time


Here today, gone tomorrow, bars have a reputation for short-term success. But a few have the ability to ride the times and keep on top of the game.Ten years ago, I was sitting in The Groucho Club one late summer's evening discussing with a now well known haute couture designer, the new wave of drinking culture that was enveloping the capital, arguing that London really had never been so exciting. Up until that point, drinks were very much a secondary element of the overall experience - wine was simply white or red, beer came only in a pint glass and vodka was whatever paint-stripper the barman chose to pour. But in the nineties, we were on the cusp of a cocktail movement. New-world wines were making the Chardonnay and Shiraz as commonplace as the Bordeaux, while new conceptual drinks like Red Bull were seriously shaking up the market, broadening people's drinking landscape and challenging us to think about drinking as more of a lifestyle. Slowly, what was behind the bar appeared to be taking over the focus of the night. People were whispering rumours of late night bars that were open into the wee hours, where glamourous glitterati rubbed hips with the international jet-set over Manhattans and Martinis. They, along with The Groucho, were the places everyone wanted to be seen and their popularity seemed untouchable to all but the most cynical.Of course, everything has a lifespan, we cynically agreed: fashion is dead in a season, and a fashionable bar - well you wouldn't want to bet the house on it would you? We both concluded that fashions simply can't last and those bars, which today were the subject of snaking queues, would quickly turn to yesterday's news as would the drinks that were being quaffed within. Of course, in most cases we weren't far wrong. Mondo, Saint, Titanic, Riki Tik... all have fallen by the wayside having once been celebrity favourites of their day. Many others have turned from exclusive A-list excellence to godawful tourist tat. The Gin Sling became the Sea Breeze became the Bramble became the Vanilla Mojito...But it's not all doom and gloom. Today, another ten years hence, I am back in the same leather couch of the same Groucho, and ordering from the menu a Red Bull, a drink whose ability to transcend fads and trends seems to symbolise the aspirations of nightlife culture. It has history and heritage and has attained almost timeless appeal. Fashionable works for a while, but every owner, manager and promoter hopes and strives for one thing ultimately - and that is to be the next classic. Because the classics, while small in number, exist on a plain far superior to fashion. Dotted amongst the sprawling community of one-off wonders that populate the bar world, a few classics really have stood the test of time, riding the cyclical waves to achieve immortal credibility. The Groucho is one of those timeless classics. Through the years it has always been at the top of its game, its members' list comprising the same names that populate the pages of the celebrity press together with the successful and powerful in the world of media.Nowadays, octogenarian founder members sit comfortably alongside young achievers and its long-term future would appear to be set in stone. Embassy is another long-time winner - or more to the point, its ever-present Rock 'n' Roll proprietor, Mark Fuller, who ran the original Embassy twenty years ago with equal success. This most recent incarnation of one of London's most famous clubs, now with a fine dining restaurant that counts among the capital's very best, and glitzy nightclub in the basement, is a rare constant in the oscillating world of the fashionable. Another face that has always been associated with bar and club supremacy is Jake Panayiotou who ran original celebrity hot-spot, Browns for a decade before moving on in its hay-day. His last few years at the helm of the Wellington Club in Knightsbridge have seen the age-old members' club climb to yet new heights. But it's not only members' clubs that can battle through the ages unscathed. Music-led venues such as Medicine Bar in Islington, Bar Rumba, The Cross, Bar Vinyl and The End have all proved their mettle, while the likes of Hanover Grand, The Gardening Club and Iceni have collapsed into the annuls of 'hip' history.So, what is it that sets the one-hit-wonders apart from the immortals? What makes a classic? Three characteristics seem to pump through the veins of all the long-term winners."Quality, choice and adaptability," says Cas, The Groucho's pre-eminent bar manager, as he deftly shakes up cocktails from behind the bar. "You have to offer a quality experience in the drinks, the music, the food and the people. You must give customers what they want and you have to adapt to the times." Subtly underlining the point, my Red Bull silently arrives at the table on its own tray, dressed with a single, perfectly folded napkin.Can staying power really be so simple to achieve? With twenty years of success behind The Groucho, the club is quite an authority on the subject, but it was Darwin who concluded that "the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting to their environment." Sounds pretty familiar to me and, let's face it, you can't argue with Darwin.HERE TO STAYOur selection of bars that we think will still be doing it in ten years time...MAYFAIR: EmbassyAn all-round club for the all-round socialite, Embassy offers food on a par with Michelin starred restaurants, drinks that are as good as any great cocktail bar, a basement club and a guestlist that could double as a who's who of London. COVENT GARDEN: The End & AKAOne of the capital's most respected dance music venues, with Mr C behind its success. Music is always ahead of its time and drinks are a world away from most dance music venues. KNIGHTSBRIDGE: Wellington ClubWith over 100 years of history, The Wellington has been reborn as an exclusive hangout for the city's hippest. Lounge bar and club rolled into one and popular with the pap's and the press alike. WEST: Woody'sOn the banks of London's longest canal, Woody's has become accepted as the members' bar for the music industry. Three floors of food drink and dance with a collection of the best music and cocktail mixologists in the country. ISLINGTON: Medicine BarIt was the bar that put Islington on the 'credible' map. One of the original DJ bars that has been made a home to the clubbing community of the 1990s. CAMDEN: Bar VinylReputedly the first DJ bar in London, Bar Vinyl combines a record shop with the only bar in Camden really worth its salt. The bar is minuscule, but the offering is enormous and the future is vast. SHOREDITCH: HomeOne of the originators of the Shoreditch movement, Home made its mark before all of the others and continues to hold its own. It has moved from a scraggly basement bar to a slick, but funky cocktail bar and restaurant and continues to define the times. SOHO: The GrouchoA favourite media hangout, The Groucho is like a party in your own front room with the kind of people that anybody would eat their own right arm to have turn up at their party. Now with a more modern bar on the first floor to complement the leather and wood ground floor classic, it is a members' bar that suits all and bound to see in another twenty year term. HOXTON: ZigfridA newcomer to the Hoxton set, Zigfrid is most likely to be here in ten years. Brainchild of leading bar designer, Paul Daly, it appeals to the more creative Hoxtonians and since the district is a hotbed of creativity, it's proving pretty popular. FITZROVIA: SocialA collaboration between bar gurus The Breakfast Group and music gurus, Heavenly Social, this backstreet concrete bunker of a bar offers some of the best DJ-led and live music about. Now with sister venues in Islington and Nottingham, Social is destined for a big future. [EXTRACT] Today here, tomorrow, the bars have a reputation for short-term success. But few have the ability to travel in time and staying on top of game.Ten years ago, I was sitting in the Groucho Club for a late summer night discussing with the now well-known fashion designer, the new wave of drinking culture that surrounds the capital, arguing that London really has never been so exciting. Until then, the drinks were very much a child of the overall experience - the wine was simply white or red wine only beer in a glass of beer and vodka was what painting-separator chosen the bartender to pour . But in the nineties, we were on the cusp of a movement of cocktails. From the New World were making Chardonnay and Shiraz as common as Bordeaux, while the new drinks like Red Bull conceptual seriously shake the market, expanding landscape of people drinking, and challenges us to think about drinking more as a lifestyle. Gradually, what was behind the bar seemed to be taking over the care of the night. People were whispering rumors of late night bars that were open until dawn, where glamorous celebrities rubbed hips with the international jet set in Manhattan and Martinis. They, along with Groucho, were places around the world want to be seen and his popularity seemed untouchable to all but the most cynical.Of course, everything has a lifetime, according cynically: fashion is dead in a season, and a trendy bar - so you do not want to bet the house you would? We concluded that fashion simply can not last and the bars, which are now the subject of winding queues quickly become yesterday's news as drinks were being drunk inside. Of course, in most cases were not far wrong. Mondo, Saint, Titanic, Riki Tik ... all have fallen on the road once you favorite celebrity of his time. Many others have become exclusive listing for excellence in tourism A dreadful tat. The Geneva Sling became the Sea Breeze became Bush became the Vanilla Mojito ... But all is not gloom. Today, ten years hence, I'm back on the leather sofa in the same Groucho himself, and order from the menu of a Red Bull, a drink whose ability to transcend fads and trends seem to symbolize the aspirations of the culture of nightlife. It has history and heritage, and has reached almost timeless appeal. Jobs in fashion for a while, but every owner, manager and developer hopes and strives for one thing ultimately - and that will be the next classic. Due to the classics, while small in number, there is a much higher level of fashion. Dotted among the growing community at one time the wonders that inhabit the world of bars, some classics have really stood the test of time riding the waves to achieve credibility cyclical immortal. The Groucho is one of those classics. Over the years has always been on top of their game, the list of its members ", which includes the same names that populate the pages of celebrity news along with the success and power in the world media.Nowadays , octogenarian founder members sit comfortably alongside Young Achievers and long-term future seems to be immovable. Embassy is another winner from long ago - or rather, the owner always present Rock 'n' Roll, Mark Fuller, who directed the original Embassy twenty years ago with the same success. This latest incarnation of one of the most famous clubs in London, now with a fine dining restaurant from the capital account of the best, and a stunning nightclub in the basement is a constant odd oscillation in the world of fashion . Another aspect that has always been associated with the bar and the supremacy of the club is Jake Panayiotou who directed the original celebrity hot-spot, Browns for a decade before moving in its hay days. His last years at the Wellington Club in Knightsbridge have been climbing the old members' club but new heights. It's not just club members "who can fight through the centuries unscathed. Music-led places such as Medicine Bar in Islington, Bar Rumba, La Cruz, Vinyl Bar and the end, all have proven their worth, while the likes of Hanover Grand, The Iceni Garden Club and have collapsed in the annals of history "hip." So what sets the one-hit-wonders, apart from the immortals? What makes a classic? Three features that make the pump through the veins of all long-term winners. "Quality, variety and adaptability," says CAS Groucho excellence the bar manager, and skillfully shaking cocktails behind the bar. "You have to provide a quality experience in the drinks, music, food and people. You must give customers what they want and need to adapt to the times." Subtly underline the point, my Red Bull goes silent to the table in its own tray, dressed in a single power, neatly folded napkin.Can be really easy to achieve? With twenty years of success behind Groucho, the club is an authority on the subject, but it was Darwin who concluded that "the fittest win at the expense of its rivals, because they manage to adapt to their environment." Sounds very familiar to me and let's face it, you can not argue with STAYOur Darwin.HERE A selection of bars that we believe is still being done in ten years ... MAYFAIR: Embassy comprehensive high society club all year round, the Embassy provides food to the few Michelin star restaurants, the drinks are as good as any great cocktail bar, a basement club and a list of guests who could double as a who's who of London Covent Garden. The purpose and AKAOne of the most respected in the capital of dance music, with Mr. C behind their success. Music is always ahead of his time and the drinks are a world away from most places in the dance music. Knightsbridge ClubWith ​​Wellington over 100 years of history, The Wellington has been reborn as a unique venue for the most fashionable city. Lounge bar and club all in one and popular with the Pap and the press alike. WEST: Woody'sOn the banks of London's longest canal, Woody has become bar members of the music industry. Three floors of food, drink and dance with a collection of the best music mixers and a cocktail in the country. Islington: Medicine Barit bar was placed in the Islington "credible" on the map. One of the first DJ bars has become a community club house of the 1990s. CAMDEN: Bar VinylReputedly the first DJ bar in London, combines Bar Vinyl record store with the only bar in Camden really worthwhile. The bar is tiny, but the offer is enormous and the future is enormous. Shoreditch: HomeOne of the creators of the movement of Shoreditch, home made his mark before all others and continues to hold its own. It has grown from a thin bar in the basement of a spot, but funky cocktail bar and restaurant and continues to define the times. SOHO: The favorite meeting place of the media GrouchoA, Groucho is like a party in your own front room with the kind of people that nobody would eat his own right arm to have to turn up at your party. Now, with a more modern bar on the first floor to complement the classic leather and wood floor is a bar member that fits all and forced to watch in another period of twenty years. HOXTON: ZigfridA newcomer to the set of Hoxton, Zigfrid is more likely to be here in ten years. Creating the main bar designer, Paul Daly, appeals to the more creative Hoxtonians and from the neighborhood is a hotbed of creativity, is proving quite popular. Fitzrovia: Collaboration between Social gurus breakfast bar Group and music gurus, Heavenly Social, the concrete bunker of a speakeasy offers some of the best DJ led and live music around. Now, with the sister sites of Islington and Nottingham Social is for a great future.
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