A Man Walks Into A Bar
After posting a piece complaining that London is hardly a 24-hour city, there were a lot of comments, one from Emma at 24HourLondon pointing out that their app would locate around-the-clock London hotspots.
A neat idea – except that the first three places I picked were all shut. ‘Round the clock’ appears to mean ‘Open a bit later on Friday and Saturday nights’. However, Jan’s point about being able to do it if you traverse London is right if you’re prepared to move around, and the app is great for finding such places.
It’s pretty much always been true that you could party 24/7 if you tried hard enough. Back when pubs still closed between lunchtime and after work, we would haunt Soho’s old drinking dens, miserable basements full of bellowing strawberry-nosed sots. Legendary reputation aside, the Colony Club (above) was probably the most depressing bar I ever visited.
After pubs shut you could hoof it to poky upstairs bars which had to legally serve food to serve booze, so they’d give you a shred of shepherd’s pie on a paper plate.
But a lot of places opened at odd times. The Valbonne in Kingly street was a disco with bikini-clad dancers gyrating in a fountain, and we’d go there on a Friday lunchtime, then totter back to work. Equally, Leicester Square ran a roller disco nightclub on Sunday afternoons that culminated in a race around the square for a magnum of champagne (they wouldn’t let you do that now!)
In the spirit of curiosity I headed for ‘Brunch in the Park’ in Barcelona, brunch in this case meaning afternoon and evening. Rather than a sedate picnic it proved to be an EDM bash with facepainting and Hawaiian shirt stalls. The big question was, do the Youngs do anything different now? The answer was; no, and it’s a lot more sedate and polite. The music is not as ear-bleeding, everyone’s cheerful but not outrageously off-their-faces, there were billions of security guards and the males were more shredded, threaded and plucked than the females. Plus there was a stall where people were ready to explain your rights to you. Very nice, a bit boring.
Europe, however, is genuinely 24/7, not just open a bit later at the weekends. Me, I’ve always been a morning person, so the question is irrelevant anyway!