Monthly Archives: November 2011

My Alibi in Manchester

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Hello to my beautiful subjects!

Last week I ventured up to Manchester again alas on a work mission not a party trip which is never as fun, but when life gives you lemons….ADD VODKA! Tee hee.

Given I work for a website, it’s pretty important that I have access to the internet…well tell that to our IT manager, I couldn’t log on to the Wi-Fi and after an hour of procrastination and with my in-tray piling up by the hour, I hauled ass and tried to find a free Wi-Fi spot.

I found a nice little bar/coffee stop/restaurant on the corner of Portland Street, very close to the town hall square called The Alibi. The warmth hit me as soon as I walked in and this was a welcome break to the freezing winds outside.

Logging into the Wi-Fi was so easy and so quick; I was very grateful but not so grateful when I saw my email inbox.  I was going to need some serious motivation tunes and some coffee. I could have kissed the barmaid when I saw that they served Costa coffee, so 2 Americano’s later I was in full swing and finished my workload in record time which gave me an hour or so the chill out and enjoy the rest of what The Alibi had to offer.

I really liked the decorations, there seemed to be lots of areas, by that I mean, at the back of the bar were several semi-circle booths with low lighting and atmospheric wallpapers, the middle of the bar were higher tables perfect for perching on a stool with an equally tall cocktail. (The cocktail menu did look pretty awesome)  The front of the bar was filled with smaller tables, benches and gazebos. I liked the idea of bringing the outdoors inside and gave the bar a nice air-y feel to it.

The stairs were lined with oversized vintage pin up posters. I LOVED the posters; I will have to get my hands on some of those for my flat I think. The VIP area was also upstairs which had a great view of the rest of the bar.

6pm came along and the bar slowly filled with people celebrating the weekend and I would agree The Alibi is the perfect place for a post-work drink or 3… or 5 or 6 and a spot of dinner. I ordered a bacon and tomato melt which normally come with chips but swapped the chips for extra salad – It is nearly party season. Well its always party season for me but sequin dresses never look good with a tummy full of chips.

Scores on the (royal) doors:  

Food and service:  All seemed very friendly.

Atmosphere and decoration:  different atmosphere and décor in each corner, loved it.

Facilities:  Liked the huge posters on the way to the loos.

Talent Radar:  Not too bad, possible hotties….

Fun Factor: would have been better if I had my party peeps with me

Perfect for: pre-drinks, Lunch time filler, free Wi-Fi, Yummy cocktails

In 3 words: Dark, atmospheric, sexy.

For other reviews visit Manchesterbars, qype and Viewmanchester or Citylife

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The Southern Comfort Juke Joint – Deep South in London

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Well howdy y’all Im just fixing to go out on another party mission but just before I do….

*Cough Cough* So who was invited to the coveted Southern Comfort Juke Joint last week? Oh only yours truly!


Even though I get to go to some pretty awesome parties and events, it’s fairly rare that such an invite pops up in my inbox. Back in’t day a Juke Joint was basically a party held in a (to quote SOCO) “Beat-up run down shack where people would gather to dance the night away” At these unplanned parties, musicians would often rock up and have a little jam to get the party really started. Well 100 years later, the location has moved ever so slightly from the Deep South of New Orleans to central London but the spirit is 100 per cent still there. Long live the Deep South.

The party was held at The Metalwork’s just behind Angel tube station in an old industrial space which still had a lot of its old features such as cobbles, the metal frame windows and red brick walls. Southern Comfort had transformed the space with spray paint, lined the walls with corrugated metal and placed a huge life size model of an old tube train in the middle acting as a bar.

We were given two branded poker tokens which could be exchanged for drinks at the bar. I had a Cranberry and Southern Comfort which I’ve never had before but really enjoyed it, and had one of their tall cocktails which was Southern Comfort with ginger beer and lime juice- now I don’t like ginger beer or ginger ale but that drink was lush! I’m going to steal and claim it as my own at my next cocktail party.

I turned the corner to go to the other dance room and was greeted by a man in a rocking chair waving a handkerchief! “Well hey there ma’m welcome to the juke joint. How r’ y’all t’day?”  I was a little taken a back but was really impressed the effort SOCO had gone to make the event authentic, that wasn’t all though! Various characters were milling around all night including a voodoo man with white and black face paint on, a couple of ladies giving out SOCO mardi-gras  necklaces, a dancer strutting her stuff on the dance floor and another lady giving out branded tambourines, hand shakers, and various other hand held instruments. I love my tambourine but I’m sure the other passengers on the way home didn’t appreciate my jiggling and my singing – more fool them!  At one point all the female characters climbed on the bar and had a little dance, coyote ugly style.

The music was awesome; I stayed for DJ sets from Blonde Ambition, Joe (Hot Chip) Goddard  and Dixon Brothers. The music was normal house/electronica/dance music with one major twist. A trumpeter, snare drummer or trombone player were playing alongside. Joe Goddard and the trumpet player were in my opinion the best pair, it worked really well. Loved it. Check out this video, it’ll prove my point!

Blonde Ambition

I was accosted by two face painters who painted a lightning bolt of my chest out of UV paint which (unsurprisingly) showed up when I passed through the UV in one of the other rooms.

All night I kept getting whiffs of food, a slight Smokey, chilli, creole smell filled the air all night. I thought it was a smell pumped into the air until I saw the New Orleans kitchen at the back of the main room selling Jambalaya, chilli and other New Orleans classic dishes. I didn’t taste any myself but saw people walking round with plate plied high of food, salad and rice. It really did look very very tasty.

Scores on the (royal) doors:  

Food and service:  The smell was divine

Atmosphere and decoration:  Edgy, very welcoming and the decoration was minimal but made a big impact

Facilities:  lots of old style school type benches to rest my feeties.

Talent Radar:  Not too bad, possible hotties….

Fun Factor: Loads’a fun, a one off unique event and I appreciated all the effort SOCO had gone to bring the Deep South to London

In 3 words: #Voodoo Baby Voodoo#

Fun in Sheffield – A mini pub crawl.

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Hey Guys

Last week I felt an uncontrollable urge to go back up to the North. (Granted it’s not that north but when you live in London anything above Watford is north) I had it good authority that Sheffield is an awesome night out so with high hopes I decided to brush up on my northern accent and hopped on the train.  Next stop Varsity Sheffield!

Varsity Sheffield is smack in the middle of West Street – the main street in the city where you can find most of the bars, pubs and clubs in the city, hence why it has been re-named “wobble walk”. The bar has just had a refurbishment and had a great trendy, warehouse style feel to it. Sections of the bar were sectioned off with shiny beaded curtain. The bar swept round in a semi-circle in the centre of the room and the large floor rugs and the happy staff warmed the pub up from the freezing temperature outside.

Beer tower anyone?

The best thing about this Varsity is the Karaoke booth! Students and karaoke are a match made in heaven, especially when you throw in cheap drinks!

Once my tummy was sufficiently filled with burgers and chips and coke, it was time to move on the next pub! The bar staff recommended The Bessemer, so next stop The Bessemer!

The Bessemer is only a short 5 minute walk from wobble walk towards the town square which on this occasion had been turned into a mini fair, I’d like to think for purely my benefit but who am I kidding! It’s a lovely bar with a real homey feel to it with lots of character.  I really liked the idea of putting all the old real ale signs on the main pillar by the bar, and the old LPs around the DJ booth, it was a nice little touch.  At the back of the pub there were a couple of pool tables and a darts board which was great for keeping the kids quiet and a bit of light entertainment in the afternoon. I’m not sure if I can class a game of pool as exercise but we are told to do 20 minutes of sport a day and pool is classed as a sport. A glass of jelly beans and a few rounds of drinks brought a nice close to the evening.

DJ Party Princess?

 

Scores on the (royal) doors:  

Food and service:  Lovely talkative staff in Varsity

Atmosphere and decoration:  Great family feeling in The Bessemer

Facilities:  Love the pink bleach in Varsity!

Talent Radar:  Too occupied by pool and jelly beans to notice!

Fun Factor: Not a mad crazy night out but lovely still.

Varsity Perfect for: Karaoke, student hang out, pre clubbing drinks

Bessemer Perfect for: Family friendly fun, bar games, real ale.

In 3 words: Sheffield rocks….a-lot

Burlesque Birthday @ The Alchemist

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#HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR ALCHEMIST
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOOOOOU#

Last week was the 1year birthday party for The Alchemist. Read my previous blog on The Alchemist here. I was a promised a night of fun, frolics, fire, water and burlesque and boy was I given all of those things!

Not only was it the 1st Birthday party for The Alchemist but it was also the 30th of my girls, so the only natural thing was to co-inside these two very important dates in one big extravaganza!

I booked a table in advance, The Alchemist is packed on a normal Friday, but this was not an ordinary Friday,  it would be extra busy and I’m very very glad we pre-booked a table. We were greeted by fire eaters and fire dancers at the entrance, which was….hot! I couldn’t do what these girls do so massive credit to them, they looked amazing and it very quickly draw in a small crowd and people starting streaming into the bar.

As well as pre-booking a table in an area which they called the tea room, the wall with the faces to you and I! We also pre ordered a round of pizza and drinks. So one goats cheese pizza, one pepperoni, one margarita and one ham and mushroom pizza later (good job its 2 4 1 on pizza after 3 pm), with a few bottles of wine, the main event kicked off! Only a burlesque martini glass dancer! Move over Ditta – or maybe not, she’s pretty awesome. The dancer was amazing; she definitely attracted a big group of men with their mouths down to the floor, including my flat mate who shamelessly filmed the whole thing with his chin scraping the floor.


Once fire dancers had burned out and the martini dancer had dried off, we re-grouped, and to our joy the DJ and the dance floor were in full swing. Just in time for a rendition of Beyoncé and Jay-Z. A round of mojitos later the dance moves became more gestured and after yet another round of Long island ice teas, we were busting some serious shapes on the dance floor!

Scores on the (royal) doors:  

Food and service:  Really fast service

Atmosphere and decoration:  Buzzin’

Facilities:  Hand dyers blew me away

Talent Radar:  Bring on the hunky suit brigade!!

Fun Factor: Loads of fun, Ive got a sudden want to start burlesque dance classes.

Perfect for: Girls night out, general hang out, first date, post-drinks work, pizza party.

In 3 words: Fire, martini, goodness!

Halloween at The Rectory, Purley.

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Hellooooooo

I love Halloween.  I love Halloween. Shall I say it again…..I love Hallo…, you get the picture!! The main reason I like Halloween so much is that it’s a great excuse for a spot of fancy dress,  it’s the only time I get to flex my gore make up skills and most of all I like seeing other people’s fancy dress skills. Unlike half of the population of the UK when it comes to Halloween I like to dress up scary, not slutty. This year I went a vampire, with a stake through its heart and my friend went as my victim/murder.

I heard the place to be this Halloween was a pub in Purley called the Rectory so gathered up my band of dead(ish)  friends and headed over Purley

I couldn’t believe it when we walked in! There were cobwebs, giant spiders, massive pumpkins, huge gravestones, mini spiders amongst the cobwebs and the entire bar staff had gone all out in a massive fancy-dress-a-thon. Not only did we see a zombie Smurf but we had Mexican skeletons and Pumpkins, not to mention the other customers who had dressed up as a cross dressing zombie bride and his zombie followers. All in all, my efforts were dwarfed.

DEMON!

It wasn’t till later in the night speaking to the bar staff that I realised that all the decorations were hand made from papier-mâché by the manager herself. Giant pumpkins, spiders, graveyards, witches cauldrons, all totally amaze. I think from the pictures, it’s pretty safe to say, she did an AWESOME job! *Claps to her*

The rest of the customers, (even though slightly drunk) were really friendly and all of them very very talkative. I couldn’t shut half of them up to be honest. Several rounds of Southern Comfort put us in the same situation and we were happy to join in the conversations.

I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking! Well done to all the staff for making the night totally fantastimacal.

 

Scores on the (royal) doors: 

Food and service:  Really quick, lots of creepy zombie smiles

Atmosphere and decoration:  awesome, amassing, outstanding, creative…

Facilities:  managed to dodge the dancing dead people on the dance floor

Talent Radar:  Little older but very friendly

Fun Factor: Hell to the yeeeah!

Perfect for: Massive all-rounder, must visit during the day to get a better over view.

In 3 words: The Monster Mash.

For other reviews visit Croydon Today and All In London

Brazil in Bank – Casa Da Cachaca @ Cape Woodstreet

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Every now and again a very strange thing happens in Central London between St Paul’s and Bank. What is usually a trendy, smooth cocktail bar overnight transforms into a vibrant, sensual, Latino love fest!

I’ve visited Cape Bar on the corner of Lovers lane before (read my previous blog here) and when the manager (Lovely Miss Ellie Baldin) described their Brazilian theme I couldn’t think of a better place to have it! In order to rally the troops all I needed to say was “Brazil”, “Tequila” and mention the opportunity to bag a bronzed Latino and I had the makings of a winning night out.  It was suggested that we book a table before hand as it expected the bar would be chocka-blocka and it was a good job we did because it really was packed! I would recommend you do the same if you are going, Click here for more info.

 

 

Walking in, I hardly recognised the place! The bar was teaming with life, cocktails lined the bar and the dance floor was filled with people swaying their hips and salsa-ering the night away. Imagine the first dirty dancing scene but to Brazilian music, and that’s very close to what was going on.  This particular theme was Halloween so a few people had donned their costumes and the bar was decked out with spider webs and the TV screens had swapped the Rugby World Cup matches to the Corpse Bride movie.

Everyone looked to be having so much fun, I don’t think there was a unsmiling face in the room, even the bar staff were having a little sway behind the bar.  I didn’t want to miss out but my dancing skills are rather limited – I’m too used to shuffling awkwardly in an overcrowded nightclub dance floor. So I grabbed a round of jagerbombs and grabbed my friend and hoped the music would guide my feet in the right direction!

I have to say, I understand why they say salsa dancing is such a good workout! After a few impromptu lessons from a lovely chappie whose name completely escapes me, I had grasped the hang of salsa style dancing! The next few hours were occupied by wiggling my hips, spinning on my toes, giggling and encouraging the rest of my friends to join me and my dancing teacher.

 

The Casa Da Cachaca Brazilian party is a monthly party at Cape Bar on Lovers Lane/Wood Street. Entry is free for girls, between £7-10 for boys. Free shots of tequila before 11pm and the you can party the night away until 4am!

Scores on the (royal) doors:  

Food and service:  Lovely staff as always, great fancy dress efforts from everyone

Atmosphere and decoration:  So much going on, awesome atmosphere, can’t help but smile and giggle when everyone else is so happy.

Facilities:  Great respite from dancing , my poor feet.

Talent Radar:  masses of beautiful people!

Fun Factor: 10856739575928% YES!

Perfect for: Girls night out, hen party, group parties, cocktails, dancing, bagging a hottie

In 3 words: BEST NIGHT IN-AGES!

For other reviews of the bar visit Viewlondon.com, Allinlondon.com and Crazycowevents