Sullivan, Edward, The Evening Standard (London, England)
Byline: EDWARD SULLIVAN
Noble Rot, W1
It is a symptom of these hard-hit recessionary times that bar proprietors are coming out from behind their public relations machinery and communicating their message directly. This pleases me because, unlike the ditzy brigade of PR girlies who are otherwise my occupational hazard, bar owners tend to have access to basic information such as their own name, what day it is, and where they are.
These guys don't have to lie down of an afternoon through the exhaustion of having had butterflies flapping round inside their heads all day.
I don't flatter myself for one second that these highfalutin guys and gals have been overcome by a sudden desire to befriend me. It is more probable that they're starting to feel the pinch of the recession, and that their onetime successful and exclusive venues are now struggling to attract a decent following. Red ropes, it seems, are set to become a thing of the past as an increasing number of venues become accessible to the hoi polloi.
The very amiable Dane S?ren Jessen - onetime business partner of Oliver Peyton and current operator of the bar and restaurant 1 Lombard Street in the City - is my latest email companion. It seems that he was wondering why, given that I have visited Noble Rot on a number of occasions, I had chosen not to review it. This 'oversight', I explained, was partly due to my belief that writing about exclusive venues would provide little, if any service to my readers, and that members' bars had their own committee of the great and the good to communicate their message.
We're 'absolutely not' a members' bar, Jessen protested. He insisted that there is no door policy and that the membership only applies after 11pm.
(Westminster Council often only grants late licences with the condition that late entry be restricted to members, or by a cover charge.) But a quick peek at their website (www.noblerot.com) reveals expressions like 'exclusive', 'private members bar', 'membership by invitation of the committee' - all reflections of the buoyancy of the late Nineties when operators could get away with such tactics.
So we rocked up one midweek evening and found the greeting to be warm and friendly. …