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#176 The W Lounge

April 15, 2011

Thats what this hotel bar needs: shelves full of sexy plates! There. Thats better. Our work here is done. Now to cover the London Eye in parma ham.

Now that the scaffolding has come off the fantastical glowing cube on the north-west corner of Leicester Square, we thought we’d venture inside. The W Hotel occupies a lot of the spot – it’s part of a transatlantic chain. Hotels mean hotel bars. Hotel bars mean cocktails. Cocktails don’t need to mean anything as long as they have gin in. Case closed.

The W Lounge is the hotel’s main bar. It’s meant to be rockstar and luxe but can’t quite pull it off; it feels uncomfortably plasticky. Despite the obvious expenditure, there’s a towny, Essex-y feel that’s entirely in keeping with the location. (It’s almost like a ‘posh hotel’-themed hotel bar.) The panoramic windows give you a fantastic view of the KFC across Whitcomb Street. (Of course, if you sit in the first floor of the KFC, you have a much nicer view.)

My Wesper (the James Bond-concocted Gin and Vodka cocktail the ‘Vesper’, with an added sprig of wild rosemary) was almost undrinkably foul – but this is James Bond’s fault for making such a terrible cocktail, not the W’s for serving it. Mrs Brown’s berry cocktail was serviceable, but hardly special. Most of the tables around us were filled with awed pre-teens sipping fruit juices and carrying swag from The Rainforest Café, with the odd grumpy-looking old-media type trying to look like they fitted in.

Just like the good old Trocadero, we reckon that the W Loungue is on a journey from cool and cutting-edge to scuzzy and silly and fun. I predict a long and happy life of post-West End Show parents and daytrippers wandering in to soak up the atmos. Boozy lads’ gatherings are likely to be turned away, but something tells us drunken girls’ groups might be more lucky. This is the West End, after all. The W had better get used to it.

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