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#154 Harvey Nichols Champagne Bar

July 1, 2011

"Nice blurry photo, dickwad." That was my critical self, by the way. My critical self is apparently a bully from a John Hughes movie.

“When I drop in Harvey Nicks,
To shop in Harvey Nicks
If I don’t look hardly slick,
Or appear hardly fit,
The cashier don’t hardly trip,
The lady hardly flits,
Unless I’m wearing barmy shit,
Or garments that are the shit.”

These words from the Mitchell Brothers tune always pop themselves in my head every time I go in Harvey Nichols. Up top, away from the sparkly-spark clothes and millionaire-street-style basement, next to the food hall, is the Champagne Bar, where all you need is cash and a thirst.

The Champagne Bar is everything a Harvey Nichols Champagne Bar should be. It’s ‘inspired by Emile Gallé’s iconic 1902 anemone design for the Cuvée Belle Époque Champagne bottle’, apparently. Maybe so. But Art Nouveau it’s not, and tasteful it ain’t. This concept translates into white-and-neon garishness and a plasticky trad-modern feel that’s already looking dangerously dated.

But god knows, there are enough too-cool-for-school bars in London that daren’t wear their diamonds on their sleeve. It’s good and right that this one is a bit silly around the edges. It’s only missing some zirconia-encrusted stag’s heads to really tick all the trad-modern clichés.

Everyone in the Champagne Bar is rocking a glam look. Some of them are even pulling it off. They’re also surprisingly anxious, which is silly, because this is still just a department store bar. You can see them in their maxi-dresses and giant shades, knocking back champagne at £13.50 a glass (for the cheapo Harvey Nichols own-brand stuff) and rubbernecking for celebs. We saw that James Corden in here once. Even he didn’t look at his ease. Relax, people! Enjoy yourselves! Your garments are indeed ‘barmy shit’! And we mean that in a good way!

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