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5 MUST-VISIT CHAMPAGNE BARS IN LONDON
GREAT EXPERIENCE CHRISTMAS PRESENT IDEAS FOR YOUR LOVED ONE
Let's face it, this Christmas the only present you need to nail down is the one for the wife. Something that will keep her happy until Valentine’s Day at least. I learnt this lesson the hard way back in my twenties. A girl I was dating had to go out on Christmas day and get her own presents because mine weren't up to scratch. 'What am I going to tell Mum?' She would whine, and of course she was right. The Mum, the best friend, the hairdresser are all going to ask your misses 'So what did he get you this year?' And once they find out all she got from you were some crotch-less panties, guess who is going to be getting the stink-eye when you all get together for New Years.
So here's an idea, treat her to a night at a Champagne bar. Pick her up from work, book a table, order a fair-to-middling bottle of Champers and make sure she tags herself on Facebook so her friends realise what a stand-up boyfriend you are. Here are the top five spots in London to take her to...
The name is a bit obscure (Goat), but the layout of the cocktail bar on the first floor is beautiful. Plus it's in Chelsea so already, it sounds plush. There is an old pulpit centred, utilised by the DJ's whom work their magic on the Friday and Saturday nights. Chelsea Prayer Room is their speak-easy 1920's bar and their drinks gurus, Steve and Tim, bring their combined 30 years of experience in making drinks to every single cocktail tasting! The result is a list of old school cocktails and forgotten classics, with the guys’ own little twists added to each one. They're closed 21st-25th December, open again on Boxing day so get in there quick and book a table. Also book ahead for New Years and catch the return of Madame Noir who sold the place out with her Burlesque show at Goat on Halloween - tickets available here.
Amuse Bouche Champagne bar, established 2006, is the Parsons Green hotspot known for great champagne at London's most competitive prices. It's also home to Claude's Kitchen, which for me conjures images of Claude Littner from the Apprentice hunched over a steak grill, looking confused at his Sous Chef running around haplessly before turning to a camera and saying 'Frankly, it's a shambles'. But I digress, and it's anything but. Not just a Champagne bar, Claude’s Kitchen also featured number four on the Evening Standard’s best new restaurant openings of 2013. Don't forget to mention that to the missus if you're treating her for dinner as well.
SEARCY'S ST PANCRAS
Now the only danger with taking the misses to Searcy's at St Pancras is that she might be thinking you've booked tickets to take her to Paris. If you have, then perfect. Treat her to a bottle of champers at Searcy's beforehand and this will take her mind off the fact you didn't fork out for Business class tickets on the Eurostar because the prices were simply, extortionate (Although those dome-shaped leather head rests are simply divine). If you haven't got tickets for Paris, then just remind her that you pre-warned her at the start of your courtship to manage her expectations.
This good-looking gastropub (Lord's Tavern) could actually work to the opposite effect to Searcy's at St Pancras. Watch her face drop like Brett Lee in the Ashes of 2005 when you tell her you have tickets for the Cricket at Lords for her Christmas treat. Then watch it light up like Chevy Chase's house in Christmas Vacation when she realises she doesn't have to watch a one-dayer between Middlesex V Gloucester, she can dine on exotic dishes such as roulade of pork belly or confit duck leg whilst nailing Champagne made especially for the MCC.
HARRODS CHAMPAGNE BAR
The Champagne Bar at Harrods lets you enjoy the full selection of Harrods collection, from the Harrods NV, to the Rosé, Grande Réserve to the delicious Vintage 2004. There à la carte menu is specifically designed to complement these fine Champagnes and is refreshed seasonally. The only downfall is that it's closed in the evening, so why not tell your missus you're taking her out for lunch instead. Set amongst the international fashion collections on Harrods' First Floor, this venue encompasses a contemporary bar overlooking the store and an intimate lounge and dining area.