The best evenings in the history of spontaneous fun usually turn on a single, important question: ‘How many more are we going to have?’
My boyfriend and I were sat in The American Bar at The Savoy Hotel, celebrating the birthday of a woman I’ve never met, who lives on the other side of the Atlantic.
‘One or two?’ Ian asked, peering hopefully over the top of the cocktail menu. We’d already had one cocktail. But now Ian had said the word ‘two’. He’d sewn the seed in my head that three cocktails may not be excessive. If everything went pie-eyed from here on in, it would be his fault. I mean, officially so. He’d asked the question, not me. I couldn’t be blamed for a thing…
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I should start at the beginning.
The New York sewing blogger, Oonaballoona, isn’t what you’d call a wall flower – not unless said wall flower is an hibiscus or a tiger lily. She’s out there and fabulous, and it’s little surprise that she declared her birthday month ‘the most awesome month in the history of the world’. She invited her fellow sewing bloggers to an online birthday party on Friday 5 August. The only stipulation was that we wear our favourite handmade dress.
Well, who was I to refuse?
‘Ian,’ I wheedled, ‘you know on Friday night, can we go out for cocktails? You see, there’s this sewing blogger and she’s had this really good idea and…’
Ian rolled his eyes. I knew I’d got him at the word ‘cocktails’. Operation Oonaballoona was on!
I decided that I had to wear my fabulous rose print cotton dress (after taking the hem up by four inches) but where to go, where to go…? I wanted to visit one of London’s better hotel bars. Then I remembered. Oonaballoona’s American… The American Bar at The Savoy! So it had to be. If you want to indulge in a cocktail yourself, the menu’s here.
So after an impatient day’s work I showered, changed and made my way into town to meet Ian. Obviously, glamour at all cost was high on the agenda:
I did wonder how people would react to a woman in a rose print tea dress wandering down the Strand, but I should have remembered – this is London. I could have had a teapot strapped to my head and no one would have batted an eyelid. I felt distinctly ignored:
The Savoy hoved into view. Because I am a classy chick, I sat down on a chair outside a chain restaurant and in full view of passing strangers changed my trainers for my red wedge sandals. I was set to go! I turned the corner and prepared to have fun:
I really wanted to be snapped with this doorman, but he looked a tad busy:
Because I was headed here:
Now, you all know I like to be photographed with strangers. So whilst Ian browsed the cocktail menu, I marched over to the bar staff and asked if they’d mind… Did they mind?! These men were natural performers! Check it out:
Don’t let these photos fool you with their brightness. The bar was entirely made up of hues of brown, discreet lamplight, pools of shadow and dark corners for secret assignations – none of which helped me feel confident walking in my wedge heels. I gratefully sank into a chair and ordered my first cocktail.
What should it be, what should it be… I wanted something to truly honour Oonaballoona’s spirit. The Hanky Panky it would be!
Fancy some Hanky Panky?
Now, I can drink a cocktail with the best of them but – hoo, boy. That one blew my head off. I decided to visit the toilets whilst I could still walk – one must always check out the toilets in these establishments:
How disappointing. Almost exactly what I have at home. NOT!!!
Another random photo:
One of my favourite parts of the evening (other than people watching the very rich) was the piano singer. With jet black hair and an ability to keep the ivories tinkling even when old dears went over to chat to him mid song, he looked as though he’d walked straight away from an evening in Vegas with the Rat Pack. He had a cotton handkerchief that he would open with a snap of his wrist, before carefully draping the handkerchief over his piano stool prior to sitting down. Marvellous! I was determined to be photographed with him:
‘Are YOU American?’ I asked earnestly, waiting to be regaled with stories of wild nights in speakeasies.
‘No,’ he said. ‘I’m half Welsh, half Irish.’
I then had a Millionare Cocktail no. 3 (so so) and a Moonwalk (superb). As I indulged in my final cocktail of the evening, the piano singer started Sinatra’s New York, New York. How appropriate for Oonaballoona! my befuddled brain thought. Perhaps I should join in…
I promise I was only singing VERY quietly into my iPhone. I swear I didn’t embarrass Ian.
Happy Birthday, Oonaballoona!