Well, it’s been quite a ride, but after five years my journey with Playboy Club London has come to an end.
From breaking records, with the world’s most expensive cocktail (using ingredients collectively 800-years-old) to breaking bottles (I will never forget the crash of that 18th century £150,000 bottle of cognac as it smashed on the floor), to hosting half of Hollywood and wall-to-wall music stars, I feel like I’ve achieved something of note for London’s incredible night-time scene. At one point I had every single one of the world’s most beautiful supermodels in my bar.
You’ll appreciate that after four decades of late nights in London, and after running bars in casinos and fancy hotels I’m ready for something different. That doesn’t mean I’m stopping, oh no. Maybe a smaller, more intimate home for my frighteningly strong Direct Martinis – arguably my legacy to London. Or maybe a home focused on my other love, the Negroni. Either way, I feel no less evangelical about my mission to spread the good word of classic cocktails. After having opened bars In Los Angeles and Las Vegas during my time at Playboy, I’m also heading east, with a new bar opening shortly in Hong Kong.
I feel like our drinking culture is at something of a crossroads. Everyone is drinking less, but hopefully making better choices when they do drink, better informed by the drinking revolution that has occurred. I hope I’ve played a part in that – I’ve been a judge in the world’s biggest cocktail competition since 2009 and watched amazing young talent come through to be recognised around the world.
You’d be mistaken for thinking that I write this with something of The Godfather about me. That I’m settling down to tend my tomato patch while my empire works without me. Well, sure, my sons are in the family business – they’ve got two great bars in east London – but I assure you that’s where the similarities with Don Corleone stop. But I do appreciate that I’ve become something of a guiding hand in the capital’s cocktail scene, even if I don’t quite have the Brando drawl.
Playboy….. It’s Been a Pleasure !!