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You’re just as likely to bump into David Cameron as Cameron Diaz at one of its venues. V&E finds out why London can’t get enough of Brompton Brands
Pubs, clubs and restaurants, all with their own unique concept – this is Brompton Brands. Piers Adam and Nick House, the duo behind the company, have two things in common: a keen eye for their target audience and a determination to constantly improve their venues. Since the opening of Mahiki in 2006, the Brompton Brands portfolio has grown rapidly and garnered a steady stream of publicity. However, the success of the collection is based on more than media hype and good connections – these are venues that know their market. With two more set to open soon, V&E took the BBs tour to find out what makes each one tick, and collared co-founder Nick House to share the secrets behind the group’s success.
The best-known of the venues, the Mayfair bar and club is as famous for its royal connections as its unashamedly kitsch Tiki interiors and party-starting cocktails.
See...glossy-maned aristobrats dancing to cheesy classics and hoovering up retro rum cocktails. If you stay there late enough, you’ll most likely catch sight of a celeb or two (it’s a favourite post-gig hangout for touring A-listers like Rihanna, spotted there recently).
Eat...Mahiki’s signature dish, The Slider, an organic beef patty from master butcher Allens of Mayfair, served in a brioche bun topped with American cheese.
Drink...the legendary Mahiki Treasure Chest (pictured, below right), which serves up to eight guests. It comprises Mahiki grog (rum base), brandy, peach liqueur, topped off with a bottle of Moët & Chandon Champagne.
Book...the Southern Comfort No-Tell Motel Room for up to 25 guests. It’s a private space tucked away in the corner of the underground club area, complete with a double bed, personal waiter and karaoke machine. Hold a Tiki-style private party anytime from 5.30pm-3am.
The Caledonian-themed members’ nightclub in Mayfair’s London Hilton Park Lane mixes stags’ heads with house music, creating a dimly-lit den for visiting celebs and Bentley-driving party seekers.
See...a well-heeled but refreshingly relaxed crowd of Brit-Euro party-goers and gossip-column fodder with the odd royal thrown in. The most recent addition to the family, Mike Tindall, was in there last time we went.
Drink...from an encyclopaedic list of vintage wines and Champagne, but don’t miss a wee dram of the good stuff either (after all, when in Rome).
Hear...Euro-friendly dance music.
Book...the Luxe Room, which will accommodate up to 80 guests for a private party. You might have some A-list competition for it though – on our visit, Cameron Diaz had booked the space for her entourage. For large enough parties, the main club (160 capacity) can be hired exclusively on any day, at any time.
The most recent launch – opened late last year – The Rose Club is a modern-day speakeasy, designed to look like the inside of a jewellery box. Mirrored walls, dancing ballerinas and high-tech LED lighting make for a visual feast.
See...good-looking girls – and their well-heeled chaperones – week long, with a night for creative industry types on Mondays. This is one of the London clubs du jour so the crowd is suitably beautiful or suitably wadded.
Drink...the house special, a Mojito made with lemons and topped off with Champagne. Approach with caution – it slips down very easily.
Hear...dance, the odd burst of classical (yes, really) and sets from the likes of Will.I.Am (pictured), David Guetta or 2ManyDJs when they’re in town. Think high-end house party with an iPod on shuffle and a bone-shaking sound system.
Book...the 300-capacity club, which can be hired out in its entirety on Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday evenings. Smaller groups can book tables for 10 guests.
This underground members’ restaurant and club has a smart, old-school feel, which suits West London locals just fine.
See...a nicely pressed crowd with floppy hair and public school vowels. Prince Harry et al are known to be fans. Thursday nights, when a live band plays Latin music, are a particular favourite.
Eat...surf ‘n’ turf from the revamped menu – there’s a new chef joining the ranks as we go to press.
Drink...the venue’s own rum punch, called an Argentinian Polo Club.
Book...the VIP area, which holds up to 40 guests.
Dating back to 1750 – the second oldest pub in Mayfair, no less – The Punch Bowl has a simple, worn bare-wood interior and plenty of old world charm.
Drink... a cask ale if you want to get in the spirit of things. After dinner, work your way through the catalogue of 30-odd whiskies on offer.
See...locals, hedge fund managers and you’ll also probably bump into a headmaster from the local school. He’s been going there for 35 years and is said to have his own button on the till.
Eat... the Allens of Mayfair Punchbowl sausages, mash and onion chutney from the ‘British fusion’ menu.
Book...the 25-capacity Dining Room.
THE MARKHAM INN On the corner of Chelsea Green, this restaurant-pub has an inviting old-time adventurer’s theme. Union Jacks, dusty books, red leather and dark wood give it a sophisticated best-of-British feel.
See...the chattering denizens of SW3, fresh from a day at the office/on the King’s Road, making for a lively atmosphere.
Eat...the grilled Scotch beef burger with British sweet-cured bacon and cheese – a local favourite.
Drink...the Chelsea Flower Show cocktail: prosecco, gin and elderflower.
Book...table 44 – the best spot in the house, seating up to eight guests.
This article was first published in Square Meal Venues & Events, summer 2012.