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Another old West End tavern has succumbed to ‘progress’. In the case of The Carlisle Arms, this translates as conversion to a quirky kitsch cocktail lounge, decorated with 1960s tat. Here, Soho drinkers are introduced to Simmons’ unpretentious take on teapot cocktails and long boozy happy hours. The unsophisticated likes of Long Island Iced Tea, Sex With A Lad, Golden Sour and My Tie (Simmons’ soundalike slant on Trader Vic’s rum classic) aren’t going to outgun Messrs Lyan or Lorincz. There again, you’re unlikely to land two for £10 cocktails at The Mondrian or The Savoy. Worth sampling during happy ‘hour’ (3pm to 8pm daily) is A Punch In The Head: an overproof rum cup served in a Damien Hirst-style crystal skull; this party drink for five has proven popular in Simmons’ branches at King’s Cross, Camden, Fitzrovia and Tower Hill. Not all chains are equally unwelcome, say we.
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