9pm found a few friends and I sipping martini’s in the 007 bar at Dukes Hotel. When a mature bartender in a white jacket with a silver cocktail glass badge approaches the table wheeling a tray full of drinks accoutrements, you don’t bother asking for a menu.
“Antonio” I said to our waiter, ‘This is the best dry vodka martini with a twist I’ve ever had, and I love the way you mix it at the table”. He grinned. “I’m so pleased. The lemons are from Sicily, I think they add that special touch’.
The evening floated by. A girl at the table next to us leant over. ‘My friend has just left, and I’ve still got a bottle of champagne left to drink – would you like to join me?’ Introductions were made and the chat flowed. Antonio brought us more macadamia nuts and little round things which didn’t do much to soak up the by now heady mixture of grape and grain.
People drifted off, but magic was in the air and the night was alive with possibilities. “Shall we go dancing?” I asked Naz, our new friend. “Well, we could go to Loulou’s but I go there all the time – I’m so sick of it”. “What and where is it?” I asked. “It’s the hottest club in town” she replied.
She was right. Half an hour later saw us descend to the basement of 5 Hertford Street. Suits and ties were de rigeur for the men and anything short and sassy for the girls. I felt the beat of the disco floor and I was there. “Stayin’ alive’ greeted me and I danced with abandon.
Venturing up to the glass atrium, I got chatting to a man wearing a ring with a picture of Jesus in the middle surrounded by diamonds. A lady called Dee Dee joined us and produced a slim packet of Vogue cigarettes. “They’re so cool” she said. “You sort of click them and a little blast of mintyness comes out” She took the Marlborough Light out of my hand, crushed it under her foot and said “Here have one of mine instead”.
Back on the dancefloor, arguably the song of 2013 came on. Suddenly most of 5 Hertford Street were there: a final festive fling in the right place, at the right time.