There was never a point growing up, sitting exams, when I imagined my future and thought “yep, bet I’ll end up in a bar that serves Full English on a pizza”.
It wasn’t in the plan. No-one expects to face a menu of pizza toppings like chicken tikka and onions, or lamb doner with garlic sauce. Or sesame prawn with Chinese greens and chilli. Or meatballs and parmesan. Horrified yet? Imagine being my poor girlfriend, about to fly home to Naples, being presented with a list like this as a goodbye gesture. The publicity bluff calls it ‘playful pizza’ but I swear to God the waitress apologised when she heard the Italian accent.
But this is Bobby Fitzpatrick. It’s a 70s themed bar: back then, people ate fish sticks with pineapple and thought SPAM was rare game.
And, whisper it, but eating here is actually rather fun: chicken nuggets gave me my own madeline moment – I don’t know what Proust would have made of that, but there we go.
That, though, is in essence the appeal of the place: it feels fun, a little childish. Plus, they’ve fully committed to the theme: the place is done up like Frank and Betty’s place in Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em.
Bobby F wants punters to hang up their hang-ups. The menu is full of rum, the good-time spirit, and tequila, the really good-time spirit. The drinks are built to party with. You want proof? They have cocktail umbrellas and the plastic stirrers are miniature strippers. Things arrive on fire. They do slushies, punches, and call their cocktails things like Enrique The 5th. I won’t bore you with the details, apart from to say drinks are much better than expected, way beyond sloppily put together “party drinks”. They’re disguised as rubbish, with bright colours and whippy cream and the works, but are a surprisingly well balanced, punchy bunch.
I think Bobby Fitzpatrick is knowing. Its tongue is firmly in its cheek... probably. It’s gone so far it may as well not be ironic: when they’re this deep into the theme, it’s basically impossible to tell the difference between what they think is funny and what they just adore. There are shots galore and the music is made for dancing to, which all the staff regularly do (though here the theme goes wonky: we heard just as much from the 80s as the 70s).
All of which could have been enough to make this the most talked about bar in Soho. Could have been, except they’ve bloody gone and opened up in West Hampstead. It's probably wasted there. Yes, it’s only zone two; yes, it’s on the Jubilee line... but it just seems a bit out of the action, which is a shame, because it's built to be one of those places rammed at two in the morning every night. Still, as it’s one of the best new bars in London, it’s worth heading oop north for. The menu opens with ‘Have a drink, enjoy yourself’. Couldn’t have put it better myself.
Bobby Fitzpatrick, 273 West End Lane, NW6 1QS, bobbyf.co.uk
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