It’s party time (at last): your December Little Black Book

·6-min read
 (Evening Standard composite)
(Evening Standard composite)

If there’s one thing London knows how to do, it is let its hair down. And the capital’s party scene is, against all odds, thriving again. From the East End club kids and West London fashion set, to the Mayfair mainstays and Soho Cabaret queens, our city has one of the most dynamic, daring and dazzling social scenes on the planet. As party season gets underway, here’s everything you need to know to navigate it in style...

Rock DJ

Getting the party music mix right can make or break your night. London based duo RawSilk are the new kids on the block to book now, and Georgie Bee and Jonathan Bestley are the go-to for sophisticated party disco. Canada-

based producer Jayda G is in town right now, while Park Hye Jin is the super-cool name to drop. The South Korean-

born, LA-based producer is included on the Fifa 21 video game soundtrack and is the muso’s pick of choice. Perennial party favourite Fat Tony is still the go-to for a banging old-school set, his tune of the season? Everybody’s Free by Piero Pirupa. “It’s euphoric, joyful and fun — everything the festive party is all about.” Amen.

In the club

Maison Estelle in Mayfair is the members’ club for the one per cent. The just-opened super-exclusive hideaway is a members’ club which aims to feel like home, and once you step inside you really do wish it were — it has some of the plushest interiors I’ve ever seen. Its app informs staff of your preferences: from how you like your coffee, to which drink to chill for your arrival and what type of lighting you prefer. Expect to see party planner Fiona Leahy, Louis Vuitton’s Faye Mcleod and the rest of London’s boujis interiors crew there. Other new members club openings of note are the Pavilion in Knightsbridge and the re-launched Langan’s, which now has a new members-only space upstairs.

Deck the halls: DJ Jonathan Bestley (Dave Benett)
Deck the halls: DJ Jonathan Bestley (Dave Benett)

The dress code

The latest looks revolve around adding pieces from a handful of designers to things you already own. Cora Corré, model and granddaughter of Vivienne Westwood, says: “I think everyone is moving away from fast fashion and into vintage and old school brands. I’m finding a way to repurpose everything in my wardrobe, like my Les Girls Les Boys tracksuit which I dress up with a heel and a cool Lurex sock to go out. Of course, I’m very into my Westwood kilts from Worlds End.” Other labels of note are Kepler, the corseted hand-knitted London brand giving rich-girl-in-East-London-dive-bar vibes, and It girl-favourite Annie Doble’s Annie’s Ibiza which recently opened near Carnaby street. For the boys? According to GQ Fashion Editor Zak Maoui, Knwls, Marine Serre and anything stocked at Machine-A.

The lingo

Nothing says you’re down with the kids like dipping your toe into a youth rave, until you realise you haven’t got a clue what anyone’s talking about. Here are a few pointers on the new party diction:

Calm — a response to “I’m running a bit late” or “can you go to the bar”. Basically an answer for everything.

Truth — as in, “I couldn’t agree more.”

Jail — shouted whenever anyone does anything bad or slightly shady. Quite abrasive, tbh.

Purrr — as in, “you’re fit, mate.” Yes, it does have three Rs.

The guest list

The dream guests to land for your party? According to casting director Tom Macklin, Frank Ocean, who is now living between London and New York, is top of the list. “He’s definitely someone people get excited about when he’s in the room.” He’s followed by The Crown’s Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin. “They’re at the top of the invite wish lists,” he says. Our personal dream invitees? Tilda Swinton, Harry Styles (obvs), Courtney Love, and not forgetting Michaela Coel and the Kate Holy Trinity of Blanchett, Cambridge and Moss.

The drink order

The classic Martini is having a moment — the rub being that more than one or two and it’s serious lights out territory. Like, buh-bye. Welcome then to the Long Haul Martini, created by Grey Goose’s global head of mixology Joe McCanta, which has the same clean, delicious taste but served in a tall glass as a less-lethal alternative.

The King’s Road comeback

It’s been some time since anyone called King’s Road a party destination, and Club KP (a soundproofed room at the bottom of Kensington Palace) isn’t quite the same since Harry flew the nest. But Italian restaurateur Riccardo Giraudi has just opened the first UK outpost of his Beefbar restaurants on Cale Street, known for some of the best Japanese Kobe beef and a glamorous but understated crowd. Add to that the redesign of The Chelsea Pig — where Kate and Wills had many a date — and the relaunch of the 151 Club, the Kensington club nicknamed The Dive, which played host to many a junior royal during the Eighties, Nineties and Noughties. Get yourself down there to bag yourself a viscount.

Top table: Il Boro in Mayfair (@tuscanbistrolondon)
Top table: Il Boro in Mayfair (@tuscanbistrolondon)

The restaurants

One of the most talked-about launches is the new hotspot from Canadian restaurateur Joey Ghazal. The Maine opened at the beginning of the month in the ground and subterranean floors of a Georgian house in London’s Hanover Square. Blending “old-world British elegance, New England extravagance and subterranean decadence”, it’s the place to be seen. And we couldn’t possibly confirm that there’s also rumour of a secret invite-only club hidden behind the loos. Irina Shayk, Riccardo Tisci, Rocco Ritchie, Alexa Chung and Lila Moss have already visited. The Maine ties into the big (literally) trend for XXL restaurants. Forget small and cosy; instead, think grand titanic joints. See Park Row, the colossal Batman-themed eatery in Soho; the Twenties Shanghai-inspired MìMì Meì Fair spans three floors in Mayfair, and Carousel will be moving from Marylebone to a new three-townhouse space on Charlotte Street.

Get a room

The private dining room at the Rosewood comes top of the list for Friendsmas, followed closely by the private space at the newly opened Il Boro in Mayfair, a Tuscan restaurant brought to you by the Ferragamo fashion dynasty. Fiend Portobello has the perfect space for private parties, or for those looking for a little fantasy should look to the listed Oliver Messel penthouse and pavilion at The Dorchester.

The return of the pub

Next week sees the re-opening of The George on Great Portland Street from publican Dominic Jacobs and James Knappett of the two Michelin-starred Kitchen Table. They successfully relaunched Chelsea institution The Cadogan Arms in the summer. Other noteworthy newly-improved boozers include The Pigs Head in Clapham and the Chesterfield Arms in Mayfair.

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