I met up with Mark Batchelor this afternoon in the Royal Opera House bar in Covent Garden, at the start of a relaxed night out in the West End. Leaving the classic surroundings, we first walked across the crowded piazza and along King Street into New Row, stopping at the Castle Fine Art gallery and appreciating the Bob Dylan prints in the basement.
We then made the short walk to the Salisbury pub in St Martin’s Lane, before heading into Soho. First stop there was the Golden Lion in Dean Street, prior to a fine tandoori curry at the Delhi Brasserie next to Ronnie Scott’s in Frith Street. Next stop was a regular haunt, the bar at the Soho Hotel in Richmond Mews, where Mark enjoyed a Johnnie Walker Black Label. I am still refraining from any alcohol and even the pre-Christmas festivities haven’t changed my current philosophy!
Realising we had partaken enough, we walked through Chinatown towards Trafalgar Square, taking in Rupert Court on the way, a location for an early London Beatle shoot in July 1963. This was more pertinent than we realised, as I have subsequently discovered that John Lennon made his last live appearance in the UK on this day in 1969 at the Lyceum in the Strand.
Having walked down Northumberland Avenue, Mark and I then climbed the stairs next to the Embankment tube station onto the pedestrian Golden Jubilee Bridge. This afforded us a superb view of night time London to the east, with the lights of the City and around the Royal Festival Hall offering a magical vista.
Saying our goodbyes on the main concourse, we took our respective trains home. Happy Christmas!