Words: Abigail Blasi
Musician-themed bars usually have an air of the stalky superfan and a high score on the cheese-ometer.
Take Mamma Mia! The Party in Stockholm, an immersive experience in a recreated Greek taverna, or the suitably gloomy bar in Estonia devoted to Depeche Mode. Would Freddie have approved of Mercury’s in gay-unfriendly Zanzibar, where football is shown on big screens and Freddie’s favourite salad is on the menu?
So how about Ziggy’s, the David Bowie themed bar in the Hotel Café Royal?
As befitting this bijou hotel chain, whose other posts are the Conservatorium in Amsterdam and the glorious Hotel Lutetita in Paris, Ziggy’s has not a hint of kitsch. It’s satisfyingly stylish, with soft-coloured 1970s-inspired design.
There is tangible Bowie history here, too. In 1973 David Bowie threw ‘the Last Supper’, a party at Hotel Café Royal to bid farewell to his alter ego Ziggy Stardust, attended by Lou Reed, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and Barbra Streisand. Ziggy’s is lined by fantastic photos of the night, taken by Mick Rock, official photographer for the party, and so is a chance to see rare shots of Bowie and others.
Bowie is the soundtrack, and the cocktails (£15) are spectacular and themed around the 1972 Ziggy Stardust album, named after lyrics including ‘Darkness and Disgrace’ (combining dark rum, port, coffee and egg yolk), ‘Cat from Japan’ (cognac, coffee beans, burnt maple syrup, pineapple and lime), ‘Animal Grace’ (tequila, apricot, agave, lime orange) and our favourite, ‘Tigers on Vaseline’, based on a pina colada but with homemade coconut and white chocolate foam. The bar snacks are excellent, with fresh sushi and BBQ wagyu beef steamed bun.
It feels slightly weird to encounter a Bowie shrine hidden away in a five-star hotel. But it’s worth dropping by for the photography alone – and an oddly romantic place to honour Lady Stardust rather than singalong to the Laughing Gnome.
68 Regent St
Soho W1B 4DY
Open 5pm-1am Mon-Sat