I went to the Alibi Room last night. This Chelsea venue caters solely to London’s singles with not-just speed dating events. Last night they combined the West’s version of a swayamvar with cocktail tasting. I went for the cocktails, and as moral support for my Single Friend who was hoping for a different kind of tasting at the end of the night.
The ladies were seated in groups of three and four across five tables and the men moved from group to group every fifteen minutes. Before each round of conversations, the bartender, sorry mixologist, took centre stage and gave us a little speech about the cocktail.Round 1: The Bellini
2 parts peach puree 4 parts prosecco or Champagne Mix. Yum.
In hindsight I’m glad the first lot of guys were as boring as Pension Lawyer James. As a result of James not being able to ask a single question nor give me more than a monosyllabic response to any of mine I remember the name of this cocktail, the history, the root of the fruit… Bellinis are perfect to start off your evening.
Round 2: Pomegranate, Apple, Elderflower Breeze2 parts pomegranate juice 1 part apple juice 1 part elderflower juice Large shot of vodka Mix. More Yum than the bellini.
Round 2 saw the youngest person in the room at my table. Tiny Tim moved to London 6 months ago. He’s an analyst at a bank and works every weekend. Probably not the best way to impress a girl who might wonder when she would ever see him?
Round 3: Tom Collins1 part lemon juice 1 tsp sugar Large shot of gin Shake together with lots of ice. Top off with club soda.
I am not a big fan of alcoholic lemonade, but the gents on this round were probably more sour than the cocktail. Property Broker Cameron may have been brought up by a mother or sister who told him that he has a sparkling personality and it is quite alright to talk about himself ad nauseam. I feel for the women he thinks he is hitting on.
Round 4: French something
Three cocktails down and I have lost interest in this parade of the Presidents of Dullsville. Even the bartender is getting boring and I honestly cannot remember what the next cocktail is made from. It was clear and tiny and called French something or the other.Investment Banker Bore: “I work at St. Pauls.” Me (trying): “Have you been to the new shopping mall near there?” Investment Banker Bore: “How do you know about the shopping mall?” Me (still trying): “Borough Market isn’t too far. Do you ever go there for lunch?” Investment Banker Bore: “How do you know about the market?” Me (not trying anymore): “So Mubarak finally stepped down.” Investment Banker Bore: “How did you know?!”
Really? Come on man!
Round 5: Raspberry something
This isn’t strictly a Table for ONE but the rate at which these conversations are going I may as well be talking to myself. Just as I settled down, with a cocktail full of raspberries, ready to leave the moment this round ended, came some entertainment.
Hairdresser Chris (not gay apparently) and Film Producer Gary arrive. Hairdresser Chris likes my Single Friend he met at the table before mine. He spent the next fifteen minutes trying to impress me into giving him her number. Film Producer Gary played along and I finally started to have a good time.
The bell goes, the lady comes around to collect our score cards and we’re allowed to mingle if we wanted to. Single Friend has been cornered by Hairdresser Chris in a last ditch attempt at getting her phone number. Not even the promise of a free haircut would have worked.
I went to the bar for a last cocktail and found myself between Film Producer Gary and his friend I hadn’t noticed before – Tall Laurence. I’m not sure how we went from awkward chat to salsa, but for the next two hours Single Friend and I happily obliged Film Producer Gary and Tall Laurence as they threw us across the dance floor. We had an audience and I had a Bollywood moment.
Single Friend is following a book called The Rules (dating advice by women who clearly never got any, and are now trying to make sure no other woman does either). As a result I will no doubt find myself being dragged to many more The Rules-prompted events like this one. And while my heart did not take flight ala Ms Doolittle, this has been the best night out in a bloody long time.