Sunday, 24 February 2013

Finding the perfect 'Local' to match your wardrobe.

The beautiful art deco benches at my new local - LOVE the red leather
Some people are 'Foodies'. I would say my husband and I are 'Drinkies'. Beer, wine, coffee - all the drugs. We can't get enough.

Our nights out revolve around venues where we can try lots of craft beers. Our holidays usually centre around visiting art galleries and museums in between cafes and pubs, or tours of wineries. Of course eating nice food with drinks is always a bonus, but the drinks menu is as important as the food. One of the highlights of a weekend in Bath a few weeks ago was to get a really good long black coffee in a cafe directly opposite the Roman Baths. Jacob's Coffee House is possibly the closest I've come to a decent Antipodean style cafe in the UK, which is amazing simply for being directly in front of one of the country's major tourist attractions (usually a reason to believe the food is overpriced and awful).

My husband makes Home Brew, I dabble in preserves, discovering recipes for using each weeks organic veg box and baking. To me it's all part of loving sewing and crafts. Its being able to create unique quality products for your own enjoyment. Often we prefer to stay in for coffee, wine or beer drinking because our own selection is better quality than shop bought options, without a retail markup, and much much more convenient.

But I love dressing up and going out. It's the holy grail to find somewhere that meets your tastebuds needs, but the vintage fashion conscious Drinkie also wants a venue that's will look good with her ensemble. You don't want your wallpaper to clash with your shoes.

I live in Twickenham, Englands home of Rugby. There are many pubs, but they're mostly aimed at drunken Rugby fans. The Fox has recently been done up nicely, but just this year a pub has opened that I am finally happy to call my 'Local'.

The amazing wallpaper pictures at Ales and Tails

When we first went into 'Ales and Tails' we were quickly rebuked for congratulating them on being a decent pub in Twickenham - No. They are a bar/restaurant. They specialise in ales, cocktails and dining. After this initial wanky introduction I'm glad we persevered. I'm still curious about the difference but I think it a bar basically means it looks better and keeps the less appealing clientel away. We've been there 4 times now, twice for dinner and once for a party and every time has been fantastic. The food is good English fare. It's not mind blowing, but it's good solid food, but when you can combine it with the extensive ale list it's just about perfect.

But for me the appeal has as much to do with the most wonderful vintage styling. When you understand that I cannot remember the last time I had a handbag that wasn't red leather, and about 50% of my shoes are red, you will understand why I adore the red leather benches. The lighting is quirky - the crystal decanter lampshades are my favourite. The styling is a good mix of junkshop oldfashioned and clean modern space. Even when busy it manages to feel spread out and not too overcrowded or noisy. The fact I like that I think means I'm getting old, but I'm ok with that. On Friday and Saturday nights when we've been in they've had a dj playing decent background music. I'd much prefer it if they got a jazz quartet in, but they're still new.

It reminds me of my favourite designed bars in London: Powder Keg Diplomacy in Clapham Junction, which is slightly more colonial designed and has an amazing Victorian glasshouse diningroom. I'm not sure, but I have a feeling they're ultimately run by the same people. Either way I don't care.

I finally have somewhere within walking distance that is worth dressing up and leaving the house for.

Powder Keg Diplomacy - I wish I had room for a Gramaphone light fitting in my house

Powder Keg Diplomacy - The amazing indoor dining room with Victorian glass and wrought iron greenhouse styling

Powder Keg Diplomacy

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