The King of Ladies Man, London

king of ladies manCocktail-shakin’ courtiers in Hawaiian shirts serve up disco drinks in a 1970s bachelor pad at The Breakfast Club’s new bar

The infamous 1970s image of Hollywood star Burt Reynolds reclining naked on a bearskin rug for Cosmopolitan magazine was the inspiration for speakeasy-style bar The King of Ladies Man in Battersea, south London. Hidden at the back of a café behind a false wall in a launderette, it is an intimate space based on a 1970s bachelor pad, with kitsch pink flamingos, vintage Playboys and bamboo, specialising in “beer, cheese and disco drinks”.

It follows the success of The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, a basement bar accessed through a large Smeg fridge within The Breakfast Club café in Spitalfields, London. For their fifth Breakfast Club, founders Jonathan Arana-Morton and Alison Rooney were keen to cause a stir with another secret quirky bar.

They turned again to hospitality designer Sophie Finch of Finch Interiors who has worked on other Breakfast Club sites including The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town. The café at the front has a retro vibe, building on the reputation of the sites in Soho, Hoxton, Angel and Spitalfields as all-day brunch hangouts. “The Breakfast Club has been described by Time Out as a ‘uniquely loveable place’ and we ensure that each new café has its own unique personality,” Sophie says. Formerly the site of French restaurant Le Bouchon Bordelais, it serves food from 9am till late alongside milkshakes, lattes and smoothies as well as beers, wines and cocktails.

The laundrette – evoking the iconic 1980s Levi’s ad starring Nick Kamen – was designed as an area for dining and drinking – you can even sit on the washing machines. But, once you slide back the false wall, you can enter the hidden bar. Like The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, the name itself is taken from classic 1980s bar comedy Cheers, with the line, “Lock up your daughters ‘cos the king of ladies man is in town”.

Inside, The King of Ladies Man’s so-called “cocktail-shakin’ courtiers in Hawaiian shirts” specialise in “disco drinks” – updated twists on classics such as a Piña Colada and a Tequila Sunrise, mostly priced at £8. As at The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, the list has been put together by The Breakfast Club’s operations manager, Kate Jackson, working alongside the group’s beverages manager Georgia Habgood.

The Wallbanger mixes Ketel One vodka with marmalade, Licor 43 and a hint of peat whisky while the Thai Green Colada combines Koko Kanu coconut rum and Green Chartreuse with coriander, cream of coconut, pineapple, fresh ginger and lime plus a pinch of salt. The blue Sand In Your Pants is a heady mix of Taboo, blue curaçao, Xante pear and cognac liqueur, pears, fresh lemon and prosecco.

Other classics on the menu include a Vesper Martini, Boulevardier, Blood and Sand, Mai Tai and Amaretto Sour, while there is a good selection of craft beers. The bar also serves retro snacks, from different styles of Mac ‘n’ Cheese to American-style grilled cheese with options such as grilled chorizo, sage and onion chutney with melted gruyere.

The 1970s-style bar is filled with golden light and is peppered with tongue-in-cheek details such as “naughty” stained glass, flamingo wallpaper, gold lamé “game show” curtains and reclaimed pineapple lights. “The bar is oversized to make it a real feature, so that you can sit all around it, even behind the bar,” Sophie adds.
After opening its first site in south London, The Breakfast Club is now getting ready for a second south of the river in Southwark Street, close to Borough Market and London Bridge station. Due to open later this year, it promises to bring the company’s trademark relaxed and irreverent style to the area. But the secret of its bar, set to be named Call Me Mr Lucky, is yet to be revealed.

The King of Ladies Man, The Breakfast Club, 5-9 Battersea Rise, London SW11 1HG
Tel: 020 7078 9630

breakfast club battersea

Design: Finch Interiors
Contractor, joinery: Embassy Bar & Shopfitters
Feature Signage: Electro Signs
Bar stools: Republic of Living
Curtains: JG Interiors
Project management, quantity surveyor: PSE Associates
Mechanical contractor: Summit Design
Electrical Contractor: BES

Originally published in the August 2013 edition of Bar magazine.

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