Ok, so you want to get in on the resurgence of all things Gatsby, but you don’t have a bright yellow status car, nor a toxic relationship with a girl called Daisy, and throwing parties in your suburban semi just ain’t cutting it. Just for you, befuddled Londoner, we present the multitude of ways to make believe like the Great Gatsby, while we wait for the film to be released later this month.
When it comes to Zeitgeist-y themed nights, the decadent lifestyle of the titular Jay Gatsby is godsend for party people and promoters alike. Check out a few of the following before they bow out like the big man himself:
The Candlelight club: The Candlelight Club prides itself on being a sincere, authentic jazz-age hangout with a smouldering underground glow. It would be amiss for the venue to not pay homage to the very creator of the term ‘Jazz age’, so it’s hosting two Gatsby nights, featuring cocktails from the novel. Get in quick-sharp if you want Friday tickets (10 May) though, as Saturday night (11 May) is already sold out. If you miss out, fear not, for there is a consistent array of creatively curated events here.
Prohibition 1920s: Another classy affair, this instalment of the prohibition parties features Jay’s mansion itself, set within the 20’s splendour of the Bloomsbury Ballrooms. Expect DJs trying to rock the gramophone look, silent cinema, dancing troupes and plenty of drinking and gambling. Oh, you hedonistic bunch, you.
The Montague: Every Thursday in May offers yet another excuse to play dress up (and win prizes if you really look the part), as you sample a 1920’s America-inspired three course set-menu, including Manhattan Clam Chowder and New York Steak Diane, for £35 per person. All to the sounds of live music while you sip a coupé of champagne, which will be thrust into your hand on arrival. Don’t be surprised if you see us at this one. Seriously.
Betty Blythe Vintage Tea Room: Head westward to soak in the Hollywood-style retro-glamour over brunch or afternoon tea. You can bring your own fizz, and they even host additional extras for your party, including cupcake decorating (£25) and burlesque dancing (£45). We suggest doing the workshops before getting squiffy on champers, but we’re sure the reverse is just as enjoyable. If you’re considering throwing your own lavish party, they do catering. There’s also a wowcher deal on right now, if you’re quick.
The Great Gatsby @ Sadler’s Wells: For something a little more involved than stuffing your face and pretending that gin rickey is illegal, the Northern Ballet brings its much-feted, and stunning, adaptation of The Great Gatsby to Sadler’s Wells, for a five-day limited run, 14-18 May.
The American Bar @ The Savoy: Oh so obvious, but oh so deserved. We’d be total contrary poser-kids if we didn’t include this. Legendary for its interior, tipples and sophisticated atmosphere, its long-reigning prominence among the London bar scene is well deserved. Stop reading about it and go check it out yourself.
Fumoir Bar @ Claridge’s: Another one resting on the cusp, venturing into the 30s, the well-hidden Fumoir bar tucked away inside Claridge’s Hotel is simply stunning. A former cigar lounge, the high ceilings, plush reds and divine drinks make this tiny room an absolute must. Don’t be intimated by the Old Money crowd who hang here, they’re a friendly bunch. Keep it classy and you’ll fit right in. Good luck trying to get a seat at peak times, though.
Nightjar: We adore the low-slung ceilings, the elegant panelled walls, flickering candles and snug, private booths. Delicious concoctions, flawless presentation, and innovative garnishes are the reason why it ranks high on cocktail venue compendiums and date hotspot checklists. Booking is very strongly recommended, useless you enjoy hanging outside a tiny door on the somewhat dank streets off Old Street roundabout.
3 Cromwell Road: If the quotes taken from the novel itself, peppered about the bathrooms and strewn in neon on the wall, aren’t enough to convince you of its worthy inclusion on the list, perhaps the vintage decked-out drawing room and tweed-clad waiters will.
Buildings and Architecture
Glorious art deco architecture is the way to go, and long after the parties and prohibition fad has died down, they’ll still be standing.
Eltham Palace: At last, you can keep it casual dress as you roam the grounds of the gorgeous 1930’s structure, with its inviting picnic-perfect gardens. The site is teeming with intriguing features, from the awe inspiring entrance hall, to the grandeur of the medieval great hall, all a short train ride out of London Bridge.
London Transport museum: An impeccable showcase of how we all travelled around back then. For a preserved slice of London history, check out the collection of ye olde trolleybuses and trams. Then maybe head up to the café for a stiff drink. It just wouldn’t be cricket not to.
Elsewhere: London’s art deco architecture could be an article in its own right. Indeed, there’s a whole book of it. But a few favourite examples of 20s and 30s buildings include the Daily Telegraph building on Fleet Street, Ibex House in Minories, St Olaf House on Tooley Street, and, of course, the factories of the Great West Road. An excellent list can be found here.
The Great Gatsby is released in the UK on 16 May.