Flora Watkins

Eight unmissable places to dress up for

  • From Spectator Life

After 14 months of subsisting in loungewear, with a social life largely provided by Netflix box sets and Deliveroo, many would gladly attend the opening of an envelope in order to get out of the house.

Thanks to the vagaries of British weather, ‘dressing up’ has hitherto meant extra layers and grabbing the blanket off the end of the bed to go and sit outside the pub for a couple of hours.

But from Monday 17 May we can drink and dine and dance indoors once more in fabulous destinations for which we’ll definitely need to slough off the jeans…

The Candlelight Club


We keep being told that the post-Covid world will give way to a new Roaring 20s. With their pop-up speakeasies, the Candlelight Club have been rekindling the spirit of Jay Gatsby for the past decade. Their next extravaganza, at a secret central London location, is planned for 16th and 17th July. EVERYONE dresses up — evening wear or jacket and tie for men, flapper dresses and strings of pearls for women. It is entirely lit by candles though, so no nasty, flammable fabrics, please.




‘I like to have a martini/ Two at the very most/ After three I’m under the table/ After four I’m under the host.’

With Dorothy Parker’s ditty in mind, Alessandro limits the number of Duke’s famous martinis to two per person (n.b. to call Alessandro ‘head barman’ is a bit like saying Lady Gaga has a passable pair of pipes). Be warned: sticking to a brace of his rocket fuel is no barrier to staggering out on St James’s, lipstick smeared and tights laddered, but do try to start the evening as soignée as Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale.




Like most of the best places, the oldest restaurant in town doesn’t insist on a jacket and tie (only the waiters are obliged to wear a dinner jacket).

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