The Colony Club Room reopens
After being shut for 15 years, famed Soho drinking den The Colony Club Room has reopened, with the prices kept as they were in 2008.
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Dylan Thomas, Francis Bacon and Tom Baker – just some of the famous names to call The Colony Club Room, or ‘Muriel’s’ as it was also known, a home away from home.
The name ‘Muriel’s’ comes from the famously foulmouthed founder, Muriel Belcher, who set up the spot in 1948. Drinking clubs served a vital role in an era when pubs had to shut for the afternoon, but the 1988 Licensing Act changed that, and arguably rang the funereal bell for these institutions.
Coincidentally, it was in 1988 the club’s new owner, artist Darren Coffield, joined. 20 years later the club would shut, causing a wave of ultimately futile protest among various columnists and romantics. One reason for the closure was that Michael Wojas, the bartender who inherited the club in 1994, had, as Coffield said in an interview with The Standard about the reopening, a “very, very bad drug habit”. Wojas would die two years after the club’s closure.
In what is something of a departure from the nature of the original club, Coffield’s reopened version is a walk-in bar, rather than a members’ club, situated beneath Heddon Street Mexican restaurant Ziggy Green, rather than its original address of 41 Dean Street.
While some significant details have changed at the newly-revamped The Colony Club Room, crucially the drinks prices are as they were 15 years ago, with the promise of £4 G&Ts and a no phones policy meaning you might as well be in a different age.
The Colony Club Room was also a favourite spot of the writer Jeffrey Bernard and the actor who immortalised him, Peter O’Toole. This month Keith Waterhouse’s famous play about Soho’s most notorious drunkard is being performed at The Coach & Horses.