It seems such a long time since we devoted a review to a bar, but then to be honest, following a guiding light back in May, we have severely cut down our alcohol intake, not that we need to consume this kind of liquid to be in & around bars, although the culture in the capital seems to lend itself to that. Mind you, we still partake of the odd shandy here & there, generally as a quick refreshing boost after a long day burning up London’s roads, more often on a Friday, although the days of wobbling home are long gone, meaning if we make a night of a bar trip or hop, our rule of thumb is home first James & then back out on two feet rather than two wheels. But you know what they say about rules and by golly did we break ours last Friday, Profile being the host for our night of naughtiness, all in the best possible taste though.
Now, without question, the bar that has ruled the roost in our times knocking around the Soho scene has been Rupert Street, our devotions to this stylish sophisticate having been consistent since it opened over 12 years ago, although the recent re-location of relative new kid, Profile Bar, to Wardour Street has made it much more accessible & indeed with bigger sister Lo-Profile now just downstairs, makes for a superb combined destination night out. Mind you, come Friday’s there is only one place for us to be and that is upstairs, whether it be a trip back for one of the many pre-parties the bar hosts, or if a mere drop in after work before making the journey home. However, this last Friday ended up being something much more extended and a great deal of fun to boot.
So, having initially planned merely to pop into our usual stop off at Rupert Street, a voice in the back of our mind was also saying to zoom round to Profile bar to say a quick hello to Friday resident D.J. Phil Marriot, who always gets the evening started in superb style, this Gaydar Radio jock also transmitting his set live on the stations clubnation show. So, the music he selects is always incredibly accessible, uplifting yet club like, making for an altogether sumptuous set of sounds to start the weekend in style. So, having made our way up & into this Wardour Street watering hole, we headed straight for the D.J. corner to makes our presence felt by the man behind the decks, Phil beaming out at us in his usual fashion while clearly in the zone with his mixing. Leaving him to his devices, we headed to the bar to grab refreshments, catching our favourite barman’s attention, the usual “black sambuca” joke (long story) raising smiles from both of us.
Back in our position by the booth we caught up on news with Phil, at this stage our visit planned as just a brief one before heading home after a long day toiling around London’s roads, but with the expected arrival of New York glamour drag queen, Peppermint, we were keen to make a liaison, our glass soon emptying and a refill sought at the now very busy bar, Profile a heavenly haven for some very good looking men & luxuriant ladies, a real buzz in the air & a mix between drinkers & diners making for an altogether enchanting experience. But we were intent on making a little mayhem in our corner, Phil also in a naughty mood ahead of the arrival of his partner, Russell (we won’t use his nickname) who was expected any minute. And arrive he did, bounding up to Phil and engaging in an endearing embrace before turning to us to say hello, remarking that it had been a while, back in June in fact at Onyx in Vauxhall, on that occasion it being a momentary meet.
Now it was clear that our evening at Profile was going to be much more prolonged than we had expected, although very much in a good way of course, as it became clear that we had much more in common with Russell than we had thought, he too having firm roots in South Africa, his accent in our more fulsome conversation coming out much more clearly than before. So it wasn’t long before we started reminiscing about our homeland, talk of braai’s borevoors & biltong intermixed with all sorts of other splendid South African specialities that had us transfixed & transcending into magical memory moments minute after minute. Such was the extent of our enjoyment, all thought of our homeward journey was long gone, even Russell deciding to stay in the grip of Profile rather than head for a planned meet with work colleagues, the time flowing by effortlessly as was the conversation, we even being treated to snippets of our second tongue, Afrikaans, from the expert in our midst.
With the truly superb night unfolding, it wasn’t long before we were tempted into consuming sambuca shots & jaeger bombs (lethal), Phil joining in on the frivolity, as was a number of people that had arrived, choosing our corner of calamity & cavorting, dancing friend Andrea making an appearance which, in itself, signalled a yet further terrific treat to our evening. Through all this activity around him, Phil was doing a sterling job concentrating on his job in hand, he delivering track after track that kept grabbing our attention in amongst our reminiscing with Russell, one particular favourite of ours & the song of the moment for us, “Happiness” getting an airing, although yet another version to the ones we had heard both recently & when the track broke our world. And the fabulous music kept coming, making any intended departure all the more difficult, although we were far from ready to throw in the towel, rather carry on with the chat & calamity, the dancing & the drinking that was making this very much impromptu evening something rather special.
Profile was now a sea of people all intent of fulfilling their Friday, some starting their night here before venturing to pastures new, but many more others ready to party deep into Saturday morning down in sister venue Lo-Profile below, where D.J. delights Jamie Head & Paul Heron were ready to entertain, posters plastered around Profile’s walls to advertise the fact. And before we knew it, the jovial Jamie was in our midst, weaving through the crowd & coming up to say his usual warm hello before descending to get things going downstairs. This was virtually immediately followed by the arrival of Peppermint, this New York glamour puss preparing for a showing at Shadow Lounge, but putting time aside to come & meet up with Mr Marriot, an introduction coming our way before she disappeared into the night nearly as quickly as she had come out of it.
By now we were feeling a little worse for wear, the sambuca & the jaeger bombs having taken effect, although it was not curbing our enthusiasm for this truly enigmatic evening we were experiencing, conversation with Russell still at full tilt & Phil looking over virtually constantly trying to grab a piece of the action in between choosing tunes. However, with 11 p.m. approached & gone in a flash, time was close to calling a halt to what had been one of the best Friday’s we could remember for a long time, although an energetic Andrea was determined for our night to continue down in Lo-Profile, we very close to be tempted save for the need to collect our belongings that had been safely stored away in Rupert Street, our first call for the evening. So, with this march of time, we waved our farewells to Phil, to Russell and to the collective crowd that had touched our evening, departing to wend our way home & reflect on a most fantastic Friday of full on Profile fun & giving thanks to everyone that touched our time there, especially Phil & Russell, we are privileged to know you.
Having been around for both the launch and the first birthday, Profile in its new location on Wardour Street has certainly become a firm favourite of ours. Not only does it provide a haven from the sometimes hectic surroundings it finds itself within in Soho, but with an extensive food menu, all prepared fresh (and we mean fresh) on the premises to American style booth tables & even snacks to the bar area, the whole experience is one of complete satisfaction. Furthermore, the previous issues with slow drinks service has been significantly improved, the engaging & friendly bar team going that extra mile to make your visit one to remember rather than forget, meaning we cannot express our recommendation highly enough apart from saying as we always say, Go There! Be There! (DISCO MATT)