"I shall return – and not just on Ladies Night."Review Rating: Reviewed by KimT
As Waterloo is the station where I arrive into London I am always keen to hear about nearby venues where I can meet folk on the way into and out of town – especially if they are smart, modern venues with a little “je ne sais quo”
So I met my friend at Waterloo and we wandered down the road for the two minute walk to the Park Plaza Hotel. Even though I know this area really well it’s a bit tricky to get to – after all, it is effectively on a roundabout at the back of the station – on the site of the old County Hall offices. There’s also a hotel entrance on the side of the road but you need to get into the middle bit.
Through the large glass doors and you are in a spacious airy but somewhat anonymous atrium – which shouts out “Hotel”! You take one of the enormous escalators in front of you and pass by some interesting massive copper wire like wall hanging sculptures at the sides.
At the top of the escalators we were faced with a large number of gentlemen in black tie. Not quite what we expected at a “Ladies Night” but we turned right into the Primo cocktail bar anywhere. The place was heaving – packed with conference and hotel guests as well as a fair few people just enjoying a drink. The lights were low and so were the dark sofas and everyone looked like they were having a great time. We were a bit flummoxed at this point and looked around for help.
We were directed to a small passageway at the left rear of the bar and were greeted by staff who reassured us that the Ladies Night event was through a narrow corridor and off we went. And we emerged into another bar area with an assortment of comfy low sofas and coffee tables with small, slightly elevated booths at the back. Everything was a sultry, sophisticated grey and there were tea lights everywhere – which was a shame as the large table lamps were rather exquisite. There was a reasonably sized bar – which allowed you to look through into the main bar – and at the side was a large red glass raised area where a DJ was playing some really great mellow chill out sounds.
The waitress consulted her list to find us a table. It seems that their First Thursday of every month Ladies Nights are extremely popular and she urged us to book in future – especially if we were with a large group. Didier the manager came over to see that we were happy with our seats – but we were already checking out the cocktail menu (Ladies Night – which runs from 6pm to 9pm - offers cocktails at £4 each which is considerably cheaper than anywhere else near here). Out of interest the wine list had some good options too and we were both surprised that bottles started at just £19.
With cocktails called Prude, Passion and Lust I played it safe by ordering a Black Diamond which looked like Ribena when it arrived but was a pleasant mixture of Cognac, fresh blackberry, Crème de Cassis, almond syrup and pomegranate juice. My friend played equally safe with a Ros’Ly which was champagne, rose and lychee. Both went down pretty quickly – perhaps with our thirst enhanced by the free nibbles on every table - and smoothly and another order was rapidly placed.
There were various leaflets and magazines on the table – Kosibah bridal and evening wear, some jewellery catalogues (Stella and Dot) and business cards for various other suppliers. We were encouraged to take a look at the stalls to the side of the bar. Here we found jewellery, nail, scarf, handbag, hand made Valentine’s Day cards, Caribbean cakes and a variety of other girlie goodies.
There was a shift in the music and we almost sang along to old numbers such as Ladies Night, I’m Every Woman, Young Hearts Run Free, Breathe (a Blu Cantrell favourite of mine) and Lady Marmalade. The DJ sure knows how to keep the ladies happy – there was even the McFadden and Whitehead classic “Ain’t no stopping us now”. Some of the larger groups of girls were clearly celebrating or starting their big night out – and there were balloons and a bit of squealing going on. The two girls near us tucked into some flatbreads and chicken satay.
Then a personal stylist took the microphone and we were treated to a chat about body shapes – hour glass, apples, rhubarb (athletic, boy-like physique) and pears. Four “volunteers” gamely turned up in their undies before being swept away to don outfits that flattered their different shapes. I have to say that we weren’t entirely convinced by the stylist’s choice but it was entertaining to watch.
Then a pair of bra-fitters from Harrods took to the stage to talk about the importance of a correctly fitted bra and how to ensure you were properly measured. Yet more demonstrations and we were encouraged to have our own personal fittings during the evening.
I have to say that it was a fun event at a really cool bar with excellent music. And it made a really pleasant change to be surrounded by women enjoying a thoroughly girlie evening’s entertainment. I shall return – and not just on Ladies Night.
KimT reviewed Primo Bar on Mon 06 Feb 2012