Hot Spot | The Scotch
By JULIE EARLE-LEVINE |
The intimate space has impressive rock ‘n’ roll roots (Jimi Hendrix played his first impromptu gig at the original Scotch upon his arrival in London in 1966, and the Rolling Stones, Beatles and Kinks were all regulars), so it’s no wonder the cocktails have names like “Maggie May” (vodka, Lillet Blanc, Vermouth, Drambuie and lavender bitters) and “Mother’s Little Helper” (Hendricks, fresh lemon, ginger and lemongrass cordial, mint and soda).
Downstairs, D.J.’s (including the fashion designer Pam Hogg) spin in front of a neon sign that says, “This DJ sucks,” a special commission by the artist Chris Bracey. Works by Julian Opie, Shepard Fairey and Judith Supine are scattered around the club. Rebecca James, of Interior Desire, chose “tartan on acid” as the starting point for the décor and punctuated it with a huge gilded-crown chandelier, oak-paneled walls and Deco pillars.
On any given night, the music can be a mix of ’70s rock and ’80s alternative, everything from the Stones to Depeche Mode. Jack White and Boy George have both given impromptu performances. Expect to be “hair whipped” by enthusiastic dancers on the crowded dance floor, while an über-gorgeous crowd reclines on sexy velvet banquettes and takes smoke breaks outside on the cobblestones.
When the city’s bars are winding down at 1 a.m., the Scotch is just firing up, thanks to antiquated laws that allow it to serve booze until 5 a.m. The crowd spills into Mason’s Yard at 7 a.m., which must be very convenient for Jopling, as it’s right behind his White Cube gallery. As Diana Vreeland, the legendary editor of Vogue, said in 1965: “London is the most swinging city in the world at the moment.” It’s comforting to know that some things never change.