Blaring rock metal music, shabby painted black walls, the pervading smell of garlic. It doesn't exactly ring chic, or even shabby chic for that matter. Nevertheless the Garlic & Shots, a bar situated on a quiet Soho back street, has suddenly become a haven for London's fashion packers.
Don't try to order a trendy cocktail at "The Garlic," as it's known. For drinks, the choices are only beer, garlic-infused vodka shots and wine (served in half-pint glasses.) Then there's the food: garlic burgers, garlic steak, garlic nachos... you get the picture.
A fashion stylist friend of mine brought me by for my first visit a few weeks ago. I was struggling to figure out the appeal when I first walked in, but I had to agree, it does have a charming speakeasy-meets-biker-bar vibe. And it's not trying to impress anyone. People asking for receipts for their expense accounts are greeted with disdain. As are people asking for ketchup.
We spotted Amy Winehouse, who was there with friends, as well as socialites Alice Dellal and Laura Fraser, fresh from a Donna Karan cocktail party in Mayfair. At another table, Burberry model Ben Grimes was drinking with a gaggle of fashion magazine editors.
Garlic breath has never been so on-trend.