Stringfellows: the very name conjures up preconceptions. The brainchild of the flamboyant Peter Stringfellow, the club is as unique as its creator, but there is far more to this late-night hot spot than you might first think.
A short walk from Leicester Square in the busiest part of central London, you might be forgiven for not noticing the somewhat subdued doorway to Stringfellows, with its well dressed doorman. After paying a very reasonable £20 entrance fee, you are greeted with a long, well stocked bar to your right, with large video screens on the walls displaying information about the dancers and the venue, and in the middle of the room are the first dancers you will see – the first of many, no doubt. There’s a collection of private booths, discreetly curtained-off to save your blushes and to avoid anyone getting a freebie glance.
The club is saucily decorated with deep, dark colours and comfortably downplayed lighting, and there is a good amount of leopard print and elaborate furniture, too. You may be surprised to find a whole other part to the establishment - it's three times bigger downstairs, with three more bars and private rooms in a large open-plan style, and a full cabaret-sized stage with plush seating for punters to enjoy the view of yet more gorgeous girls dancing.
Watch the girls on the stage and the hostesses chatting with the customers, and you realise that this place is actually worth all the hype. You feel a multitude of different positive pleasures - relaxed by the warm decor, happy with excellent drinks, and charmed by staff and the warm and pleasingly genuine girls. The clientele all seem ecstatic, perhaps down to the fact that everything is ‘quality’, from the drinks to the girls to the music spun by the DJ.
Girls sashay around in cocktail dresses and only disrobe on the podium as they dance - they don’t need to parade around in their underwear until the time comes, reminding customers that they are not just in a strip club, but in a sophisticated night-time establishment. The Angels (as they are known) are a credit to the club, with a relaxed manner as they welcome you to the bar, join you for drinks and encourage you to leave your inhibitions behind. Private dances are only a very decent £20, and the dancing that you see on the podium or the stage downstairs is but a mere taster for the delights on offer from these very talented girls. There is also an option to have the lady of your choice join you for an exclusive time at your table, but be advised that their company does not come for free and chunks of time need to be paid for at a higher rate than the dances.
Stringfellows has pulled off something of a coup as far as its restaurant is concerned; the food is so good you could almost forget you are in a gentlemen’s club at all. The menu is brilliant, the service is excellent and the meal is comparable to fine restaurants anywhere in the West End. You’ll enjoy it so much, the fact you are surrounded by beautiful girls becomes almost incidental.
Starters include an excellent chicken Caesar salad or a delightful king prawn and shrimp cocktail served with avocado and a baby salad. The main courses, which feature a mouth-wateringly succulent best rack of English lamb with red onion and mint chutney and the sublime ‘Papillon’ – Stringfellows’ celebrated ‘butterfly’ Scottish steak served with a Boursin and wild mushroom sauce – are nothing short of perfect. Additionally, the £20 admission charge is waived if you are dining, and so the incentive to try the food in the club is even stronger.
The bars offer a good assortment of the usual lagers and spirits. For the more discerning of drinkers, there is a superb wine list available, from which a great choice of fine wines or Champagne can be selected. A particular highlight is the Chateau Cadet Soutard (Grand Cru St Emilion), which is so dry and delicious it’s good enough to drink all by itself, although it’s even better as an accompaniment to the fantastic dishes on the restaurant menu. The cocktails are well worth a mention too and barmen make a very good Manhattan.
The Last Word
Stringfellows is everything you might expect and so very much more besides. You immediately feel like a VIP thanks to beautiful and genuinely friendly girls who work the eager customers so well. Food is superb, service is excellent and the style of the establishment is one of easy, cool sophistication. The legend surrounding Stringfellows is well-earned in every sense.