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Review: Twenty-five, Crystal Palace
Deciding to leave the car at home suddenly seemed like a terrible mistake as the heavens opened and my train flashed up as delayed for an hour.
On the other hand, the urge to drown my sorrows with lovely booze grew ever more intense with the passing of every tediously delayed second.
Cursing the gods for such a washout summer, I traipsed up Anerley Hill in my sodden shoes, desperate for shelter, a hug and a shot.
With all the style of a wet dog, I ran into Twenty-five – a swanky new bar where pretty much everyone looks their best – and waved to my amused friends.
Giggly blonde barmaids quickly made me forget about the dreary outdoors and almost, just almost, made it feel like July.
Both dressed in pinks, they worked together to serve me a beautifully sweet Mojito (£7), while one of the bubbly babes told her persistently tinkling phone ‘I’m gonna have to put you on silent aren’t I?’
In my head I fondly compared one of the chicks to Coronation Street’s Becky McDonald – albeit a tamer, more charming version.
With a taste of summer in hand, I joined my slightly less soaking mates and let the cocktail work its magic.
Having not eaten anything since lunch, the lovely blurry effect kicked in quicker than usual.
This stunningly furnished bar opened around three months ago and, according to Becky, the current drizzly weather isn’t doing it any favours.
And so beautifully soft faux cowhide couches were void of cowboys and girls, and romantic candle-lit white birdcages didn’t have any kissing couples to illuminate.
Our luxurious red leather sofas, however, got plenty of bum action on Thursday night.
We got lost in rambling chats about work, shocking court stories, John Terry’s stupidity and the heartbreak of losing a family pet and before we knew it, two hours had flown by and the place had begun to fill up.
The place had a real buzz about it despite the bad weather and I celebrated the human traffic with a second glass of white wine.
By this point I was obviously feeling rather generous.
A lady collecting for children’s charity was working her way around the punters, selling chocolate truffles for donations.
As a recovering chocoholic, I can’t afford a relapse so I just gave the woman a few quid for nothing – I think this was out of sheer relief she wasn’t asking us to set up to pesky direct debits.
One of the most wonderful things about this bar is that Becky and her friend will take orders at your table, or couch, and deliver your drinks.
So you can sit back, relax and forget about fighting your way to the bar.
Just don’t forget that eventually, you’re going to have to pay for saying ‘yes’ time and time again to offers of more vino.
Truly a cocktail bar at heart, this modern place also caters for beer drinkers with an exotic-sounding array of nectars.
Choose from Swedish Rekorderlig Cider, Pilsner, Peroni, Kozel Czech beer and Guinness on tap.
And when the sun finally does decide to show its face, there is a glorious beer garden to enjoy outside.
Designed like a Zen paradise, a striking stone Buddha awaits your visit.
Address: 25-27 Westow Hill, Crystal Palace, SE19 1TQ
Decor: **** (modern and beautiful)
Drink: **** (fantastic choice of cocktails and beer)
Price: ** (rather pricey)
Atmosphere: **** (welcoming, relaxing and gradually more busy)
Staff: **** (very chirpy and helpful)