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David Ellis, On the Sauce at Gerry’s: Bermuda Triangle? Try Soho’s isosceles of doom and ruin

Your recollection of this place is probably about as reliable as mine, says David Ellis, even if you’ve never been

<p>Den of iniquity: the glorious Gerry’s </p>

Den of iniquity: the glorious Gerry’s

/ Press Image
By @dvh_ellis
08 June 2022
A

n Irishman I know whose hair seems to undergo daily electroshock treatments recently ventured that the Bermuda Triangle doesn’t hold a candle to what he’s dubbed the Soho isosceles of doom and ruin, a triad that takes in the Coach and Horses on Greek Street, the French House two roads over and the French’s wayward neighbour, Gerry’s. To his credit, while it’s tricky to argue this patch of W1 disappears the greater number of planes, it’s certainly got a way with vanishing memories.

The main culprit, I reckon, is Gerry’s, from which I’ve presently barred myself on the idle account that I’d quite like to make my 40th birthday, or even my 33rd. Gerry’s is the kind of drinking club that mostly died around the time (supposed regular) Francis Bacon did — roughly three decades back — but while Gerry’s compatriots mostly succumbed to their cirrhosis long ago, this place battled on, vodka tonic in hand, right up until the pandemic did it in. It was the last haunt for that certain Soho sort, the ones with barbed wire for brains and Keith Richards’s wrinkles, and mostly it turned away everyone who hadn’t already been going since before decimalisation.

Fortunately, new owners came along in the form of the good-natured Dennis and Elliot, who re-opened the club two-or-so months ago. The glue of spilt drinks has mostly been scrubbed from the quarry-tiled floor, but they’ve not changed much besides, which is for the best. The crowd is the thing. While an old guard still lean on the bar some nights, a new (younger) set has moved in alongside them, a rabble of hospitality odds-and-sods, journalists, musicians, actors. Gerry’s is a private club, sort of, but the beady security camera is basically only there to keep anyone who looks like they might be in finance off the premises.

A makeshift dance floor fills most nights; there is always live music. You drink what you drink in here: there is cheap wine, bottles of beer, whisky every which way. It is somewhere where clocks are always wrong: it never feels anything other than 3am. The thing most people come for really, though, is a laid back, laissez faire, louche kind of feeling — and what you might call discretion. “Going Gerry’s” is an assurance of sorts: you will have a good time. And probably a hangover. I love the place. At least that’s what I’m told — I can’t say I remember.

52 Dean St, W1D. Drinks from around £4, 020 7437 4160

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