BAR FLY

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The Independent Culture
Bradley's 42-44 Hanway St, London W1 (0171-636 0359)

An unlikely name for a Spanish bar, but Bradley's, sandwiched between Flamenco dancehalls in London's (very) Little Spain, proclaims its nationality with an illuminated flag outside.

The feel inside is more cramped gentleman's club than Latin chic (it's been some form of drinking hole since 1752): browning wallpaper, fading photos, wobbly tables and dimly lit corners.

Downstairs is London's oldest jukebox, which, like the bar itself, offers a bizarre mix of styles: wistful Spanish soul, big-band jazz and a lot of Elvis. There are hints of Spain everywhere: football pennants, tapas, and bottles of sherry. On Fridays and Saturdays, homesick students sing along to "Viva Espana" with strumming crooners.

Expect to stand all night, jostling with dancers on the precious few feet between the bar and back wall. The crowd is increasingly beatnik, with polo-necked poets scribbling in the shadows. But if you're of a moody persuasion, this is the perfect place to hibernate.

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