David Benedict on an after-theatre club

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The Independent Culture
Two years ago, a shifty operator tried to launch the glamorous Connaught Rooms as London's hottest cabaret venue. A matter of days before the opening he disappeared and the venture collapsed. He was discovered languishing at Her Majesty's expense, leaving an angry trail of creditors, agents and performers. Centre Stage, the latest cabaret venue (below), looks more likely to succeed.

Billed as "London's first ever after-theatre supper club", it's a cross between a cabaret venue and a restaurant: pounds 29 buys you an hour's entertainment from West End performers accompanied by wine and a two-course meal. James Clutton, its artistic director is convinced it can survive against the stiff competition of the town's other cabaret venues

"We're doing something different. The Pizza on the Park concentrates on jazz and big names from the USA and the Green Room at the Cafe Royal uses stars with very long careers." Clutton is banking on future stardom as the big draw. "There's so much talent in the West End, but shows like Cats and Les Miserables are more famous than the people in them. Audiences don't necessarily know their names but the quality is guaranteed by the shows themselves."

With decent late-night restaurants in short supply this could prove to be an intriguing way to hold back the night. Not everyone is trendy enough to while away the midnight hour at the ICA bar or the Atlantic Bar and Grill. Those in search of an intimate concert (it seats just 70) and a musical meal, complete with nightly guests, should head for Theatreland.

Centre Stage is open Thur-Sat 10pm-1am. Details (0800 335588/0171 379 6009)

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