Luke Blackall: Congoing around an Alpine ski lodge for that nostalgia kick

  • @lukeblackall

So there I was, late on Thursday night, skipping along in a conga line, while an oompah band honked out Abba covers.

There are better conga practitioners than me. I lack the mindless enthusiasm – not to mention the limb-control – to do a convincing job. But the staff, in their lederhosen and dirndls, were kind enough to pretend not to notice.

I hadn't, sadly, taken a trip to the Tyrolean hills, but instead was a short walk from Kensington Palace in London. There, a former casino has been converted to Bodo's Schloss: a restaurant, bar and club, all done in the style of an Alpine ski lodge. Weaving through the crowd I saw singers, models, film producers and society rich kids nostalgic for the childhoods they spent skiing.

But the conga really wasn't part of the plan. I was supposed to drop in early, have a drink with the men behind it, Piers Adam and Nick House – two of London's shrewdest nightclub owners – and leave. The idea had been to get home and write a more sensible column about changing attitudes to going out. Besides, I had a very early drive from London to Norfolk on Friday, and dancing to oompah bands and so having to write this column in the early hours, wasn't part of the plan.

It was also my second night in a row at a new nightclub. The previous evening I went to the opening of Barbarella, a relaunched spot in the shadows of Chelsea football ground. It was so new that the stylish interior décor had been finished just in time for the first guests to arrive and then (presumably) mess it all up with their wild partying.

A while ago in this spot, I wrote about the spate of new, expensive restaurants that continue to appear and part the sociable from their cash. The world of upmarket urban nightclubs seems to be no different.

Both Bodo's and Barbarella will chase a similar crowd, but they are both run by people who have done it before, and people who are more than confident that the crowds will come and queue up in the autumn air to get it. And, if they're lucky enough, join me for a bad conga line around the room...