The Hedonist: London
What to see and where to be seen
I open one eye just long enough to see the smudged outline of the London Eye shoot by and a glint of sparkle from the Vivienne Westwood dress worn by Marilyn, my partner in Brit-based debauchery.
We're on our way back from another wickedly decadent night out in the capital we now both call home (our misguided youths were spent in the hedonistic hotspot of Marbella), and all I can taste is a thousand different cocktails on my tongue.
The first of these - I can't recall its name - had been at the David Collins-designed bar at Claridge's (020-7629 8860; claridges.co.uk). Then, with Marilyn not wanting to walk too far in her Louboutins, our next port of call had been dinner at nearby Cipriani (020-7399 0500; cipriani.com). Located just around the corner from Claridge's - which corner, again I can't quite remember - the big C is a no-brainer for Friday night fabulousness.
But we didn't punish our plastic just for plates of outrageously overpriced piled-high pasta, even if it was rather tasty; we went for the scene, which is made up of heartbreakingly beautiful Sophia Loren types clinking flutes of champagne against a backdrop of oversized murals. We washed down our meal of baked tagliolini with veal ragù with three - maybe four - Bellinis, and handed the waiter the company card.
After falling into a taxi - rather unflatteringly, it has to be said - we headed into the heady bowels of Soho. Red strips of neon light swept the darkened cab as we approached Greek Street, while cackles from scene-queens surrounded us. Rather too woozy to find a pre-club bar, with Marilyn's BlackBerry nose-diving into the concrete floor as she stepped out of the cab, we linked arms and made for the new kid on the block, Diu (020 7025 7844; diulondon.com). This venue has snagged a loyal following of cool club kids thanks to a predictable playlist of house music and an inspiring LED-lit interior. The dress code here is anything goes, with wardrobe choices that make Lady Gaga's look positively vanilla. Mouths agape, we sank onto a sumptuous leather couch positioned against exposed brickwork and signalled the waiter to bring us something suitably strong.
While I don't recall the finer details, I do remember a smash as my Grey Goose fell to the floor - it's safe to say I don't think it was my first. It was at this point Marilyn persuaded me it was time to move on.
I'm not quite sure what she said that made me head so far East, but we soon found ourselves in another cab and on our way to Dalston Superstore (020-7254 2273). The bouncer was odd, to say the least - he scribbled across a tattoo on my wrist with permanent marker because it reminded him of an ex-boyfriend - but once inside we were more than happy we'd made the effort. Industrial chic interiors were set off by an eccentric roster of perfectly quiffed regulars, all of whom were ripping up the dance floor downstairs in suitably scuffed brogues.
Marilyn's Louboutins didn't quite fit the bill, but that's the great thing about the Superstore, and about London: nobody actually cares. You can go where you want, dress how you want, do what you want, and nobody blinks an eye.
The cab jolts to a stop. I'm outside my house, Marilyn has been dropped off, and I dig deep for a crumpled £20 in my pocket. This is London - and while it's expensive, it's a hedonistic heaven, and I'm more in love with it than I've ever been with anyone. I'm almost tempted to get a T-shirt that expresses how I feel. Almost.
A Hedonist’s Guide to... (Hg2) is a luxury city guide series for the more decadent traveller. For more information, see hg2.com
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