Review by David Winstanley
When the night moves on, gentlemen out for an evening of excitement may find their minds turning to thoughts of decadence and saucy dances. In London’s West End, at the top of Soho and at the pinnacle of all that district’s delights, is Peter Stringfellow’s Angels. This is a gentlemen’s club of distinction, packed with outrageously lovely women and a real sense of high-grade fun that is waiting to be enjoyed by the discerning man-about-town.
A sister establishment to the immortal Stringfellows, Angels has an unassuming exterior and a welcoming entrance that finds you greeted with a warm smile and a professional manner by staff. The door to the inner sanctum of the club swings open to reveal such a bevy of beauteous ladies that for a second you might think you’ve suddenly died and been transported to some heavenly realm. You half expect the girls to reveal they are indeed winged angels sent from on high to guide you to your rest, but in fact they are scantily clad lovelies who will guide you to your table; which, on balance, is actually the better half of the deal.
You’re not expected to rough it in this sumptuous establishment. The tables and booths are comfortable, with tables for dining set against the walls of the main room. In this Moroccan Kasbah-themed den of sauciness, traditional lamps cast dim light through smoke that wreathes erotic dancers. On stage they strip languidly to the beats spun by an unseen DJ. His deep voice echoes through the club, commanding the next dancer to take to the podium. Angels, hazy clouds of smoke, a deep booming voice from on high…if this isn’t some sort of Heaven it’s doing a pretty good imitation.
Bookended by two bars and with many girls walking about or hanging out by the bars eagerly attending to guests, Angels is a friendly and easygoing place. You feel comfortable, relaxed and well attended. The waiting staff are efficient and happy to help and the dancers are as gorgeous and as much fun as you would expect in one of London’s most prestigious gentlemen’s clubs. Downstairs, there is a seemingly endless warren of rooms, another bar, and function rooms that are opened when the club gets really busy or if larger groups want to have a bit of privacy. It has been known for ‘teams’ of friends of the ‘Premiership’ variety to occupy these areas, and with the level of beautiful ladies, excellent service and relaxed atmosphere, this comes as little surprise.
You can be entertained by the lady/ladies of your choice in private rooms, but at your table there is the option of not even getting out of your seat to enjoy the erotic delights. A dancer can grab a curtain at the side of the table and suddenly swish it around to give you some hospital-bed-style ‘privacy’ – rather awkwardly, everyone knows you’re getting some boobs in your face. Then the curtain retracts and the girl shimmies off while you try to look cool – but fail. This does give the main room at Angels a sort of modular feeling, whereby table areas are suddenly vanished from sight and the room resembles a patchwork of blocked-off zones; but at least you don’t have to walk anywhere and leave your drink if you want to buy a private dance for the measly sum of £20.
The food at Angels, like that at Stringfellows, is of a surprisingly good standard. This isn’t just a club with dancers, drinks and music: the food makes it a great place to eat in London’s West End all by itself, and the entrance fee of £20 is waived if you choose to dine here, too. Whether it’s starters of Scottish smoked salmon with baby capers and dill dressing, chicken satay or a generous hunk of meaty Moroccan lamb kebabs served with coriander and yoghurt dip, you can start your meal off in style. Best to keep away from the garlic prawns with stir fry noodles though, if you don’t want the dancers to recoil from your breath.
The main courses include superb steaks, with excellent sides and wonderful chips; just the sort of thing a man needs to keep his strength up as the night progresses, the drink flows and the ladies gyrate before you in a cloud of smoke and music. You might want to adopt a kind of Roman Emperor motif and have half a roast chicken stuffed with Provence olives, Boursin and herbs. You may also want to pretend you’re in the TV show Spartacus, rip the meat apart with your bare hands and call for more wine. Best not try to get the girls to wrestle for you though, that’s going too far.
The desserts are equally well created and welcomed, such as warm chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream. Just be aware that being in a darkened room with sweet-toothed ladies may not bode so well for your pudding – they like to share here.
There are excellent barmen at Angels, making superb cocktails that would shame any mixologist at any fancy wannabe bar. And the waitresses do such a superb job bringing drinks to you at your table that you never have to visit the bar yourself. This means you are not only well served, but you can get quite pleasantly hammered without ever moving.
The Caipirinha is very tasty, they make a fine Manhattan and the Margaritas are pretty good, but in a true Don Draper move, try an Old Fashioned made with Maker’s Mark: a truly delicious, strength-restoring cocktail. The wine list is also admirable, with a nice range of whites, reds and Champagnes. Of course, the champers is going to get a little pricey the higher up the food chain you go, and be advised that you will have to pay for the company of the ladies as they sit and share your drinks by the bottle with you. It’s wise to bear in mind that it’s not just your charm and good looks that is keeping them enchanted at your table.
The Last Word
With a fun atmosphere, beautiful, friendly girls, excellent food and drink, and superb service from an engaged and professional staff – all under the caring and intelligent guidance of a very talented manager – Angels is a great place to spend some time if the urge to see some beauties suddenly takes over. A sophisticated and exciting venue, Angels is well worth a visit, and thanks to the laid-back atmosphere, you and your friends may even find yourselves becoming regulars.