Gerald Scarfe at Scarfes Bar
Scarfes Bar at the Rosewood Hotel, named after the cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, had its official reopening on Sunday night, and may well be considered unimprovable. The place looks spectacular – entering from the hotel, one follows a long tiled corridor walled with brass, which is about the best way to enter anything. You then finds yourself walled in by books, a roaring fire, and some of the planet’s most comfortable chairs. Making way to the other end of the room, which is lined by the bar itself, you can enjoy the charming booths, so arranged that you are neither closeted furtively away, nor left at the mercy of neighbours.
The cartoons, in oil on canvas, are tactfully placed behind the booths, preventing them from intruding. Yet from the bar, or any of the other delightful sitting areas, you can enjoy Scarfe’s work. The paintings have been done predominantly in robin egg blue, which contrasts agreeably with the luxurious gloom of the rest of the bar, and you can find satirised everyone from Harold Macmillan to Nick Clegg, right down to the new prince George.
Scarfe has lightened up for the bar; there is very little of the sinister evil that dominated his work on Pink Floyd’s The Wall, though The Teacher does make an appearance. So too do his drawings for characters from Hercules and for the English National Opera, so the effect is in part one of happy self-advertisement. Otherwise you can enjoy his political cartoons – Gordon Brown as Scrooge, Obama as a rag-caped Superman – all of whom Sunday Times readers will be familiar with.
Hopefully the pieces will not age badly. The bar itself, extravagant yet tasteful, is wonderful – and it would be good to see it on a quieter occasion. Much as the bar and crowd are enlivening, the place has a quiet grandeur that would be well served on a light afternoon. The drinks are sublime – there are few places you would rather be.
Gerald Scarfe will be a permanent fixture at Scarfes Bar. For further information visit the bar’s website here.