Motown Magic

100 Wardour St is probably better known, in the history books and our memories, as the address of the Marquee club from 1964 until 1988, and then Conran’s restaurant Mezzo, the place to be seen, in the ‘90s. It’s now the home of a new bar and restaurant and is continuing its musical heritage by hosting regular music nights in the cavernous basement lounge bar.

Upstairs the bar is glamorous and spacious, but with characterful touches like comfy sofas and quirky lighting. Serving cocktails and bar snacks (including the most moreish mixed nuts you can imagine) it’s the perfect spot for a pre-dinner drink. We headed downstairs for dinner and found ourselves sitting right by the stage. We were there to see a band called Detroit, a collection of talented musicians singing Motown classics. We ate from the very reasonably-priced set menu; chicken terrine and crispy baby squid to start, and roast thyme chicken with spinach and fries for the main course. No question over what to order for dessert, as chocolate and peanut butter brownies are pretty hard to beat! The act started as we were finishing our main courses, and it was the most civilised way to listen to live music; in a comfy chair, sipping a very good white wine and about to eat dessert.





Detroit sounded great, if somewhat polite – you could tell they were pandering to a certain degree to the dining environment in which they were performing, and this was physically illustrated with the drum shield on stage and further reinforced by the very tight yet light style of drumming being played. The band’s repertoire was classic Motown hits and both the male and female lead vocalists were clearly seasoned singers. Their opener of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “You’re all I Need to Get By” set the tone perfectly and was very well executed by the entire band and the two velvet-toned vocalists. Other hits performed included “I Say a Little Prayer”, “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” and grittier numbers like Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” which would usually have had our dancing feet on the floor except, as stated before, one couldn’t help thinking that perhaps they were holding back a little given the dining audience.

The restaurant serves food until 2am and there are music and live DJ sets five nights a week. Coming up they have ‘The Fellas’ performing on  22 April; a seven-piece band, they have a sound big enough to fill the dance floor.  Jeremy Quartet are up on 25 April, recreating the magic of the Swing era, performing jazz classics, and Detroit are back on stage on 26 April.

Ideal for a dinner date with a difference, there is something for most music tastes at 100 Wardour Street and the address’s musical legacy lives on.