Reliving the ‘good’ old days’ seems to be all the rage at the moment with vintage and retro parties popping up all over town, we all seem to want to turn back time at least for one night. Making its mark on all things 80’s in an unlikely part of town is Maggie’s, a boutique club in the heart of Chelsea. Inspired by the Thatcher era, it is probably the only place where neon colours and leggings won’t raise eyebrows amongst the fashionistas in the area.
Ambience and Décor
Maggies is an adults playground; from the moment you descend down its stairs you can’t look past the comic book covered walls and collection of retro toys on display. Once inside things get bigger and bolder with giant Rubik’s cube tables, graffiti covered walls of childhood favourites such as Sonic the hedgehog and Mr T and zebra stripped seating. Along with the majority of the twenty- something crowd I felt transported back to my childhood and considered the interior more funky than kitsch.
Disco balls and illuminated signs made me feel like I’ve walked into a scene of Tom Cruise’s 80's classic ‘Cocktail’ and spotting the movie being played in the screen behind the bar I realised I wasn’t far out. The bar is fully tarted up with bubblegum dispensers as well as drinks machines serving that brightly coloured slush, which turned your tongue red and your mum always hated you drinking. Embracing the decade, the staff’s clobber complete with parasol hats and flowery shirts or boiler suits make my plain dress almost ‘uncool’.
It isn’t very often that a venue’s toilets are an attraction, yet again it isn’t everyday you listen to a Margaret Thatcher speech whilst using the facilities. At first I thought I might be hearing things and should slow down on the cocktails but true to its word this place has thought of everything and found the best place for a patriotic speech by the Iron Lady would be in the loo; perhaps explains why the queue is long and slow moving.
Clientele and Atmosphere
A little to my surprise the club is on the small side, however it was after midnight that the crowds started pouring in so there was plenty of time for everyone to show off their moves on the dance floor. Having arrived with my eager entourage of friends just after 11pm we were a little baffled to see that the crowd resembled a school disco gone wrong; comprised mostly of women, many of who were sporting full on 80’s clobber even bringing a coned-bra Madonna out to play. As the clock ticked the club filled up to a pushing and shoving point to get to the bar. Clearly everyone who comes to Maggie’s is there for a good time and although many punters are those normally found in members clubs and west end hot spots, they seem to leave their suits at home and come to let their hair down.
Entrance at Maggies is up to £20 per person with guestlist
Keeping things delightfully over the top and kitsch, Maggie’s cocktails are definitely not recommended for those with sugar level problems or that note anyone not watching their wallet. Classics such as Pina Colada, Sex on the Beach and Maggies Ice Tea (prices start at £10.50) all come with some sort of fruit garnish and the obligatory paper umbrella. Fancying something sweet, I tried the Like a Virgin cocktail; a vodka based milkshake complete with sprinkles and a 99’ flake. Delicious but deadly. For me this place was definitely more about the atmosphere than the drinking however cocktails were good and given the area it was only to be expected that it wouldn’t be a cheap affair.
If you fancy sharing a drink with your friends there are a number of sharing cocktails available if you have a table, served in watering cans(£49), fishbowls(£290) or giant cocktail glasses(£59) with giant straws. If you really fancy splashing the cash, a bottle of House of Lords Champagne signed by Mrs Thatcher, complete with a letter of authenticity will set you back a cool £5,000.
Having been to a few retro club nights where I was always a bit disappointed with the quality of music, Maggie’s managed to go above and beyond pumping out 80s favourites, classics and some you might have never heard of tunes; all making you show off on the dance floor. Whilst the night begins with more funky rather than dancy tunes, as the crowd builds the tempo picks up. Adding to the atmosphere, a live drummer also joins in livening things up and judging from the number of people up on their feet, they seem to be enjoying it. Come 2am when we made our exit, more mainstream modern music started to play and although this didn’t seem to spoil anyone’s night, I felt it was the right time to call it a night and hold on to those 80s flashbacks.
Whether it becomes your guilty little secret or a loud and proud favourite, Maggie’s is definitely a place where a fun night out is guaranteed. Grab your bum bag, get a group of friends together, leave your reservations at home and let your perm down in this great little Chelsea club.
Budget: Splash the cash
Pre-designs: Cocktails & Dancing, Fun time club,