THE RETURN OF THE RAT PACK TO BOISDALE
May I offer you a warm welcome to the 10th edition of Boisdale Life Magazine. It is jam packed with fun, erudition, and irreverence.
The forthcoming culinary season is the gourmet highlight of the year yielding the best of indigenous game, the wildest mushrooms and of course divine winter truffles. Our entertainment plans for Christmas this year have exceeded anything we have done over the last 29 years, and whilst at Boisdale of Bishopsgate and Boisdale of Mayfair we will continue with an eclectic mix of wonderful live jazz & blues every night, at our other two premises in Belgravia and Canary Wharf, I think we really have surpassed ourselves.
I like to think that the Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin might have really appreciated the “Vegas” inspired restaurant and live music venue we have created at Boisdale of Canary Wharf in which we will be honouring their immortal memory for the duration of this December. For one the sassy, glitzy, and relaxed room has class in spades, and two it boast the greatest whisky bar on earth. Frank’s motto was, “If you can’t do it with class, it isn’t worth doing,” and for both the unstipulated code was that if you have class, you drink Jack or Scotch. Beer was permitted for football and wine for dinner, but neither were counted as drinking! Frank and Dean were the epitome of cool, often performing with a cigarette in one hand and a whiskey cocktail in the other. But their 40 -year friendship was no act. Frank’s confidant Tom Dreesen recalled, “Frank Sinatra respected Dean Martin more than any man alive, for a lot of reasons. For one, he loved him. Two, he was the brother Frank never had. Frank longed to be a tough guy, Dean was a tough guy; Dean didn’t take any crap from anybody.” In fact Dean Martin, born Dino Paul Crocetti, in his youth, as well as dabbling in bare knuckle fighting, fought 36 professional boxing bouts of which he won 25! Frank and Dean’s miraculous chemistry made the Rat Pack infectious and the bonding continued off stage with some of the most hell raising partying the world has ever seen. Club rules were “Never rat on a Rat” and “Rules are for suckers”. Of course the world’s most glamourous and notorious women flocked to Vegas when they were performing and Frank and Dean famously shared many great times together. Frank often said that of all the women he’d known during this period Angie Dickenson was definitely the best in bed. Dean Martin agreed.
The Boisdale production of the Frank & Dean Vegas Show is enchanting and captures some of their magic. Iain Mackenzie, described by Kevin Spacey as “Seriously talented,” is a suave, super cool Chairman of the Board and Steve Pert, “Not to be missed” Evening Standard, a perfect Deano positively dripping with charm. Musically the show is absolutely delightful, and supported magnificently by the renowned Pete Long Orchestra, but overall what comes beautifully across on stage is a semblance of that glorious friendship.
Pre the Rat Pack era Frank’s home from home, after a personal introduction by Lucky Luciano in 1946, was Cuba. In Havana Frank drank a lot of Chivas Regal Whisky, ate flamingo breast and tortoise stew, and mixed with mobsters. The Cuban music Frank would have heard in the clubs and bars of Havana at that time inspired Ry Cooder in 1997 to produce the multi-platinum award winning album Buena Vista Social Club, a recording of legendary Cuban musicians from the 40s and 50s performing pre-revolutionary traditional Cuban songs. After my first visit to Havana in 1998 I also began a love affair with Cuba which resulted in 2001 with the legendary Tai Cuba, a Havana band founded in 1947, taking up a residency at Boisdale of Belgravia for two months. It was an extraordinary success and resulted in the production of the outstanding album Tai Cuba Live at Boisdale 2001. For the entirety of December 2017 Boisdale are very proud to welcome Cuba back to Belgravia and present The Cuban All Stars performing their Tribute to the Buena Vista Social Club with songs like Dos Gardenias, Amor De Loca Juventud and Chan Chan. To accompany this wonderful music Boisdale of Belgravia will also be recreating an authentic Cuban cocktail list replicating the classic drinks of Frank’s Havana in the 1950s.
Editor-in-Chief Boisdale Life Magazine Founder Boisdale Restaurants & Bars