“Let’s talk about love” were Susie Johns’- mystic Tarot card reader extraordinaire – first words to me as she leant across the bar, fixing me with her bright stare as shadows from the nearby candles flickered across her face. Have there ever been more terrifying words uttered?
Fair was foul and foul was fair as I hurried through the rain and climbed the flights of dark wood stairs to The Red Bar at Bam-Bou in Fitzrovia for a night of love potions, magic and mystical intrigue.
The setting was apt: a cherry-red room the colour and richness of a geisha’s lipstick, decked in mahogany, dark leather stools and flickering candle-light. The bar manager Ladislav Piljar had brewed up a list of cocktails targeting the love-lorn and love struck of London.
My first drink, a blood-coloured lovers’ liquor was a heady mix of Passoã, Aperol and citrusy Mandarine Napoléon that sent my head into a spiral. By the second, an alcoholic punch to the stomach of Illy coffee, Kirsch Eau De Vie and Cherry Heering, I was feeling the glow of something…albeit potentially more of booze than love.
I approached Susie with hesitation. Paradoxically I’m rather cynical about mysticism, crystals and Tarot cards, despite fervently believing in fate, in true love and in karma. Yet curiosity will always win out and as Susie pinned me in place with her penetrating stare and softly talked me though my cards I found myself foolishly nodding along, shivers running down my neck when she mentioned something utterly personal or painfully truthful.
What did my cards say? Now that would be telling. Bam-Bou is fetauring their brand of Love Potions in both their restaurant and Red Bar throughout February and Susie will be on hand for one-on-one readings on Tuesday the 4, 11 and 18, which will include a 15-minute reading and cocktail for £25 per person.
The Love Potions on offer are all priced at £7:
♥ Cupid’s Kiss – turn any frog into a prince (Tapatio Blanco, Kummel, Crème de Menthe)
♥ Lovers’ liquor – all roads lead to seduction “pur et dur” (Passoã, Aperol, Mandarine Napoléon)
♥ Rocket Fuel – for those who have lost the lust (Illy coffee, Kirsch Eau De Vie, Cherry Heering)
For more info and booking, head to www.bam-bou.co.uk