The Nellie Dean of Soho
89 Dean Street
Tel: 020 7734 2572
STOUT knew the Nellie Dean of Soho was going to cause problems. He knew walking down the street from Tottenham Court Road Tube station that his trip to Soho Square was going to be the subject of interrupt and dare he say – subterfuge.
Yes, strong stuff and we’re not even talking pints. Not yet.
The problem was that Stout had been accosted for an evening radio interview. He had agreed earlier in the day to complete a live broadcast and could see afterwards that it was going to lead to collision – as well as being grey around the chops at the prospect.
How did it happen, he thought, why did he say yes, when no one would have afforded him a quiet pint – the appetizer to Frozen Plant with David Attenborough – spring episode.
Now if this column were a film, the call for the interview would have arrived just as the pint was left on the counter to settle. Stout would then retire to a quiet corner outside, deliver words of sublime eloquence, in a calm and assured manner, and re-enter right at the point of top-up – the moment the last drop of black fell toward a dome-like head in slow motion.
The director would then shout cut amid a loud cheer of mock theatre from a bar filled with extras.
It didn’t work out like that. Only Frozen Planet worked out like it should on the night.
So when Stout entered the bar, he was greeted with a withering look that was more Do Not Disturb, than Open for Business. But the Dean of Soho was open, very much so, the place was blistering under the footfall of scores of punters.
Stout chose to disturb and ordered his pint. He watched the pour, watched his phone and then watched the pour some more. Up it went on the bar but the ring never belled. Not like it would in the movies.
It didn’t sit for long either, there would only have been enough time for a 999 call if it had and still no ring arrived. Pahhh.
Stout grabbed a seat, knowing that subterfuge in the name of Guinness was one telephone call away – a call that would arrive the moment he got settled. Brrrrinnnnngggg Brrrrinnnnngggg; Brrrrinnnnngggg Brrrrinnnnngggg! Double Pahhh.
Stout made for the door frustrated to the point of fluster and blurted out the interview while looking through the window to make sure no-one borrowed his pint. No one did.
And after five minutes, he knew no one would, not with the head sinking faster than an overpriced B-movie.