If you are close to New Bond Street in central London and looking for somewhere to have a coffee (or lunch), I would strongly recommend Sotheby’s café. In fact even if you are not nearby, it is well worth a detour.
The café’s decor is über-elegant. Leather seating, dark wood panelling, creamy marble floors and best of all walls hung with original Cecil Beaton photographs, including a to die for one of Audrey Hepburn. The coffee is excellent. The price scarcely above what you would pay in Starbucks. Breakfast is served until 11.30am, afternoon tea starts at 3pm. You can have lunch from noon, there is a minimum £15 charge during the lunch period and it is probably a good idea to book.
If there is an auction on you can soak up the atmosphere by watching the screens across the hall from the café, one showing the auctioneer in action and the other flashing up the bids in various currencies. If you are so minded you can go the auction room itself to see the real thing. Auctions are public events so thankfully no-one checked my bank balance before I entered the room and naturally I kept my hands firmly glued to my sides.
I was very pleased to meet fellow Dubliner the courteous Sotheby’s commissionaire Phil Casey. Phil was so helpful pointing me in the right direction for display catalogues and telling me about the small chap in the picture above who guards the portal to Sotheby’s. He made me feel very young as he dates from 1320BC (the artefact not Phil!).
If you ever get to read this Phil – merci milles fois.