If there’s one thing that routinely ruins Christmas, along with your great uncle’s racist jokes and your cousin’s girlfriend getting into a slagging match with your granny, it’s Monopoly. The game sets parent against child and brother against sister in a capitalist race to riches and Park Lane hotels. It ends marriages. And now it’s set to be a brand new restaurant.
Hot on the heels of the restaurant for some reason styled after the DC Comics ouvre, comes the board game themed restaurant nobody asked for. And the biggest shock? It actually looks like it might be alright.
Top Hat (geddit?) opens in the West End on Saturday 14th August and promises to pay homage to the London edition of Monopoly while somehow managing not to be too novelty or naff. Given the cheesiness of the premise, it’s a hard tightrope to walk.
If you were dreading garish colours and waiters dressed as a boot then you'll be pleasantly surprised...
For a start the interior is rich, subtle and looks like, y’know, an actual restaurant that you’d like to go to in real life. If you were dreading garish colours and waiters dressed as a boot then you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The only concession to gameplay is the 100s of top hats intricately hidden in the bespoke wallpaper.
Diners are encouraged to order a deck of MONOPOLY Deal (the all-caps is apparently important, presumably to differentiate it from an actual monopoly, like Southern Water or Facebook).
As customers become players they will also have the chance to order Monopoly-themed cocktails and dishes...
Monopoly Deal is the card-game version of Monopoly, quicker and taking up less space. Also presumably because you can’t reserve your table for three days and upending a board in a blind rage in the midst of a sitting could cause issues.
As customers become players they will also have the chance to order Monopoly-themed cocktails and dishes.
The ‘quintessentially British small plates concept’ will quietly hint at its board game heritage seemingly by prefixing the dishes with the words ‘Top Hat’. Hence turning the roast dinner into The Top Hat Roast.
We're willing to give it a chance (card)...
A similarly low-key approach will be taken to the cocktail list, with signature drinks including a Trafalgar Square’s Lychee & Rose Pearl Martini (because Trafalgar Square is on the Monopoly board, a Leicester Square – Red Carpet Daiquiri, The Mayfair Royal Sours and The Whitehall, Cherry and Vanilla Old Fashioned served with a smoking cinnamon stick.
The list introduces a little confusion, referencing Winston Churchill as inspiration for The Whitehall and celebrating the film industry in the Red Carpet Daiquiri, muddying the Monopoly links a little.
The looser the ties to actual Monopoly the better, in our opinion...
Similarly, the Euston Road cocktail goes off piste a little from the board game theme, giving its inspiration as the first women’s hospital entirely staffed by women and garnished with a ‘Thank you NHS note’ and a £2 donation from every sale going directly to a chosen NHS charity.
Not that we’re complaining.
The looser the ties to actual Monopoly the better, in our opinion. And the result looks more like a pretty decent restaurant than a bizarro novelty setup.
The real Monopoly link, however, will be the fact its set within the new interactive Monopoly experience on Tottenham Court Road. A visit, then, may be the ideal remedy if you’re completely Monopoly’d out after an afternoon playing the three dimensional property boardgame occupying the floors above Top Hat.
The fact that Monopoly isn’t front-and-centre is probably its saving grace and means we’re willing to give it a chance (card)…
Top Hat Bar & Restaurant opens on Saturday 14th August at 213 – 215 Tottenham Court Road, Fitzrovia, W1T 7PS