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Fizz ease

It's a case of "strictly" come drinking at Herbert's bubbly celebration bar, Champu. Confidential's flute runneth over

Published on February 19th 2009.


Fizz ease

CHAMPAGNE, like teeth whitening or a new hairdo, is among life's little luxuries.

We reach for it in the happy tombola of life: when we have something to celebrate, or when somebody else is having a corporate jolly.

Right now, if you believe the gloomy headlines, all that cork-popping-out is, well, out.

But could you bear to exchange your bling for Boots, resorting to a three-week wine making kit, a tube of Pearl Drops and a L'Oreal box of hairdye if Mr Wolf came knocking at the door.

You might consider it, but not if you live in Herbert's world.

In the celebrity crimper's bubbly bubble, where the curls tumble faster than City bank shares, the champagne flows against the tide and will continue to do so.

Liverpool's most famous hair teaser, has just opened “Champu”, an exclusive champagne celebration lounge, for exclusive champagne celebrating people.

Why? Because you're worth it.

Already Champu has brought tears of joy to the eyes of senior execs at Laurent Perrier, wondering if this “world first” is the answer to their prayers in a climate that's brut.

“My whole aim in launching a champagne celebration bar is to make special occasions – such as birthdays or anniversaries – more special in these economically difficult times,” explains H as we tuck into an olive.

Confidential has already walked the red carpet and has peered shyly inside Herbert's new Beetham Plaza parlour. It spots a lavish granite and marble enclave that seats just 40. It is festooned with zebra stripe stools, deep lounge chairs, muted lighting and heady tiger lilies.

Outside “The Buckets” are cascading an endless stream of water. Inside, an endless stream of fizz is similarly passing through a gathering of hacks. They are in their cups, and French sommeliers are on hand to refill them.

What is not to like about the look of this lush carry on?

“Don't drop that glass, it's worth £95,” hisses Barry Turnbull, he of the Business Post, as our operative is handed a specially made Dartford crystal flute.

Rodrigo, Confidential's mate, has turned up in a big woolly cardie. “If this was a proper night you wouldn't be allowed in dressed like that,” briskly announces Mr Howe, the impeccable mauve suited one, surveying us.

“And you wouldn't be able to stay longer than 90 minutes, either,” he adds.

Oh?

“That's the maximum time anyone is allowed in here. And everyone has to wear a jacket.”

Rules, rules, rules! But, Herbert, 65, owner of a pink Rolls Royce and who started off as a grocer's boy in Stoneycroft, confides: “I wouldn't be where I am today without being strict. I am like that with my hairdressers, but I'm cheeky too.”

Conversation bubbles, and soon turns to the popular topics of the day: 12-year-old Alfie Patten, surely a boy with something to celebrate, is going to join Fathers for Justice. He has the Spiderman suit already.

A cynic in our number ventures that at £62 for the cheapest bottle of bubbly, a non vintage Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin Yellow Label, and £325 for the 2000 Louis Roederer Cristal vintage, you might not be able to outstay your 90 minute welcome even if you wanted to. “Do you get injury time? Cigarette time?” one quips.

But Champu, clearly, is not for this sort of riff raff. You start the evening there, raise a glass, and a waiting limo whisks you off to your restaurant (er, the U'n'I, in our case).

Ever the hairdresser, Herbert insists you make an appointment.

“You wouldn't be allowed to stand around like this on a normal night,” he shakes his head. “Everyone has to sit down.”

“I mean look at the fingerprints already on this bar.

“Dane!”

Dane is in charge of things. “I'm Herbert's right hand man,” he tells us. He holds the keys to the locked Cristal cupboard and the cleaning cupboard, and ensures things run smoothly, even getting rid of smears on surfaces.

As Dane reaches for the Mr Muscle, turning his back on the unopened magnums of rose (£130) for a second, Rodrigo, Dingle opportunist, suddenly finds a new use for that cardie.

By the time Herbert shows us to our coats, everything, like the fingerprints, has been polished off.

Talk about warm and fuzzy.

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37 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

NickFebruary 19th 2009.

Hardly the time to be laying down daft rules to people prepared to put money into your till.Whoever did his PR needs shooting - not so much a local footballer or a bit of Hollyoaks fluff.It'll be Gangsters' Paradise if he's lucky. Empty if he's not.

Eddie WaringFebruary 19th 2009.

"Intelligent old hooker"? Who let the rugger bugger in?

Hardy AmiesFebruary 19th 2009.

Roger Phillips looks like he'd been enjoying a crafty Woodbine in his garden shed when he was suddenly dragged here. I wonder what he's saying to those girls?

anonnymouseFebruary 19th 2009.

hey Dig you leave mr Parsons alone hes a really nice guy, worked with him years ago! its that corkhill bloke,you should be berating! blimey he'll turn up to the opening of a tin o beans!

DigFebruary 19th 2009.

Oh aye so it is Jim Bowen, my mistake. Who is that he's with? Looks like my nan.

DigFebruary 19th 2009.

That isn't Jim Bowen it's Nicholas Parsons and the poor old soul still thinks he's on tv. That's why he's in the white dinner jacket. Real life is Sale of The Century every day for him.

DigFebruary 19th 2009.

If the photos are anything to go by I can see the bling and champers, as for the good company..... Sorry, sorry, just another ranter being miserable. It is 8.35am after all. Give me a chance to wake and cheer up.

DigFebruary 19th 2009.

Wow. Look at that. Even William Shatner turned up. 7th photo down on left. What is the picture of below him? Is that another of the Star Trek crew transporting in?

liketostandwhendrinkingFebruary 19th 2009.

Can someone explain the thinking behind the whole 'not allowed to stand up and drink' rule.

The WidowFebruary 19th 2009.

I think I've seen him falling out of 'Woodies' with a suspicious-looking dark patch in his tracky bottoms.

Intelligent OnlookerFebruary 19th 2009.

Actually, I'm not from the Echo. Sorry.

Eddie ShahFebruary 19th 2009.

Oooooh jealous legs! I see the Echo editor, Roger Phillips and Mrs Butler's eldest are enjoying Mr Howe's hospitality in here. No bog eye this time either!

BillFebruary 19th 2009.

What's Barry Turnbull doing in the ladies toilet?

Lyne O'TypeFebruary 19th 2009.

Captions on the photographs would not only be a great help to the reader, their wording might be a superb opportunity for side-splitting ribaldry!

LiamFebruary 19th 2009.

Is the Herbert for Mayor camapign still going? Herbert wouldn't do stupid things like drive people out of town by making them pay for parking, and upsetting everyone. Go on people, vote for Herbert for mayor and a brave new pink and fluffy world.

Paul FeathercutFebruary 19th 2009.

I reckon Pappa Ratsick frequents Heathcotes, don't you, readers?

Penny LaneFebruary 19th 2009.

I'm sure I've bought a Big Issue off that old feller sitting by the lamp.

Intelligent Old HookerFebruary 19th 2009.

Ay, I'll tell yer what, I'll have to stand to drink if i go in. The way my Nobby Styles are at the moment if I sit down I'll be chewin' Herbert's tiger print cushions all night. You know wharra mean don't ya luv?

Hattie JacquesFebruary 19th 2009.

Did Dane reach for the Mr Muscle with his right hand or his left?

Intelligent Onlooker from the EchoFebruary 19th 2009.

I don't think this is the celebrity thing, just the local media having a jolly (as is traditional). And stop being so ****ing miserable!

Pappa RatsickFebruary 19th 2009.

Onlooker from the Echo, you are right these ranters on here are a miserable bunch. What's wrong with a little bling and fun I say. these are worrying times and if we can forget about our woes with a little champers and good company then where's the harm. I for one feel very silly thinking any of these people were supposed to be celebs, it's becuse i was upset reading the other comments and i thought i had missed Jim Bowen and Nicholas Parsons. And you wouldn't catch him with skidmarks - Knickerless Parsons.

HackWatchFebruary 19th 2009.

Turnbull freeloading? There's a suprise . . .

Champagne Charlie is my nameFebruary 19th 2009.

Nah... that's Jim Bowen all right. "There's nothing in this game for three-in-a-bed"

DigFebruary 19th 2009.

Bloody hell I hope they aren't tampons. I smoked one last night.

Fairy liquidFebruary 19th 2009.

Once again, people are too busy trying to scratch a living, without indulging Herbert in his private pink satin slippers world of balls, waltzes and champagne. The Echo will be all over it however.

Pappa RatsickFebruary 19th 2009.

For your information Mr Feathercnut, I have never set foot in Heathcotes, I was carried in straight from the Yates Blob. And what's more I'll have you know that I am a close friend of Jennifer Ecclescake and the girls from Bubonic Kitten.

PopTartFebruary 19th 2009.

It doesn't look very busy - and that's with the free champers... what's going to happen when people have to actually pay for a drink themselves mmmmmmmm we shall see!Good luck any way Herby, and how dare they, the common people, put fingerprints on your bar, i wouldn't bloody let them in at all if i were you!

Sexy LexycographerFebruary 19th 2009.

Champu. French for Sham Sh*t

Keep Right on to the End of the RoedererFebruary 19th 2009.

Scals don't like to sit down because their mums have ironed their flapping shirt-tails for them and sitting down will crease them

Bob or wedge?February 19th 2009.

Those aren't tampons, you ignorant fool. Those are strawberries.

Clive, from NorwichFebruary 19th 2009.

Don't knock the mighty Parsons, Dig...

Pappa RatsickFebruary 19th 2009.

Jimmy Corkhill (yet again) ex soap star and little else now local radio. Billy Butler MBE and all that tired old stuff and Roger (how could you?) Phillips. Remind me again a gathering of celebrities? Celebrated by who exactly? No idea who the others are. Poor Herbert, at least he has a go. But unfortunately it is appallingly tacky and shallow which may or may not reflect the needs of the target clientelle. What a sad reflection on the modern world this is. people so besotted with themselves that they feel they have to ride around in slapper wagon limousines and guzzle over-priced over-rated piss that goes pop in order to apply some kind of meaning to a meaningless ephermeral existence. Poncing around trying to forget the skidmarks on their drawers last night, that for a moment reminded them that they are not extraordinary examples of humanity after all. God Bless 'em

DigFebruary 19th 2009.

I can't see the standing rule lasting long. It's only a matter of time before the champers fad runs it's course and the door policies are relaxed and they stock more ale than just champers. Or maybe it'll have 1 bar for the pubic and 1 for the appointed champers quaffing fnar fnarers.

RafaFebruary 19th 2009.

I'd put my money on Coopers to still be trading in 2 years time.Herbet. The clue is in the name.

Phil EdmondFebruary 19th 2009.

Everybody's still got good teeth. Can't see Jimmy Corkhill's.

Intelligent Old HookerFebruary 19th 2009.

Well i think it looks bleedin' lovely 'erbert. You've thought of everything. Even a tray of tampons lad, yer a friggin' star! I can't wait to get me arse down there for a bevvy.

Keeping MummFebruary 19th 2009.

In the first place, with a bottle of The Widow at £62 (about £50 in a suburban pub, £32 in Tesco) Champu isn't that expensive. In the second place banning standing drinkers with avoid the bar getting blockaded by old men with no necks and avoid people sitting in corners or booths being walled in by intimidating gangs of guffawing, scally chumps rocking on their heels and acting macho.

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