London nightspots are famously transient. Not so my dad’s Austrian restaurant Tiroler Hut, which has occupied the same spot on Westbourne Grove since 1967, making it if not the oldest family-owned and run restaurant in London then a very good contender indeed.
The Hut is not fancy pants, it doesn’t scrape and bow to snootiness or yield to trends – it’s a workhorse, serving beer, sausages and cheer to those who come down because they love its bones as I, of course, do.
There’s a huge music element to the place, too – Dad never had the opportunity to study music full-time as he’d have liked as a child so when he became a restaurateur, he always filled the places he opened with the sound of (live) music. Go down to the Hut and he’ll play tunes on the cowbells, sax, keyboard, clarinet and accordion. Oh, and offer to sing is you’re so inclined – a fair few regulars now have ‘acts’.
Here are some photos of the Hut’s Christmas party last weekend to give you a feel for the place. I promise to plumb the archives and share some of those gems soon, too – there’s a pretty impressive back log… //
My sister and bartender David at the beginning of the night – everyone ploughs in around 7pm and wants a stein so it’s often pretty manic around then…
Me and Dad.
Shireen (who I made up here) and Greg tucking into their Hut Christmas dinners.
My sister and me with Richard and Nav, who’ve been coming down for about ten years. Both sing, too, so that’s handy…
Jumper shed, santa hat donned.
After a little singsong. I’ve not taken to the mic (for good reason – I’ve none of my dad’s musical gifts) for years so felt ridiculous and joyful and – thankfully – a touch tipsy after joining Richard to have a go at It’s Now Or Never.