Miranda has a cheeky drink at NoviMiranda Evans for Varsity

Monday morning hit me like a truck. I swiped the curtains shut and went back to bed. “Another wasted weekend,” I thought to myself, curling back up into my cocoon. Although the Lucy Cavendish brunch offers a wide selection of delights, something was missing. An element of grandeur, perhaps.

A bar stool in a refined establishment is by no means my safe place. However, as I waltz into my twentieth year, I have decided that luxurious, lavish living is very much going to be my shtick. Following this epiphany, I hastily punched ‘Novi’ into Google Maps, grabbed the nearest bright-eyed bachelor, a businessman, and went about tracking down the high life. The results were as follows.

The first dilemma, of course, was what to wear. What does one wear to a cocktail bar? How fancy is too fancy? “Make sure you wear something nice,” the businessman I had summoned barked at me the day prior. As a feminist, I rose to the challenge; borrowed a half-decent top from my neighbour, scrubbed some makeup onto my face and stomped over to Novi.

“I overheard some chat about crypto (or was it ChatGPT?)”

On approach I am not afraid to say that I was apprehensive. Nervous, even. But the bouncers were super friendly and didn’t ask for my ID which made me feel extra grown-up. Bonus points! With this newly-installed confidence and sense of maturity I sauntered through to the lounge, taking in the atmosphere. A stock of suited and booted punters whispered to one another in a booth. Cocking an eyebrow and raising an ear I overheard some chat about crypto (or was it ChatGPT?) and decided it was time to explore the smoking area terrace – conveniently sign posted by some very cosmopolitan neon signage.

They have Wi-Fi at Novi; you merely fill in a short form which takes a minute approximately. I know this because I asked the barman before scoffing, shrugging, and letting him know I’ve got unlimited data. He didn’t seem to care. However, I quickly felt less affluent after looking at the price list. Novi charges £11 for your average drink. Perhaps this is why their slogan is “thoughtful food and drink” – because you have to think deeply before you decide to buy it.

“The Depop girlie to smug housewife trajectory is perhaps one of the most steadfast patterns in the natural world”

Nevertheless, I ordered a “Pepperita.” Can’t say I remember what was in it, but it was nice – peppery. Sipping on this delicious cocktail I attempted to pay attention to what the businessman I had summoned was saying across the table. I was struggling because of the music— not because it was too loud, but because it was too darn funky. A sea of Shazam screens dazzled my periphery.

The terrace was predominantly populated by pristine Surrey mummies and youths clad in Ed Hardy tracksuits and Chanel sunglasses. A mixed bag at first glance, but as I looked around, I couldn’t help but think that what we were seeing was the same people in different stages of life. The Depop girlie to smug housewife trajectory is perhaps one of the most steadfast patterns in the natural world. It was beautiful to see and certainly added a special profundity to the Novi experience.


Mountain View

Yori-gret this! A night of disappointing food at Yori

I ordered another drink. This time, it was a ‘Don’t Despear’ I liked the word play ‘Despear’ (like ‘despair’, get it?) and as another £11 left my bank balance, it was definitely a welcome incitement. Again, can’t recall for the life of me what was in it but the pear in question hit the pallet with stampede-like force, like Sourz, but more upmarket. I let the businessman know that I preferred the other one. He didn’t seem to care.

On the way out, I stopped to go to the loo. The bathrooms are located in the basement. If my memory serves me correctly, they had push rather than pull doors which I thought was very avant-garde, but this is where the positive review for the Novi loos ends. Overall, the atmosphere was dour considering it was half-past one on a Saturday night. I smiled politely at a girl in the mirror as we washed our hands, hoping to strike up a conversation. But she cut off our interaction flicking her head away, disrupting the eye-contact, and erupting the hand dryer. Where’s the camaraderie? Is this what comes of luxurious, lavish living? If so, I don’t want it. So long Novi, it was swell, but I’ll see you again after I’ve been ground down a little more into the abyss of maturity.