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Sam’s Brasserie, Barley Mow Passage, Chiswick

After a visit to Chiswick, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote in a new edition of the Social Contract:

“Restaurants and bars were born free, but everywhere they are in chains.”*

Chiswick High Road has become a magnet for every major bar and restaurant chain. Carluccio’s vies with Zizzi’s and Pizza Express and All Bar One and the Gourmet Burger Kitchen. Which makes an escape to Sam’s Brasserie in Barley Mow Passage all the more urgent, especially for those of us who want music and life to reflect individualism.

The eponymous Sam (Harrison) runs a very friendly restaurant/bar. Sam hosts jazz, discreetly, on the first and third Sunday of each month. And also he currently has an exhibition of photographs by the wonderful William Ellis.

Last night I heard Brazilian guitarist Josue Ferreira with singer Heidi Vogel. Bossas, lovely stuff from start to finish. Above there’s Natalie Williams and Joe Stilgoe turning them blue with an appearance on Turnham Green TV. Next up on July 18th is Julia Biel.

This is also a place for beer lovers. I saw one contented chap leaving the bar looking fondly down on the head of not one but two beautifully prepared pints of Guinness. And cocktails too: my low-level cocktail appreciation skills could will have to be tested on another occasion: you can order a Sgroppino. Or an Aviation. Or a special Raspberry Bellini under a forest of greenery.

Nice place. About which Rousseau wrote: “Suffer, die or get better, but above all make sure you’re still in Sam’s at closing time.”(**)

(*)Original: “L’homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers.”

(**)Souffre, meurs ou guéris ; mais surtout vis jusqu’à ta dernière heure.

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