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Michael Caine

Back in the 1980s, the place to be seen dining out was Langan’s Brasserie in London’s Mayfair, which exemplified the big-shouldered, big-hair fun of the decade. “Langan’s was to the 70s and 80s restaurant crowd what Tramp was to the nightclub scene in the same decades,” said Joan Collins. “Anybody who was anybody lunched or dined there.”

Partly because of the antics of co-owner Peter Langan – he once clambered up onto Princess Margaret’s dining table and promptly fell asleep. Another time he put out a kitchen fire with bottles of champagne – Langan’s Brasserie brought cosmopolitan, chic French dining to London – although, to be honest, it wasn’t really about the food but who you could spot at other tables. There’s Marlon Brando! Hey, it’s Mick Jagger! Gosh, that’s Roger Moore!

Langan said: “When you walk in, you are the star. When you sit down, you are the audience.”

You might even have glimpsed its co-owner Michael Caine, who went into business with Langan, opening the doors of Langan’s Brasserie in October 1976. Michael Caine and Peter Langan revamped the fusty restaurant that had been at the same Green Park location, changed the lighting, put original artwork by David Hockney (who also designed the menu) and Lucian Freud on the walls, and installed a resident jazz band.

But Langan, who was a terrible alcoholic who drank a dozen bottles of champagne a day, apparently set fire to himself at home in 1988 and Michael Caine sold his shares. The party was over. Langan’s faded as the in-crowd eatery… and quite a lot of people know that.

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Tim Adler

Tim Adler is group editor of Small Business, Growth Business and Information Age. He is a former commissioning editor at the Daily Telegraph, who has written for the Financial Times, The Times and the...

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