Ain't no party like a BBS party

February 20, 2015

Join The Blue Badge Style Bar Crawl Through London On March 3rd!

The wheelchairs are coming out in force for as we go London crawling  - will the city’s bars know what’s hit them?

To celebrate International Wheelchair Day, on the 3rd of March, we’re going to be checking out some of the City’s coolest bars that say they’re accessible and we want to invite you all to join us. The plan is to get together a load of wheelchair users, people with other disabilities and able bodied friends too, to check out a variety of bars in one wild night.

Ain't no party like a BBS party

Ain’t no party like a BBS party

We want to get the BBS community of the discerning less abled out en masse for a riotous good time. Laughter is guaranteed, heavy drinking is a strong possibility and one or two examples of poor accessibility are always likely to occur. We’re really looking forward to meeting up with old friends and new – we’ve already confirmed that some pretty awesome wheelchair using guests are coming – and we want as many people with disabilities to join is as possible.


Where’s the next bar?

We expect there to be some inconveniences during the event as we roll from one bar to the next but we want to show that with a little ‘wheelpower’ and good humour, London’s less accessible characteristics can be overcome. We think it will be a really great statement if we can get together a big group of like minded people and show as many disabled people going out on the town together (with their able bodied friends) as possible. There are so many stylish wheelchair users out there but they’re so under represented (see from the picture above – we could find a picture of bunnies on a bar crawl, but not one of disabled people doing the same) so we’re bringing along a camera to document the good, the bad and the stylish of the crawl. We’re sure the evening going to be an absolute blast!

Please come and join us (but do rsvp [email protected] so we get an idea of numbers – we believe that bars should be accessible but it might be friendly to warn them if a stampede of wheelchairs is coming). We’re going to be starting South Place Hotel at 6pm but if you want to join later get in touch and we can give you details of the route.

We’ll be back with more details nearer the time and hope to see as many people as possible on March 3rd. Until then, just remember to keeeeep rollin’!

ian dury

March 3, 2015

Magnificent Musicians Who Didn’t Let Their Disability Stop Them Achieving Amazing Things!

There have been many musicians past and present who have varying degrees of disability, for example Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles were both visually impaired and they didn’t let their disabilities stop them, they still travelled the world and sang to huge crowds of people – Stevie Wonder is now 64 and he’s still touring and making fantastic music.

Ray Charles

Ray Charles

Although both Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles were very young when they lost their sight, some musicians have become less able later in life. The best example of this would probably be Beethoven – one of the best-known classical musicians, he gradually started losing his hearing around the age of 26 (its estimated). Determined not to let this stop him he too found ways to carry on doing what he loved, he would place a rod from his piano to his mouth and bite it. He learnt to play music by feeling the vibrations! I mean, how smart is that!?

Just before Christmas Channel 4 were promoting ‘Born Risky’, which was a feature about Viktoria Modesta, who they named the first ‘Bionic pop artist’. In the video she made with Channel 4, she sang her song “Prototype” in which you see her walking and dancing with various futuristic prosthetics; diamonds, lights and even one, which was a cone shape. Although the music may not be to your taste at the end there is a great scene where she wears this pointed prosthetic leg and dances.  The Alternative Limb Project designed and created all the prosthetics in the video (we’ve mentioned them before, click here for more information).

Viktoria Modesta On Point

Viktoria Modesta On Point

Other musicians with disabilities are Rick Allen, the drummer from Whitesnake who lost his arm in a car crash. Another musician is Ian Dury who caught Polio as a child and had problems with mobility for the rest of his life. Melody Gardot, is a young American musician who actually got into music after being hit by a car when she was cycling. She had to learn to walk again and music therapy helped her regain her short-term memory and it just so happens that she has a gorgeous voice.

Some great examples of perseverance in the face of adversity. Something we’re hoping to support with our forthcoming concert BBS “MIX”. More of that to come but reserve the 14th April!?!

Elvis breakfast

March 1, 2015

The Lockhart – Great Southern States Food And A new Take on a ‘Ludicrous (Disabled) Loo’.

The Musical Lieutenant and her brother chose The Lockhart as the ‘new place’ I should visit especially as it had ‘fried chicken’. Located in Seymour Place just behind Marble Arch, It’s American in flavour which seems to be ‘a la mode’ as burger/chicken joints are popping up all over the place. I have no problem with this as they are lifting American cuisine away from KFC and McDonalds…

Brad McDonald the chef at the helm, is Mississippi born and has also worked in New York so his style is “ Brooklyn gastro flair – a refined spin on Southern American cooking.” It’s not necessarily a healthy alternative to the other McDonald, as I ate far too many Grits and I now know how Elvis died from over eating – but it is incredibly tasty and more’ish food.

Elvis Would Have Loved Brad McDonald The Chef at the Lockhart, Serving High Qualty Homemade Food From the Southern States

Elvis Would Have Loved Brad McDonald The Chef at the Lockhart, Serving High Quality Homemade Food From the Southern States

The starters of ‘Devilled crab’, ‘Wedge salad with bacon, chopped egg & buttermilk ranch dressing’ and ‘Crawfish dip with cream cheese & cracklin’ toast’, should have been enough but we then had ‘Fried Chicken’, ‘Smoked pork belly, braised cabbage, BBQ reduction’ and ‘Shrimp & grits’ – I gave up half way through my Shrimp & grits. All very good but the best part was the ‘Buttermilk braised turnips’ – I don’t know how you get so much flavour out of a turnip but it was the best dish along with the ‘Corn bread’ made to order and served on a dish straight from the oven with butter/buttermilk bubbling around it – delicious!

The decor is shabby chic but bright and airy with a silver plated ceiling. Access was good only a small step to get in but there was a ‘mystical air’ to the fully equipped disabled toilet as it was down a spiral staircase – they were told they had to put one in, which is good, but maybe the designer/builder could have been more imaginative and created a space upstairs. The staff are extremely welcoming and made sure I was well looked after and there is nevertheless, a disabled toilet available next door somewhere?? A shame for a restaurant that has definitely tried to accommodate those with disabilities. We give them 2BBS Ticks, could have been 2.5 but for the ‘Ludicrous Loo’ - definitely added to our collection. Anyone got a similar story then send it in??

Old New Restaurant

February 23, 2015

Top Taiwanese Food With The Relative Lieutenant

The Relative Lieutenant has been in Taiwan recently and has been reporting to us with details on the accessibility at some cool Koahsiung restaurants. We’ve heard before that the general access in Taiwan’s second city puts London and the rest of the UK to shame, so we’re always interested to hear more:

“Old New restaurant in Kaohsiung Taiwan is a stylish venue with disabled access and loos. There’s no menu! Instead, on entering you are asked how much you want to pay and that dictates what is served. Produce that’s fresh that day is used. We had a lovely walnut tree smoked squid with crispy taro strips as the stand out dish. Wine selection is modest but I recommend the local weissbier or a bottle of Taiwan s “Ka Va Lan” whisky instead!! Perhaps not for lunch but Old New restaurant gets 2.5 BBS Ticks.

Old New Restaurant

Old New Restaurant

In Our Time is a funky restaurant. It’s an interesting place as it is in an old warehouse in the Pier2 art district of Kaohsiung. Inside is an art shop, restaurant, music stage an their FM radio station, with DJ. They have a good selection of world beers. They have full disabled access as well. I particularly took note of their slanted mirror in loo – nice to see someone think about the little details like that. It’s just a great and stylish place to chill and the art exhibits outside really add to it. Again, it gets 2.5 BBS Ticks”

February 19, 2015

Chinese New Year – 3 Restaurants With BBS Ticked Chinese Food

In honour of Chinese New Year, we wanted to suggest one great Chinese restaurant to experience during the year of the goat. However, we’ve heard there’s some confusion over whether it actually is the year of the goat or is in fact the year of the sheep. Or the ram.

So instead here are three stylish London Chinese restaurants that have all been reviewed and rated by Blue Badge Style. You can delete as applicable and choose which animal you want to celebrate or if you’re feeling extravagant go for all three!

Happy Year of the Sheep

Kai, Chinese Restaurant, has been a stalwart of the Mayfair dining scene since 1993 and during this time they have been awarded a Michelin Star (2009-2015). They hit The Sunday Times Food List for ‘Britain’s Top 100 Restaurants’, 2015 Edition, and are the ‘Highest Ranked Chinese Restaurant’. Looking at their website video, the food definitely doesn’t resemble your standard UK Chinese. It’s expensive but perhaps not so expensive for Mayfair. General access is good – they’ve invested in a ramp – but they don’t have a disabled toilet so we only gave them 2 BBS Ticks.

Kai - fine Chinese

Kai – Michelin Starred Chinese

Happy Year of the Goat

Hakkasan in Hanway Place, near Tottenham Court Rd, is very sophisticated with very good and unusual Chinese dishes (like Peking duck with caviar). It is dark, distinctively decorated and full of atmosphere. Access is not perfect but not as difficult as you may have been told. There is a lift down into the restaurant and although there are another 3 or 4 steps after this they find a way to help you negotiate them. Not ideal but they do have a disabled toilet, which is well equipped but may test out you wheelchair driving skills. 1.5 BBS Ticks



Happy Year of the Ram

Finally, a recent addition to Blue Badge Style, The Phoenix Palace Chinese Restaurant near Baker Street is an excellent Chinese restaurant with a great atmosphere, a real buzz and fantastic food. Good for delicious dim sum and other classics. The only problem with the access there is that the mirror above the sink is too high for a wheelchair user. We gave them 2.5 BBS Ticks.

The Phoenix Palace

The Phoenix Palace

Happy Chinese New Year!