The return of the boozy lunch

Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley in the BBC’s Absolutely Fabulous Back in June at Fitzdares, a discreet private members’ den in Mayfair, six women sat down in a plush banquette to watch Ladies’ Day at Ascot. There was some jumping up and down and roaring at the telly when someone’s horse came in, but there were also a lot of lovely drinks: grapefruit negronis and bottles of Ferrari Perlé, a rich and nutty aged Italian sparkling chardonnay. Some of the women were horsey but none were gamblers. They were simply there for the lunch.

‘‘They [Fitzdares] don’t hover, don’t turn tables. If you book lunch they’ll politely ask you to leave at around six before they have to get ready for dinner,’’ says fashion PR Gracie Egan, the event’s hostess, whose lunches attract people such

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