Josh Barrie On the Sauce at Tiroler Hut: No wonder Kate Moss partied at this den of schnapps, strudel and oompah

Madcap music: Jane Bardos with Josef Friedmann at the Trioler Hut  (Juliane Franze)
Madcap music: Jane Bardos with Josef Friedmann at the Trioler Hut (Juliane Franze)

On Westbourne Grove, there’s an Austrian basement bar and restaurant run by a man called Josef Friedmann. This is the Tiroler Hut, found in that debaucherous part of west London between Paddington and Notting Hill.

Friedmann opened in 1967, in the same year as the soon-to-close Le Gavroche arrived on the scene. But this Austrian enclave is much less famous. Which is a shame. Because it’s glorious. In 2019, much to regulars’ dismay, the premises closed after a fire. But a few months ago they quietly relaunched, joyous and Alpine once more, a place for tankards of Stiegl beer (£7), bottles of Riesling (£31) and never-ending shots of apricot schnapps (£6).

Characters of every description perch snugly at the bar, and in the cavernous dining room there are cauldrons of fondue and fine schnitzels. At the centre of that room is a wooden hut, within which diners will find Friedmann, 85, dressed in lederhosen and a feathered hat, singing at the piano or playing his clarinet, before his standout show, a table of perfectly pitched cowbells. A madcap Sound of Music is very much the vibe: oompah, waitresses in Austrian dress, strudel pouring out of the kitchen.

Friedmann and his family are the glue, chatting, filling up glasses, encouraging the kind of revelry too infrequently seen in an increasingly clinical London. It comes as no surprise that Kate Moss once spent her birthday here. Claudia Schiffer, Boris Becker, and All Saints are also among those to have found themselves in this mini-Austria.

Friedmann in the early years of the bar (Courtesy of Tiroler Hut)
Friedmann in the early years of the bar (Courtesy of Tiroler Hut)

On Friday night, making my way through the wine before a shot or two, it was impossible not to smile as Friedmann ambled up to tables with his saxophone outstretched. Beside me came cheers and clinking glasses.

It is a place for raucous singing — one member of the team gave a husky rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody a little way into the evening — and for dance. Later on, reverie.

Tiroler Hut is geared up for famous evenings. I found it disquieting that there were some empty tables, but was told that times are tough. And so I urge you to go. Bring a crowd and prepare to find yourself in a bigger one. Order a selection of sausages, more than one beer, and brace yourself for one of those old-hat nights that won’t be here forever.

Drinks from £6, 27 Westbourne Grove, W2 4UA,