I should be in a British pub drinking lager and smelling old cigarettes. Instead, I’m sitting at a blond wood table in a tasteful airy restaurant with papered columns made to look like old marble, a display of large glass vases filled with green olive oil and various vegetative matter on the wall facing me, small candles flickering on the tables, and a menu that is heavy on pizzas and pastas with surprisingly reasonable prices. The waiters speak something eastern European—maybe Polish. The couple next to me is speaking Russians, a man at the door with two little girls was friendly and American, a table of six Americans is seated across the way. All very comfortable, all very chic, and as far from the London I remember from the 1970s as it’s possible to get.
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