The last time you heard, “Ladies and gentlemen, your flight to London Heathrow Airport will be boarding momentarily,” you probably didn’t have a glass of Champagne Taittinger in one hand and an hors d’oeuvre of puréed beets and goat cheese in the other. Then again, last time you boarded an international flight you probably wouldn’t have told anyone you were hopping the pond with a “Mile High” party either, lest you scandalize the elderly dame in the window seat into reporting you to an air marshal.
But now, in New York through October 4th, all hats are off to scandal and debauchery in the skies, courtesy of Mile High: Destination London, a pop-up restaurant experience drawing on the delights of 1950s golden age Pan Am air travel—complete with flirty red-lipped flight attendants, a debonair, wisecracking captain, gold-winged lapel pins and enough alcohol to fuel the plane.
The Mile High journey is about four hours in total and includes champagne and hors d’oeuvres in the “departure lounge” before dinner and an elective (highly encouraged) post-dinner dance with the DJ. When the boarding call is made after hors d’oeuvres, the passengers make their way through a curtained corridor and into the dining room, a charmingly improvised set inspired by a Pall Mall gentleman’s club, outfitted with mahogany paneling, stuffy oil portraits, candelabras and palm fronds. As preamble to the four-course meal, the flight team does a comedic interactive spiel “preparing the cabin for takeoff,” which may well be the highlight of the evening. The captain introduces the three flight attendants, pleased to assist you with anything you need; they do the Macarena while pointing belligerently to non-existent emergency exits; the redhead assures you that they “got rid of those hideous orange life jackets, because I’d rather have a crash than a clash—am I right ladies?”
The brainchild of four cousins from London—Ed, Will, Anna and Ollie Templeton—Destination London is Mile High’s first pop-up excursion in the U.S. Back home in London, Mile High has hosted pop-ups with other destination themes, including Gothenburg, Sicily, Andalusia, Mozambique and Beirut.
Irreverent, boozy, delectable (the confit sea trout is to die for) and clearly a lot of fun for everyone involved, it’s entirely worth the ticket to take a flight back in time with Mile High.