The Ritz Hotel, London
The Ritz London is the most conservative and strict tea room/hotel in the world. The dress code at The Ritz involves men wearing black suits with ties and shoes. Women must wear pink cocktail dresses with black heels. Trainers, pyjamas, sportswear, Spandex, or dirty clothes are verboten. These are severely punished by the Ritz police, a form of police who are not to be messed with. Punishments involve heavy fines and deportation. That means being kicked out forever.
The food and drink are tiny sandwiches with salmon and cream cheese, egg and cress and cucumber. And you don't get second helpings; this is not a buffet, this is a tearoom. Drinks involved are tea, coffee and water. Alcohol and fizzy drinks are not allowed; if smuggled in, the punishment is as mentioned above. Likewise, nobody is allowed in the tearoom drunk or on drugs.
The Ritz Hotel was originally built as the Fritz Hotel by Fred 'Fritz' Katzenjammer in 1900. The name change happened in the First World War, when the RAF targeted the hotel as a suspected secret German hide-out. It then became The Ritz Hotel. Thanks to its location between Piccadilly Circus and Green Park, the hotel became a popular venue — if you were ultra-rich. The Ritz considered itself the premiere hotel, challenged only by others like The Dorchester, Claridge's, and the Savoy.
In 1929, George Gershwin was barred from the hotel on account of his allegedly 'vulgar clothes' (pictured). Gershwin saw that everyone else dressed up to enter the hotel and penned Puttin' on the Ritz as a criticism of the Ritz dress code. As Gershwin remembered (shortly before pegging it):
|“||The song was meant to be an attack on this place. If I had liked it, I would have called it the Savoy Truffle instead. Then Fred Astaire said to me it would be a great song for him to hoof around stage on. So I wrote the song in my pyjamas. I had run out of paper that night.||”|
Surprisingly, The Ritz didn't take offence at the song. They wondered if they could pursue a trademark infringement, but in those days, people were less mercenary. That has since changed. The song was later covered by Gene Wilder, with Frankenstein's monster on the refrains (pictured). Ukrainians produced a translated version in Russian, again featuring social criticism, named Putin on the Blitz.