The Savoy in London has a new casual seafood bar and grill restaurant named after a sculpture of a cat named Kaspar.
It sounds ridiculous but maybe not for any of you who are superstitious. The story has it that South African Diamond magnate Woolf Joel held a dinner at the Savoy back in 1898 for fourteen. At the last minute one person canceled. Another of his guests was quite taken back and announced that death would come to the first person to leave the table of thirteen. Host, Joel, didn’t want his dinner party ruined and happily announced he would be the first to leave. A few weeks later he was shot to death in Johannesburg.
Even without email news spread pretty fast in those days and the Savoy was determined not to lose any business so whenever there was a party of thirteen they had a member of the staff join the table. This didn’t sit well with too many as they didn’t want their often risqué conversations being shared with the help. In a stroke of genius, or not, The Savoy had a three foot cat sculpted to starve off bad luck. They named the cat Kaspar and set a place at the table for Kaspar whenever there was a party of thirteen. Winston Churchill, insisted that the cat join him with his “The Other Club” meetings, a political dining club Churchill founded in 1911, and to this date the hotel’s most famous four-legged resident has never missed a meeting.
Now Kaspar is back in the name of the Savoy’s new casual seafood bar and grill that promises to be a big hit on the London scene. Incidentally, in 2010 The Savoy completed the most ambitious hotel restoration in British history. Originally opened in 1889, The Savoy has played host to royalty, world leaders and legends of the stage and screen. The Savoy has always been an icon in London. Now, it’s that and the cat’s meow.