Belfast Telegraph

Mary Johnston's gossip

PAID my first visit to Opus One recently and found it packed with people enjoying lunch.

PAID my first visit to Opus One recently and found it packed with people enjoying lunch.

The brand new spacious restaurant on the site of Saints and Scholars is attracting workers from the City Hospital, Queen's University, ad agencies and PR companies who don't need to worry about finding a parking space. Mickey O'Neill of the nearby Design and Production company was in with business partner, attractive blonde Bernie Morrison and colleagues.

With his background in interior design, gregarious Barry Smith, who is a partner in the business with publican Brian West, was happy to undertake the task of creating the pleasing theme for Opus One. He also runs the place and it's already fully booked for Christmas parties.

At the launch of Franklin Gate last week Brian Smyth of Deane's, the city centre restaurant, is so pleased with its success that he's considering a Deane's in Dublin. UTV's weatherman Frank Mitchell was fetching (thanks for the drink) in sensuous black velvet and he knew it.

Hairdresser Paul Carlin has moved Colors from Glengormley to the landmark address of Guy's shop on the Antrim Road. Sorry I missed the party but then I missed Patrick Mulholland's launch do as well, and his new premises on Church Road, Holywood. Isn't Patrick that bespectacled boy who only wears black and is always a guest at the NW best dressed lunch?

I could fill a column with hairdressers. Along with accountants they seem to run the show. No show without punch and, of course, David and Kathty Simpson of Rio and Brazil were guests of NW at the eligible bachelor night in the Hilton Hotel.

Kathy's new short hairstyle knocks years off. Also there Anne and Gerry Egan of Michele International with friends Maureen Martin from Stages Model Agency and handsome husband Robin. Hairdresser Kathy Battisti was with lovely husband dentist Chris Loughridge, friends and staff from her salon including Arlene, Joanne and Jenny.

The NW eligible bachelor bash has gained such a reputation that they could have sold out twice over _ victims of their own success. Full marks to the team, Claire Shiels with her new model girl shape, Deirdre Delahunt, Maria Mohan and Carol-Anne Dornan. It was enormous fun and we got wonderful Clarins goodie bags and Satzenbrau supplied disposable cameras to capture the occasion.

The NW girls all wore black. Fashion pundits can talk grey till we're blue in the face but it will be black and blue. Women just love it.

Former Miss NI blonde Fiona Hurley was foxy in knee-length black velvet and Marianne Reid of Madisons blooming lovely in black. Wealthy boss Jas Mooney was in splendid form and with one of his managers, the Fly's Michael Stewart lending vociferous support to their entrant Morgan, who alas was not the chosen one.

Daring to be different was Wendy Smyth of Smyth and Gibson in a definite little designer number. Lawrain Aumonier was sexy in a strapless figure-hugging gravity defying black and red frock, while husband David was debonair in a dark velvet suit.

NW's best dressed woman Pat Young enjoyed herself with husband Nick and Kate and George Millar, the owners of one of Ballymena's poshest shops STORE met some of their discerning customers there. One of the most attractive guys around Belfast Trevor Smyth from the Glasshouse in Bedford Street, together with designer girlfriend Donna Mulgrew adds up to one of the most attractive couples.

So Gerry Reid of the Belfast Brewing Company is that Gerry formerly of The Bear in Holywood, such a nice guy. I wish him well. He and David Donnelly of, well here there and everywhere, must have been quite taken aback by the number of night-lifers turning up at Franklin Gate last week.

There's a big night tomorrow night for young funky designer-dressed types at the Sugar Sweet Reunion, a chance to relive those old Art College gigs but how those DJs have changed. Success has not brought smiles.

If your garden isn't ablaze with sunflowers next summer then you've evidently missed the launch of the new Yellow Pages. Over half a million seeds and can you dig it some splendid silvery trowels were distributed to announce the new look directory at a lunch in Deane's this week. Congratulations to the 20 unsung heroes honoured at Craigavon Civic Centre with the mayor's award for community service.

Among the revellers from the eligible bachelor bash, won by Conor Mackle, a 34-year-old bank manager from Newry, who mosseyed along to McHughs for a nightcap after the event were Ivan Little of UTV, Georgina Sands from Guinness, Michael Stewart, Stephanie Bell of Sunday Life and birthday boy Nigel Ballantine with a variety of foxy young ladies.

As ever the event was capably compered by Pamela Ballantine who looked fab in frankly fake red hair supplied by Paul Stafford and Derry dress designer Michele O'Doherty's own sensational white wedding dress.

Belfast Telegraph


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