67 Pall Mall is the first new private members club in Pall Mall for almost a century, it is a retreat where wine buffs can enjoy a £1,000 bottle of claret and the 1,200 members will be able to store some of their own wine in the stronghold. The club, stocks £5 million of wine in a former bank, some so valuable it will be held in a vault where notes were once stored. It is close to some of clubland’s most famous institutions including the Reform, the Army & Navy, the Oxford and Cambridge and the RAC.
Founder and chief executive Grant Ashton, a former hedge fund boss, said he was inspired to set up the club by the pricing of wine at restaurants. Mr Ashton, 48, said: “I got fed up of being mugged by punitive London mark-ups on fine wine. Like a lot of people, I’d stopped drinking seriously good wine in restaurants. It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford to, but simply because I was no longer prepared to pay the egregious, nonsensical prices that were being asked. What stuck in my throat was that I knew exactly what these wines had cost to buy. In the end, I just ended up drinking wine at home and at friends’ dinner parties.”
Mark-ups on the 5,000 wines on the list at the 67 Pall Mall are 20 to 40 per cent rather than 300 to 400 per cent. They include “interesting gems” from Greece, Hungary, Portugal and Japan as well as France, Italy, Australia and California. About 500 wines are available by the glass including Château Latour 1961 and Dom Perignon 2004.
The Grade II listed former Hambros Bank building, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was converted into a three-storey clubhouse by construction firm ISG. There is a specially designed “vibration-free” wine hoist, to lift bottles from the basement cellar without it being disturbed.
The sommeliers are led by Ronan Sayburn, previously head sommelier for Gordon Ramsay Holdings and head of wine for the Dorchester Collection. He said there will be “an ever evolving list of the team’s favourite wines”.
The site was acquired by David Rawlinson of Restaurant Property.