67 Pall Mall
67 Pall Mall, SW1Y 5ES
WLC Rank : 1
Glass from : £ 7.00 (125 ml)
BEST FORVast and inquisitive by-the-glass wine selection
The highly motivated and consistent sommelier team
Standout masterclasses open to members and the public
A vibrant programme of wine events, huge vinous reserves and very active membership make 67 Pall Mall something of an embassy of wine.
Former city trader (including Head of European Credit Trading, Barclays Capital), Grant Ashton is the visionary who, in the words of the famous NatWest ad, “turned a bank into a trendy wine bar,” albeit on a mighty scale. The CEO of 67 describes the public areas of the former Hambros bank replete with original safe and Austrian oak panelling, as “an iceberg where members see three-eighths of the operation.” Even on a quieter day “there will be 60 people working here,” he adds.
With Head of Wine, Ronan Sayburn, a Master Sommelier, Ashton opened the Club in stages from 2015. Together, they oversee 17 full-time sommeliers plying a core list of a whopping 5,000 lines including 730 by-the-glass, plus extensive members’ reserves preserved on site and soon, at second chamber close to Fortnum & Mason. Members, including Peter Charles Percival Hambros “who sits where his desk used to be when it was the bank”, predominantly stockpile wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany and Piedmont although Sayburn enjoys consistently veering down paths less-travelled, hence events such as the Lebanese night, natural wines walk-around, and [David] Bowie & Burgundy – “the first wine and music monograph ever performed in celebration of the start of Burgundy week,” says Ashton.
Far from stiff, the Club also has a jazz programme and fortnightly Sunday lunches where members’ young children are entertained by “animal man” while their parents may address the issue of wine. “Our members aren’t those from other clubs around here,” says Ashton. “And the average age went down half a year last year to 46.5.” Other efforts to bring the median age down include the “BYOB Young Producers Dinner for Under 35 Members” replete with post tasting DJ, and a “very reasonably priced trip to Bordeaux” for the same demographic. More conventional masterclasses, open to members and members of the public, include D’Oliveira Madeira back to 1908 and, held with regularity, “The Barolo Boys” including truffle arancini.
Devised by Sayburn and head chef Marcus Verberne (ex Le Caprice and Borough Market’s Roast), food matches may include, according to Sayburn “the pleasant, warm and balanced” Nascetta di Novello Anas Cetta Elvio Cogno with beetroot and goats cheese tortelloni and golden beetroot and horseradish purée, and, with herb and juniper roasted fillet of fallow deer “from the estate of a great friend and Member of the Club” with bashed neeps and haggis, Saint-Joseph (Tildé, Pierre Jean Villa) “which has ample fruit and a delightful, spicy complexity.”
Rather than “sit here and pickle myself for 10 years,” Ashton made the “conscious decision” to aim to establish “five, six or seven” clubs globally, backed by investors in their local markets but with reciprocal membership. Hence come late 2020, and in gestation for two years, 67 are opening their first overseas branch in Singapore on floors 27 and 28 of the Shore Centre, complete with 113m of sky-high terraces, spirits suits and, accessed by internal lift, a “wibbly wobbly wine tower” in the seven-metre high Club Room. “There’s as many wine distributors there as all of the UK and duty at £6 plus 7% goods and service tax isn’t as punishing as one might have thought.” Émigré Richard Hemming is one of three Masters of Wine on the payroll. However, given the tropical climate, jackets won’t be required.
By Douglas Blyde.