London’s First Club for Wine Lovers

In the States, a name like 67 Pall Mall might hint at a run-down shopping center 20 minutes east of your parents’ home – one you only visit when you’re forced to – but in London, 67 Pall Mall is helping reshape, redefine and reinvent a wine enthusiast’s drinking experience. Located on the south side at St James’s end, 67 Pall Mall is the first-ever club for wine lovers, built on a belief that loving and drinking wine should “excite, challenge, and captivate” drinkers in a members-only setting.

Led by Grant Ashton, 67 Pall Mall boasts an impressive and diverse wine list – 5,000-bottles worth of impressiveness – though the original goal wasn’t for a members-only club; it was for a wine bar. Ashton told The Telegraph, “Initially, the dream was to open a little wine bar and sell some of the wine we owned. I had a wine problem. Not that sort of a wine problem. I had too much if it. More than I could drink.” The club is slated to open by summer’s end and Ashton promises 67 Pall Mall is “not another men’s club. About a third of the members who have signed up already are female. Ideally it would be 50:50.”

Membership at the club includes a host of benefits beyond drinking wine, like chateau dinners and multi-course masterclass dinners, a vast Wine Library and wine education events, access to the Club’s state-of-the-art wine cellar, and reciprocal membership to other clubs in the UK.

Part of Ashton’s business model stemmed from the unreasonably high upsell pricing on wine in restaurants. He’d see bottles on wine lists for more than double what they were priced on wholesale lists. “It has got to the point of lunacy now in restaurants,” he told The Telegraph. “The mark-ups on fine wine are egregious, it’s wrong. A bottle of wine that you or I could put on the table at home for £100, in a restaurant it’s £300 or £350. So you don’t drink it at home because you’re not going to open a £100 bottle on a Friday night with your spaghetti bolognese but you don’t order it when you go out either because you know how much it really costs.”

Ashton has done far more, already, than sell a dream. More than 1,100 have paid their membership dues – and 67 Pall Mall has yet to uncork its first bottle. By late summer, when it does, the wine will flow freely.

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