Far from moribund, the City is toasting the future
Living in “remainy” London, it’s easy to feel down as Brexit unfolds. Once the envy of the world, say the remoaners, nobody wants to touch us now.
How wrong they are, as the recent opening of London’s opulent members’ club, Ten Trinity Square, makes clear. The City is moribund? That wasn’t my impression when I visited the club last week for a sneak peek. For this is a vote of confidence in – even a love letter to – the financial muscle and cultural splendour of London.
Located in the temple-like former Port of London Authority building, overlooking the Tower of London, Ten Trinity Square also houses a new Four Seasons Hotel on the first two floors. But it’s the club where everybody’s heart seems to lie. Obsessed with fine wine, the chairman of the Reignwood Group, which owns the building, managed to pull off a partnership with Château Latour so that members have premium access to the first-growth estate’s tipples. The club features a billiard room, art gallery and cigar lounge, which – under the watch of Britain’s only female Master of Havana Cigars – sells a range of vintage beauties ranging from £28 to £500.
Nigel Stowe, the manager, is the man to know here, since he oversees the notoriously exclusive membership list. Formerly manager of The Ivy restaurant and used to world leaders and Hollywood superstars, we found him somewhat in awe of his new hushed surroundings. Escorting us through acres of marble and up a glass elevator to the club, Nigel trod softly and quickly along the club’s long hall, streaked in a wine-red tribute to Bordeaux’s Gironde river.
London is over? That’s not how the group intensely involved in a Burgundy tasting seemed to feel as they pored over a glossy bound map of the region with heavy magnifying glasses. To us, too, any Brexit-induced Armageddon seemed remote as Melodie, a sommelier from Hong Kong, made tall, slender glasses of champagne appear as if by magic. The City is not dead: it’s being reinvented.