In early December, a new members club is due to open in London’s West End dedicated to people who work in the hospitality industry. Simply called Trade, it is being created in a basement site at 23 Frith Street in Soho by two leading master sommeliers: Xavier Rousset, Imbibe Live 2018 wine ambassador, owner of Blandford Comptoir and Comptoir Café & Wine in London and co-founder of City restaurant and bar Cabotte, and Gearoid Devaney, director of Burgundy specialist Flint Wines and also co-founder of Cabotte.
We spoke to Rousset about his exciting new project.
Who is Trade aimed at?
It is appealing to anybody that touches the hospitality industry in some way or form. Chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, baristas, food and beverage producers, suppliers and anyone working front of house. We will have a licence until 3am from Mondays to Saturdays and until 1am on Sundays so it is a place they can come in late after work. After we announced it, people have been very excited as it’s the first of its kind. So many different industries have their own club – at long last we’ve got ours.
You and Gearoid have said it will also be a place for ‘idea sharing, training and motivating the next generation of talented individuals’. How will this work?
We will be putting on events such as training, wine and spirit tastings, talks, masterclasses, dinners and careers guidance from industry leaders. We are speaking to suppliers about events where our members can participate. We are keen to give back to an industry that has given us so much over the last 20 years. Gearoid had the idea a few years ago but we were waiting for two years for the right site to come up for it. We needed a late licence so it couldn’t work in a restaurant and it needed to be central rather than somewhere like Shoreditch or Shepherd’s Bush. Being in Soho is key.
What will be on the menus?
We will be open from 11am for lunch onwards, working with suppliers to create dishes that celebrate the best produce available. We want to get guest chefs who won’t need to be there physically but will give us a simple dish that we can put on the menu. It will be the same behind the bar which will be headed by the assistant manager, Musa Ozgul, who was previously at Chess Club and Quo Vadis. There will be a regularly changing cocktail list curated with drinks from leading guest bartenders. The wine list will also change regularly and reflect our desire to open up the world of wine to those interested in both classic and esoteric wines on any budget. The general manager will be Michael Burke, the general manager at Craft London.
How do people join and how much will it cost?
We are still finalising the membership fee but, if anyone applies before October 31 this year, it will be £100 for the year for a ‘founder membership’. There will be no extra admin fee and there will be reductions for under-25s. The hospitality trade is not the richest so we aren’t going to charge £3,000 like some other clubs. We want to make it accessible to as many people in the hospitality industry as possible. People can apply for membership by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and our website will be going live soon.
The site was previously a club called Muse and, before that, a legendary Greek restaurant called Jimmy’s. How are you getting on with turning it into Trade?
We are starting on site this week, working with Rosendale Design who also worked on Cabotte. It is going to have a lounge, restaurant vibe, with 80 covers, all in one flexible space for drinks and food. There will be a bar and private rooms and alcoves, with décor of wood, fabrics, banquettes and lighting that will be flexible enough for lunch through to late at night. We hope to be able to open in early December and will be revealing more details in the next few weeks.
Trade, 23 Frith Street, London W1D 4RR