“This is where I lure unsuspecting young women, up to my dungeon with whips and chains and things” deadpans Keith, The Vintage House’s resident spirits nut, as he leads us above the malt whisky shop for a sneaky peek at The Soho Whisky Club, a newly opened private members’ club in the heart of London.
The decor is neutral and lacking the aforementioned whips, chains and other BDSM paraphernalia, so I’m sorry to disappoint you if you’re into that sort of thing. However, for a whisky lover, the selection available here by the glass is probably pornographic enough. My whisky-loving friend and I were informed that there are over 300 whiskys (including whiskeys) on offer, although other reports suggest the number is nearer 400 – basically, just imagine being a kid again, staring at the jars of sweets available in an old fashioned sweetie shop, your eyes glazing over, clammy hands clutching a pound coin as you decide what to have – yeah, staring at this selection of whisky is a bit like that, although you’ll need more than a pound coin in your grubby paws in order to purchase a dram.
And so here comes the good news and the bad news…
The prices aren’t ridiculous, setting you back about as much as in your local for a whisky but because of the range on offer, it can cost you up to a grand a glass. Not good if you have a habit of whacking down the credit card on the bar when you’re drunk, claiming that you’ll deal with the consequences in the morning. You also have to become a member in order to buy a drink, as is the terms of The Soho Whisky Club’s licence, and that will cost you £200 a year.
It’s not cheap but then again, the finer things in life rarely are. If you do join, you’ll have the pleasure of being greeted by a portrait of Shortie Of Ardbeg at the club’s entrance and that, is priceless. The Soho Whisky Club is also a rarity in terms of private members’ clubs in London in that it is actually accepting new members, rather than having a ridiculous waiting list. This is probably due to a lack of a rooftop swimming pool or resident model DJs, and the fact that you’re unlikely to play witness to some X Factor tottie chatting up a former Pop Idol while you sip on your Balvenie.
But there is a cigar terrace, lots of whisky, a custom-built humidor and one of the dapper bartenders looks like Matt Smith as Doctor Who. I reckon that’s a good enough selling point.
E-mail [email protected] for more information and to request a membership application form