Berry, Bros & Rudd review
St James’s Street is one of the most fascinating in London – beneath the tarmac and beautiful buildings it must be like Emmental cheese – littered as it is with cavernous cellars dating back to the 16th century and possibly beyond.
Below wine merchants Berry Bros & Rudd is no exception and the latest addition to its portfolio has made the most of its cavernous assets. But the fact that this iconic wine shop and distributor now has one of the most exciting new subterranean vaulted event spaces in London is still one of the capital’s best kept secrets.
Accessed by a striking modern stairwell or through the main shop, The Sussex Cellar’s multi-million pound development has turned some of their old cellar network into a stunning state of the art dual level private dining area and tasting venue.
The Sussex tasting room for up to 40 guests is a mid-space gallery with an oval balcony opening down onto the dining room below. It features a beautiful modern vaulted brick ceiling complete with specialist lighting and complemented by York stone floors. A huge TV screen is hidden behind distressed mirrors and there are also top notch AV and IT facilities.
The dining room below can also seat up to 40 and has state of the art acoustics and bespoke furniture including heavy weave bucket chairs and wooden refectory style tables. Shelves inset into the brick walls are home to antique bottles on both levels and add to the venue’s ‘wow’ factor. Its acoustics make it an ideal venue for presentations and talks, as well lunch time networking and meetings followed by refreshments, working lunches or full three course meals.
Next to the Sussex Cellar is the Napoleon Cellar – another striking and unique space for up to 100 guests (standing) or 70 seated. The original vaulted ceiling reveals stunning herringbone brickwork and engineering bricks, complemented by the bespoke-made oak refectory tables and simply presented wine-related antiquities. This cellar has a separate tasting room alongside it, which can be used for pre-dinner receptions or tastings.
The Townhouse next door is completely different in style, and its two smaller rooms stay true to its origins. Ideal for smaller meetings and parties, the rooms overlook a quaint courtyard. The Green Room is a simple reception area used for smaller tastings, while the Long Room above is ideal for meetings, lunches and dinners for up to 14 guests. The Nina Campbell-designed room is flooded with natural daylight from the four sash windows, filled with antiques, rich mahogany furniture and luxurious materials such as the deep red fabric wallpaper, sash blinds and plush herringbone high backed chairs. Given they do more wine education than anyone else in the UK, it’s perhaps not surprising that, in addition to these private dining rooms, Berry Bros also has The Pickering Room – another superbly vaulted room for up to 32 guests, which is used as an atmospheric classroom and set out in theatre style.
Berry Bros has over 5000 wines and 1000 spirits and is Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant, but they are also innovative and cutting edge. Day delegate rates start at around just £100 a head and can involve tutored tastings, walk around tastings or no wines at all – depending on the event. Tutored tastings followed by a bespoke meal designed to complement the wines, meetings with working lunches or receptions with walk-around tastings are all possible at both lunch and dinner.
There are around 12 different seasonally changing wine tasting options, although bespoke tasting can be created on request.
Menus start at £60 per person for three courses or canape receptions at £29 per person. All rooms are subject to a minimum spend and room hire depending on time and location of event.