Housed over two floors at 13 well Court in the City of London, Merchant House will stock premium, rare and vintage rums and gins from 11 June 2014, with three different types of masterclasses on offer.
Lewis Hayes, co-founder of the London Bar Consultants, said: “We’ll be doing masterclasses with gin, with rum, and a joint one where people can learn about the history of world trade, which we’d like to branch out into coffee and tea as well for a much broader masterclass.”
Targeted at both industry professionals and amateurs, the masterclasses will be kept affordable to reach a broad spectrum of clients. “We train bartenders from the Savoy, the Dorchester and Gaucho for example, but equally we’d like to offer that training and knowledge to consumers, whether it’s somebody that works in the city, a tourist on holiday in London or someone that just happens to like gin or rum,” added Hayes.
He explained that rum and gin share strong links that date back to world exploration and the history of spice and sugar trade. “It sounds like an odd concept, but actually when you think about it rum and gin have a combined history in merchant trade. We thought we’d combine the two and create a venue that, although on the surface is focusing on gin and rum, is actually focusing on the history of trade across the world. We’ve been sitting on it for quite a while waiting for the right venue to come up, and we just found a wonderful space in the city of London, to finally take it on,” he added.
With its 130-guest capacity and bespoke cocktail menu, the basement bar will only be used to showcase the consultants’ knowledge, with the hope of increasing the company’s client base. “We actually use the bar as a bit of a shop front. We don’t run the bar to make money; we see it as a front to our consultancy, which we’d like to grow by expanding our client base over the next couple of years. The bar showcases our knowledge so that other bars can endorse us,” Hayes pointed out.
The ground floor area will hold the masterclasses, and should be home to a retail section selling rare gins and rums in the next couple of months.
Customers will also be able to join The Connoisseurs’ Collective, a membership club available for £150 per year, and which will include invitations to exclusive events, lower prices on bar bottle sales and food and exclusive rates on event services provided by The London Bar Consultants.
The venue’s design features dark blue leather seating set against wood flooring, with hints of London’s merchant history reflected in the fixtures and fittings, and the owners plan to introduce a regular live jazz music night in the coming months.
The London Bar Consultants was created by Nate Brown and Lewis Hayes in 2012. Between them Brown and Hayes have held senior roles at London Cocktail Club, Ronnie Scott’s and Riding House Café.