A stylish, contemporary and innovatively designed new haven for wine and tapas lovers, Social Wine & Tapas – a wine shop, bar and restaurant in James Street, off Oxford Street, Marylebone, has recently opened.
Owned by chef-turned-restaurateur Jason Atherton’s group The Social Company and headed by executive sommelier, Laure Patry, the 70-cover bar and restaurant, with open kitchen and wine tasting table, offers fine wines alongside a tapas and snacks menu created by head chef Frankie Van Loo (formerly Social Eating House).
From small growers to rare and fine vintages, Social Wine & Tapas has one of the most extensive wine lists in London. Laure Patry has created a dynamic menu, with a focus on Europe and a wide selection of sherries and Madeira. An array of wines by the glass and wine flights showcasing various regions and grapes are available for guests to discover, guided by a front of house team formed entirely of sommeliers.
Frankie Van Loo and Jason Atherton have developed a menu of modern tapas-style dishes made with the best of British produce, along with a seasonally changing selection of cheeses and charcuterie.
The tapas menu includes: olives marinated in chilli, garlic and anchovy; ham croquettes; pan con tomate; padron peppers; jamon, manchego toastie with quail’s eggs; various ham and cheese dishes; slow-cooked egg with oxtail dashi and creamed potato; pan-fried duck egg with confit leg cassoulet; broccolini with chilli, pear and air dried tuna; chargrilled carrots with burnt aubergine, miso and walnut pesto; grilled sardines with citrus yoghurt and szechuan fried chipirones, with togarashi, ink aioli and lime. Meat dishes include 40 day aged sirloin steak with chimmichurri dressing and Norfolk suckling pig with roasted pineapple and sherry caramel.
The new venue was designed by Russell Sage Studio, with the fit out being undertaken by 3 Interiors.
Situated within a renovated office block and set over two floors, the bar’s ground floor houses a wine shop offering quality, rare and fine wines, with floor to ceiling wine displays, as well as a feature tapas bar serving hot dishes from an open kitchen with a dining counter. This area also incorporates banquette and standard seating upholstered in green leather, and an elevated wine tasting table for 10.
The venue was created within a former office space, which was handed over in a shell and core state. “We therefore had a completely blank canvas to work on and we worked together with Laure Patre on the design. We took inspiration from wine shops around the world – particularly from the Caribbean,” said interior designer for the scheme, Tom Hamilton of Russell Sage Studio.
The design palette includes dark timber with gold, bronze and brass as background colour. A large wine map showing key wine regions of the world is also featured on the ground floor, together with a central wine display with a large chandelier above.
A feature bespoke wine-barrel themed spiral staircase complete with wine displays leads to a basement wine bar with additional seating, a second tasting area, a corner bar and a preparation kitchen counter.
Tom Hamilton continued: “The basement is a much more intimate space and features a tapas bar serving charcuterie and other cold tapas, together with a feature cheese display, with the design for this element being inspired by butchers’ shops. The frontage of the main bar is clad with reclaimed timber from old wine barrels.
“The whole of the basement is dedicated to dining, with red leather upholstery, bespoke reclaimed 1920s wall lights made from a theatre chandelier and wine displays in various areas. There is also a feature dining area with red velvet curtains. The WCs which are designed with red walls, black tiles and brass fittings and include wine lecture videos playing on a continuous loop in the background, are also on this floor.”
Salix Commercial Kitchens supplied and installed the venues kitchen and back bars over a period of two and a half weeks after being approached by Jason Appleton to get involved. Paul Williams, Senior Project Manager, commented:
“We specialise in the supply and installation of commercial kitchens and bars to hospitality venues. We have worked with Jason Atherton before and it is great to be involved with successful restaurateurs like him and have our name associated with restaurants of this caliber in London.”
Manborne Furniture have supplied and manufactured a waiter station, wine display unit, two display credenzas, menu box and entrance window display for Social Wine Tapas. The firm are bespoke furniture manufacturer and specialise in the production of high end custom made furniture for both commercial and residential uses.
Sarah Mansfield –Osborne commented:
“As we are a bespoke furniture manufacturer it was great to be involved with this project to enable us to produce some really interesting and exciting pieces of furniture.”
The works also included the installation of all new building services.
“This was a good project, the client was very pleased and 3 Interiors did a great job.” said Tom Hamilton.
Wine Corner, specialists in temperature controlled wine storage solutions, provided Social Wine & Tapas with temperature controlled wine walls in three separate locations within the restaurant.
In May 2015 Jason Atherton opened his first stateside restaurant The Clocktower, an all-day dining space within the New York EDITION Hotel on Madison Avenue. This was followed closely by Social Wine & Tapas.
Upcoming projects in 2015 include Marina Social in Dubai, a stunning waterside restaurant and bar within the new InterContinental Dubai Marina; Kensington Street Social within The Old Clare Hotel in Sydney; and Sosharu, a Japanese restaurant in Clerkenwell.