Planet of the Grapes
Presenting a spectacular range of wines within several stylish bars across London, Planet of the Grapes’ ethos is to provide customers with great wine and great hospitality. With four venues that emanate sophistication and style, Planet of the Grapes’ wine collections are second to none.
Ideal for a variety of celebrations and tasting events, each venue ensures the best experience for different sized parties, whether a dinner date for two or a wine tasting event for a larger group. Perfect for tasting, dining or purchasing a bottle, these wine bars offer both a shop and seating area, allowing customers to sit in and relax or take home a little treat.
Premier Hospitality spoke to Katy Harris, Interior Designer for Planet of the Grapes, to discuss the projects in some detail. According to Katy:
“Planet of the Grapes has been going for a while now, with four bars in the City as well as a railway arch where we keep our wine reserves in Bermondsey. The first venue that we opened was our Planet of the Grapes Wine Bar at Leadenhall Market which is a fairly small site that has gone on to be very successful.
“The next one that opened was at Bow Lane, and subsequently Fox Fine Wines and Spirits opened in summer 2015. Finally just before Christmas 2015, the most recent venue which is Sicilian Avenue at Holborn was revealed.”
Fox Fine Wines and Spirits is situated in a landmark building on the corner of London Wall and Moorgate that was formerly the globally-recognised Fox Umbrella Shop. The attractive wooden-panelled bar and shop allows for customers to indulge in a range of fine wines and foods, in a comfortable and stylish environment.
The first floor accommodates for those who wish to sit and enjoy a pleasant dining experience at Fox. Moving up to the second floor, customers can hire a private room for celebrations, business meetings or even a tutored wine tasting, for something a bit different.
The range of wines is comprehensive, from Old World classics to New World ingénues, and the Fox team are dedicated to assisting customers to find the very wine to suit individual palates.
“It’s an old Grade ΙΙ listed building, which started as a terraced house in the early 19th Century and then was transformed into a shop. The building appears like a townhouse and is full of beautiful features such as dark maple wood. Set out on four floors, the basement is now the venue’s kitchen, and the ground floor houses the shop and tasting area for nibbles. Moving up to the first floor, this presents a dining room and the second floor acts as a relaxing lounge room.
“The bar has a real feel of a gentleman’s club to it, and relates to the Fox Umbrella theme of the former site – this style was kept and incorporated within the design rather than replaced. For example, the drawers that were previously used for storing umbrellas are now used for storing wine bottles.
“A striking red fox sign is illuminated on the building exterior – which is apparently one of very few neon signs in the city. As soon as customers walk through the front door, they are greeted by an impressive mirrored staircase and mirrored walls to the right. Walking into the main shop on the left, lovely dark wooden shelves display the wine, as well as a speciality cabinet for storing more wine.
“Along the left hand side of the shop there are large-scale windows with tables and chairs so people can sit and drink and dine with a view. The shop front encompasses recessed non-reflective curved plate glass windows – there are only five made – they are very unusual and beautiful, acting as an eye catching feature at the front of the venue.
“We found an amazing wallpaper from a company named Badgers of Bohemia, quite dark in colour, and that fitted perfectly with the theme of the venue. Vintage lighting needed to be sympathetic to the building, and orb lighting added to the art deco feel. We worked with the original old-shop feel and kept the original shutters on the sash windows.
“The feedback has been really positive for Fox. It is such an unusual kind of club, with different levels and fascinating features, and everyone seems to be interested in the history of the building.”
The most recent venue to be introduced to the collection is the wine bar at Sicilian Avenue, located in a picturesque spot. Also housed within a listed building, this site brings bags of history and character with it.
“The Sicilian Avenue site used to be a clothes shop, so we had to remove all of the cubicles etc before it was transformed into the wine bar. Two huge front bay windows complement the spacious venue perfectly.
“As guests walk in the door, they see a big table in each window, where they can sit if they prefer a view. The right hand side of the space is more of a seating area, whereas the left hand side presents the shop part of the venue, offering various wines for purchase. A selection of wines is displayed at either side of the space, and in the centre is a narrow marble bar, which customers can stand at with a glass of wine and chat to friends or colleagues.”
Cool but classic, the interiors at Sicilian Avenue remain very light and airy, with light grey hues and a spacious vibe. A lovely old fireplace acts as a great, classic feature and orb lights give a fresh, warm feel to the place. Quirky green tiles adorn parts of the walls, and can be written on with a pen, adding a playful element to the bar.
The paper menu mirrors the sense of informality that is connoted by the comfortable furniture and open space. Beneath the ground floor is the private tasting room for a more exclusive experience, featuring modern bulb lighting and plush furnishings.
“This venue differs from the Fox as it is very clean and crisp – Fox has more wood and dark colours on the walls. Here we have a large logo on the wall reading ‘Planet of the Grapes’ that faces customers as they first walk in.
“The feedback for this bar has been really good, it has really taken off! I think a big part of this is because it has such a great footfall with it being located very close to the theatres and next to a popular pub – it has done very well in a short space of time and has been great addition to the Planet family!”
“It is very important to us to get it right, we wanted the sites to have really amazing wine – we wanted the sites to be arty but also quite timeless – so it was about getting it right but also working around a lot of obstacles such as managing the listed nature of the sites etc.
“It was great to be a part of, especially with such iconic locations in London – and working with the buildings as well to retain their history and use their many features in an innovative way.”