A members-only club for those in the hospitality industry is being relaunched as a late night restaurant and wine bar – and it will be open to all.
Frith Street’s Trade, which opened in late 2018, is set to reopen on September 10 as the Black Book. It will remain in the hands of industry veterans Gearoid Devaney and Xavier Rousset, who are both master sommeliers – so no surprise there will be a firm focus on fine wines.
Aiming, Devaney and Rousset say, to “provide those who inhabit the true Soho spirit – namely, those with a nose for a party – a sophisticated late-night hangout”, the bar will open until 1am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and until 3am Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The press puff says the pair “predicts Soho’s return as the epicentre for debauchery and endless nights of a bygone era.”
The underground space, which looks much as it did during its Trade days, will offer a succinct choice of classic cocktails, alongside bar snacks and brasserie-style food; expect pan-fried cod and onglet steak, oysters and burrata, and the likes of tarte tatin or salted caramel and chocolate tart. Wine, though, will remain Devaney and Rousset’s focus, and they’ll offer a choice of rare and fine wines, often for significantly less than is typical – as an example, the pair point to their Cote Rotie Barbarine Gangloff 2000 (a red from the Rhône) which will sell for £205; they say it is more often found for around £350 in restaurants. For those of us with shallower pockets, there’ll also be more than 25 glasses for less than £10, with the cheapest going for £4.50 per 125ml, or £25 a bottle. Sherry is listed from £3. The bar will also offer a “mystery bottle”, which can be won on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to those who correctly identify the wine.
Speaking on the opening, Rousset said: “Soho is a community, and it always has welcomed all with open arms, and that’s why commis chefs to commuters, date nighters and late night diners all find refuge here. We wanted to open up The Black Book as well as welcome back our members to ensure everyone felt especially part of this community to toast to good health, eat well and embody the spirit of what we love about Soho too. The Black Book blends perfectly the elements that we think make Soho special – some glamour to be enjoyed by all.”
The name is a nod to the “black book” sommeliers are said to often carry about with them, in which they note down their favourite wines and tasting notes.
The Black Book will open on September 10 at 23 Frith Street, Soho, W1D 4RR. For more information, follow @theblackbooksoho on Instagram.