Berry Bros. & Rudd
Berry Bros. & Rudd
Established in 1698
3 St. James's Street sw1
020 7396 9600; www.bbr.com
The most gracious shopping experience in London without doubt is a visit to Berry Bros. & Rudd, wine and spirit merchants to the Queen and the Prince of Wales, who have carried on business at their sublime lopsided premises since the seventeenth century. There is no ﬁner place to buy a bottle of claret than in this unchanging shop, with its creaking uncovered ﬂoorboards, collection of ancient bottles, large set of beam scales, and the courteous service of yesteryear.
Peter Horrocks, a barrister, is a freeman of the City of London. He is a former Chairman of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, runs the Covent Garden Minuet Company, an 18th century dance group, is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society.
Famed for selling and sourcing the best wines, particularly claret, Berry Brothers gives equal attention to a highly rare case of Château Latour as it does to a single bottle of their famed Cutty Sark whisky. Behind the green-shuttered façade, the Victorian clerks' desks stand on the ancient undulating ﬂoor whilst on the scattered Georgian chairs clients quietly discuss their next purchase with the highly knowledgeable staff.
A huge old coffee scale on which most of fashionable London has been weighed since the eighteenth century still hangs in the shop, beside framed telegrams that include one gravely reporting the loss of a consignment of wine aboard the Titanic. Once their clients may have included Napoleon, countless European monarchs, and famous ﬁgures, but now they could equally include pop stars and shrewd dot-com millionaires.
Below the shop lie the cavernous cellars, rumoured to link with St. James's Palace by a lost tunnel, which now also play host to dinners and tastings for both private and corporate clients.
Jeremy Garfield-Davies is an architectural and art historian. A former director of Mallett in London and New York, he advises privately on the research, restoration, and acquisition of works of art for some of the most important private and public collections worldwide.