When you walk into a bar and you ask to see the wine menu, it’s quite impressive when you’re delivered a 300 strong wine list and 50 of those are offered by the glass. We had a chat with the guys behind the Truscott Arms and the Truscott Cellar, a super sexy, cool wine bar group in London.
Tell us a bit about you guys, this is your second venture, what’s the story?
The Truscott Cellar is indeed our second venture (after The Truscott Arms in Maida Vale). We wanted somewhere where we could focus on the wine aspect of the business and build a sexy space in which to do just that.
And what about the Truscott Cellar? How did you come across and decide on the site?
MJ and I live in Belsize Park and had always thought the area was crying out for somewhere cool to go. MJ saw the old Chinese (Weng Wah House) was available and we went for it.
We know you are big wine enthusiasts. What sort of approach have you taken to the list here versus at the Truscott Arms?
We wanted to take all the things we’d learnt at the Truscott Arms and do even more of them! We now only do 125ml glasses, 500ml carafes and bottles. We have over 85 wines by the glass or carafe and over 300 bottles available.
How did you first come across Le Verre De Vin?
We inherited a Le Verre de Vin Compact when we purchased The Truscott Arms. After great success using it we knew we had to have a new one at The Truscott Cellar. So we went for another Compact, which was great as we could place the system under the bar.
It looks like you’ve gone for a huge list of wines by the bottle (300) and by the glass (50) – what’s the thinking behind it?
We really encourage our guests to explore, to venture outside of their comfort-zone, and to discover hidden gems. The list constantly evolves, and we place a huge importance on staff training to enable them to assist and guide the guests through the list.
How important is your Le Verre de Vin system in facilitating this?
We couldn’t offer the range we do without it! It’s that simple. Preservation is vital as we only want to show wines that are at their prime.
Will the list be fixed or are you planning to introduce seasonal and unusual wine by the glass initiatives?
Fixed? Us? Never! The list will never be finished while there are still wines around the world we haven’t showcased. In this day and age, you have to be dynamic to keep your guests coming back.
What sort of results have you seen to date by offering a far broader range by the glass in your other location?
Since we reinvented our wine offer at The Truscott Arms, we have seen a 50% increase in sales in the sector.
There’s been a lot of press recently about Prosecco and Champagne sales. What’s your approach to fizz and how has this been shaped by experience at the Truscott arms?
For me this has always been one of the most frustrating sections of the list! People are still routed in habits and it’s tricky to shift them. We have binned the overpriced Grand Marques from the lists and focused on more interesting offerings such as the Rosé from Wiston Estate and the Basserat de Bellefon Champagne.
Lastly, give us a few insiders’ tips—what should we look out for and make sure we have a glass of when we drop in next?
I currently love the Heinrich Blaufrankisch from Austria and the Spring Valley Cab Franc from Washington.