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Club Bâtard: ‘we know the concept works’

With rare Burgundy and Bordeaux released directly to members, the management team behind Club Bâtard speak to Nimmi Malhotra about what to expect from Hong Kong’s first wine-dedicated private members’ club.

Club Bâtard in Hong Kong: 'we know the concept works'
A sketch of the building from Joyce Wang Studio

Club Bâtard, Hong Kong’s newest private members’ club, is slated to open in August 2024. It will be the first physical club dedicated to wine, offering its members fine wine and rare whiskies at retail prices.

The Club takes over the 100-year-old historic Pedder Building, located in the heart of the city. Construction work has already begun to fit out 18,000 square feet spread over three storeys, including three restaurants, a whisky bar, and a three-storey walk-in wine cellar. The interiors will be furnished by leading luxury hospitality designer The Joyce Wang Studio, and the glassware will be supplied by Zalto and Grassl Glass.

Behind the new venture are Michael Wu, founder of The Fine Wine Experience, Hong Kong’s leading Burgundy merchant, and seasoned restaurateur Randy See of Piccolo Concepts (a subsidiary of Singapore’s Les Amis Group). The two first came together in 2019 to launch Bâtard: a French restaurant inside a fine wine shop in Sai Yin Pun. The original concept behind Bâtard as a restaurant was to offer clients the chance order wines without restaurant markups, offering savings of 60-70% compared to other venues.

Club Bâtard: 'we know the concept works'
Michael Wu, Linden Wilkie and Randy See, with Debra Meiburg MW

“People really bought into the retail price idea. For four years, every session at Bâtard has been booked, so we know the concept works,” said Wu.

Club Bâtard is an evolution of that idea, with an expanded cellar that will house 5,000 references of wines and connect all floors with an internal staircase inside the cellar. He added: “It’s going to be by far the biggest walk-in cellar in Hong Kong and probably Asia.”

Managing director Linden Wilkie, known for his encyclopaedic knowledge of Burgundy, added: “Members are encouraged to come in. The idea is that you could walk into the cellar, up the stairs, to your table in the restaurant. And on the way, have the chance to browse the bottles.”

The wine cellar will have the longest stretch on the ground floor, home to the new Les Clos, an all-day dining venue exclusive to members. (Earlier plans intended for Les Clos to be open to the public, but that has since changed to a member-only access.)

In addition to Les Clos and Bâtard, Hop Sze, an acclaimed Chinese restaurant, will take over the third floor. “It’s really important to note that both Bâtard and Hop Sze shut down their current operations to move them into Club Bâtard. This is not the opening of a branch of those two restaurants. They are relocating into the club, so all that expertise is already onboard,” said Wilkie.

Club Bâtard in Hong Kong: 'we know the concept works'

Lastly, OBE — the whisky bar that takes its name from ‘Old Bottle Effect’ — will stock older Scotch and Japanese whiskies chosen by Diego Lanza, Bonham’s ex-head of whisky. The wines and the whiskies will be available to members at retail prices.

Wilkie added they are in discussions with Master of Wines Debra Meiburg, Jasper Morris, Anthony Hanson, wine critic Neal Martin, and Bordeaux expert Jane Anson, among others, for future programming and will involve a “broad range of experts to the benefit of our members”.

Also unique to the club will be special releases of rare bottles direct from Burgundy and Bordeaux cellars to the club, which The Fine Wine Experience has been able to secure with their strong relationships.

The membership joining fee is set at HKD100,000 (£10,087), which increases to HKD150,000 (£15,000) post-opening and will cap at 1200 members. Randy See says he is “quite confident that the membership will be filled by opening time.”

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