Why Iwan and Manuela Wirth have hit the pub

Why Iwan and Manuela Wirth have hit the pub

Swiss gallerists Iwan and Manuela Wirth of latest artwork gallery Hauser & Wirth aren’t any strangers to bold hospitality tasks. By means of Artfarm, the hospitality firm they launched in 2014, they appear after Manuela restaurant in Los Angeles, the Roth Bar & Grill in Somerset and the Fife Arms in Scotland, a lodge that’s house to over 14,000 antiques and artworks together with a Picasso and a Freud. In August, it was additionally introduced that that they had purchased the Groucho Membership in Soho.

The bar at the Audley Public House, with (top) ceiling artwork by Phyllida Barlow
The bar on the Audley Public Home, with (high) ceiling art work by Phyllida Barlow © Sim Canetty-Clarke

However final month noticed the launch of their first London enterprise, The Audley, on the nook of Mount Avenue and South Audley Avenue in Mayfair. Even by their requirements, it’s a “loopy undertaking”, says Iwan, that offers them someplace to entertain near their Savile Row gallery and forthcoming flagship house on South Audley Avenue (as a consequence of open in 2024). 

The constructing, erected in 1888 and designed by Thomas Verity, the person chargeable for the outside of the pavilion at Lord’s Cricket Floor, was once a lodge, then a pub with rooms for workers. Now it encompasses The Audley Public Home on the bottom ground, the all-day Mount St restaurant on the primary ground and 4 spectacular non-public eating areas throughout the higher flooring, with some 200 artworks on show all through.

A Plate of Prawns (1958) by Lucian Freud
A Plate of Prawns (1958) by Lucian Freud © The Lucian Freud Archive/Bridgeman Pictures

The road-level pub is most devoted to the unique. The tiled entrance has been restored, as has the darkish wooden panelling inside. There are low stools, darkish blue/gray carpets and blackboards behind the bar. “‘What have they accomplished?’ would be the greatest praise,” says Iwan of the standard scheme. Although you’d must be sloshed to overlook one main intervention: a boldly vibrant work by British artist Phyllida Barlow consisting of handpainted paper, reduce and collaged onto the ceiling.

The 64-cover restaurant upstairs is house to a different exuberant set up: a marble mosaic ground by American artist Rashid Johnson. And Iwan and Manuela have clearly had enjoyable amassing items for the partitions. Many are meals associated, together with Lucian Freud’s A Plate of Prawns, Henri Matisse’s Éperlans (smelt fish), Andy Warhol’s Lobster and, within the stairwell, the 10-photo Ohne Titel (Wurstserie) by Fischli & Weiss. This 1979 piece is especially near the gallerists’ hearts because the work of Swiss artists and a paean to sausage, which Iwan and Manuela are loopy about. “We’re from St Gallen,” says Manuela, “house to a well-known veal sausage known as St Gallen bratwurst.” “It grows while you eat it,” Iwan provides.

Lobster Pie for Two
Lobster Pie for Two © John Carey

The non-public eating areas on the second, third and fourth flooring are additionally themed. The Swiss Room is house to work by Ferdinand Hodler and classic Willy Guhl chairs. In The Italian Room “we needed to have de Chirico”, Iwan says; therefore La Muse (1974), amongst different works. The spotlight of The Scottish Room, which includes a 26-seat banqueting desk below an unlimited antler chandelier, is a 1740 portray of Bonnie Prince Charlie by Italian court docket artist Domenico Duprà. The Video games Room on the highest ground, which contains a lounge and bar, is dominated by smut. This features a specifically commissioned ceiling work by Anj Smith reinterpreting tentacle erotica (I needed to look that up), vaginal research by Ida Applebroog and one thing resembling a sausage by Robert Mapplethorpe.

A detail from the palladiana floor by Rashid Johnson ‘Broken Floor’ (2022) in Mount St Restaurant 
A element from the palladiana ground by Rashid Johnson ‘Damaged Flooring’ (2022) in Mount St Restaurant  © Sim Canetty-Clarke

The dining room of Mount St Restaurant
The eating room of Mount St Restaurant © Sim Canetty-Clarke

Berry Blancmange with White Chocolate Ice Cream 
Berry Blancmange with White Chocolate Ice Cream  © John Carey

The meals, overseen by chef Jamie Shears, who beforehand labored below Gordon Ramsay, Chris Galvin and Wolfgang Puck, pays homage to basic British dishes. Amongst these within the pub are London rarebit, a tackle Welsh rarebit utilizing London Delight and served on sourdough so crisp you may choose it up like a canapé; and London Specific, a hearty split-pea and ham hock soup that takes its title from London fogs, or “pea soupers”. Naturally, there are sausages too, together with St Gallen sausage with mustard in a bread roll, the best way sure Swiss gallerists prefer it.

The extra elevated restaurant menu affords starters similar to omelette Arnold Bennett, mock-turtle croquettes and a refined smoked eel with potato salad, adopted by pigeons in Pimlico (squab pigeon, goose liver and mushrooms en croûte with smoked bacon sauce) and a delicious lobster pie for 2. Desserts embrace peach-melba soufflé and a raspberry blancmange (moulded within the form of a rabbit).

A corner table in Mount St Restaurant
A nook desk in Mount St Restaurant © Sim Canetty-Clarke

Smoked eel with caviar and potato salad
Smoked eel with caviar and potato salad © John Carey

“Lastly [our artists] have a house in London. They are going to at all times have a desk right here,” says Iwan. However will they must pay (as they don’t on the restaurant in LA)? “No!” says Manuela. “We’ll see,” says Iwan, nearly concurrently. Among the many wider public, the hope is that individuals come for the artwork. However will they go away with the artwork too? I’m pondering primarily of the salt and pepper cruets impressed by Paul McCarthy’s sex-toy-shaped Tree. “I’ve stolen ashtrays all my life,” admits Iwan. “However we belief folks. [At the Fife Arms] we solely ever had one £5 print disappear from the bathroom on the opening day.” Moreover, the cruets are so heavy, it might be like pocketing an anvil.


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