A NEW CITY CLUB CENTERED ON WINE IS ABOUT TO OPEN IN DALLAS
by Andrew Chalk
Wine lovers have a new year’s resolution to make this year -- join 55 Seventy in time for its opening in Preston Center (in the old Marble Slab space). Founded by Tommy Shuey, an investor and serious wine lover, and fronted by Jeff Gregory, who helmed the front-of-house at FT33 before its demise, 55 Seventy aims to become the go-to gathering place for wine lovers in Dallas. A private club with a binding theme of wine appreciation.
Physically, 55 Seventy consists of a member’s dining room (I am watching out for an announcement as to the name of the chef. All those Michelin-starred restaurants in northern California are on the brink of bankruptcy. Now...), private dining, a Champagne bar, a tasting bar (I suggest they name it The T.V. Munson Tasting Bar to emphasise Texas' formative role in the Bordeaux wine trade), a lounge, large patio space, and member’s wine storage. Total space is 8,500 square feet with 4,000 square feet of cellar room.
Member’s will find wine by-the-glass at retail prices (no restaurant mark up), BYOB with no corkage fee, live music, art events, guided tastings by 100+ boutique wineries, happy hours, access to exclusive, highly allocated, wines, wine dinners with leading chefs, member-to-member wine exchange to buy and sell, and immediate access to wine experts if they have questions. Both Jeff Gregory and Tommy Shuey plan to be ‘hands on’.
This reminds me of 67 Pall Mall. A wine club in London that opened in 2015 and has been a runaway success. It now has over 2,500 members, 4,400 wines, an offshoot in Singapore and, shortly, Verbier and Burgundy. It has successfully engaged the imagination of every serious wine lover, private and trade, and become the hub to socialize with one’s peers. One feature that I liked was a high table in the middle of the second-floor bar on which anyone could put a bottle of ‘their’ wine and leave it, open, for any other member to try. There were small growers from France, seeking UK distribution, doing just that. As I expected, the upfront dress code and formalities did not presage a coven of wine snobs. Inside, it was convivial wine banter and an openness that defined the modus operandi. The many sommeliers on staff that I met were people from all over the world.
If Shuey and Gregory can capture this joie de vivre everything else will fall into place. Join on the web site link (above).