Dave West, playboy owner of the cut-price Calais wine warehouse Eastenders, is to open a new members-only club in London’s exclusive Mayfair district.
The story of West’s brainchild is featured as part of a series of BBC TV documentaries called Life at the Top. The programme follows the project almost to completion.
The club, named Hey Jo after West’s Polish ex-girlfriend, is set to open this year despite being beset with problems from the beginning.
As detailed in the TV programme, work on the club begins as his relationship with Jo, nearly 40 years his junior, falters. West then comes into conflict with his consultant chef, Michelin-starred Jean-Christophe Novelli, after kitchen space is sacrificed to make way for West’s self-proclaimed ‘best toilets in London’.
Top interior designer Nicky Haslam is shown a Britney Spears concert for inspiration but refuses to become involved in the project. Major building work was also required on the roof of the building.
Some neighbours in Jermyn Street have reportedly voiced concerns over the kind of club Hey Jo is to be. West is non-commital.
‘I didn’t know the wine business at all,’ he said, ‘but I listened to what my customers wanted. It’ll be the same with Hey Jo. They’ll tell me how they want it to be run.’
It is likely that some nights, however, will be more risqué than others.
‘I’ll stay true to form. We might have the odd treat. We might offer a magnum of champagne to the first girl to take her clothes off or something like that,’ added West.
Hey Jo is due to open in mid-May this year. The wine list is eclectic, with West saying the club would be serving all the top brands including, as he puts it, ‘the dog’s bollocks, the mutt’s nuts, and vino collapso.’
West, a former market boy from Romford, East London, made his fortune with cut-price wine shops in France and Belgium, attracting English ‘booze cruisers’ looking to buy cheap wine and cigarettes on day trips to the continent.
Written by Oliver Styles