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The Men To Know

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The entrepreneurs, tailors and bar owners who can (sometimes literally) open doors to an exclusive life

The Doorman

Chris Jepson runs the door at The Box Soho, London’s coolest club

Why does everyone want access to your club?

Its popularity is due to its reputation. The Box started in New York five years ago, and when we opened here a couple of years ago people knew we were going to be slightly different from your

average club.

How do you build relationships with regulars?

My job is to go out to meet people, have a chat, and when the door closes I go inside to hang out with the guests at the bar.

Do you do favours for people you like?

Yes. We don’t open until 11pm, so if someone’s planning to come and they want a table at a restaurant or another club nearby first, then I can hook them up.

How should people approach you if they’re looking for special treatment?

It’s best if I know you, but if not, it helps if you’re well-mannered and well-dressed – we’re a theatre as well, so wearing black tie helps. Trying to play the “Do you know who I am?” card never works.

Do you enjoy being a well-connected man?

Yes, especially working with The Box, because I don’t think there’s anywhere else like it. Just being the face of The Box is a perk in itself; if I want to get a table somewhere then nine times out of 10, it will be there for me.

The Box Soho, 11 Walker St, W1; theboxsoho.com

The barber

Brendan Murdock Founder and owner of barbers/grooming specialist Murdock London

Why does everyone want access to your services?

There’s something in the brand, the identity and the interiors that blends the historic and the new. People like it. We’ve also helped redefine what barbers can do, and people know they can have a stylish haircut, not just a short back and sides.

How do you build relationships with regulars?

We have whisky tastings, art evenings and other events that we try to shape around their interests. There’s also an important relationship between the barber and the customer, which is the cornerstone of the business.

Do you do favours for people you like?

Yes, we look after the people who come to us the most, so perhaps we would go out to you before your wedding or squeeze you in for a last-minute appointment, or look after some of your friends.

How should people approach you if they’re looking for special treatment?

Manners maketh the man. Anyone we already have a relationship with is likely to get the most out of us.

Do you enjoy being a well-connected man?

Yes, and we really appreciate those customers who come to see us religiously. Our customers are an interesting and dynamic cross-section of people.

Murdocklondon.com

The tailor

Patrick Grant Owner and creative director of Norton & Sons and E Tautz on Savile Row

Why does everyone want access to your Savile Row services?

We’re small, have a very limited production and take enormous care to look after our customers. We like them, we know them and we help them create a picture of the items they ought to have in their wardrobes.

How do you build relationships with regulars?

We treat every customer the same way, which means we try to understand how they live, the kind of functions they go to and we set up a service that works for them.

Do you do favours for people you like?

Most people come to see us, but we do have customers who might prefer to send a car to take us to somewhere in the Hamptons for a fitting when we’re in New York, for example, or ask us to get on a train to Paris to meet them in their hotel.

How should people approach you if they’re looking for special treatment?

Be honest and talk to us about what you want. If we can offer it, we’ll probably get on.

Do you enjoy being a well-connected man?

I do – I love being in the workshop with our skilled tailors, and I’m also able to chat with incredible men from all sorts of backgrounds about their clothes.

Nortonandsons.co.uk; etautz.com

The mixologist

Thor Bergquist Manager of the Experimental Cocktail Club (ECC) in Chinatown, London

Why does everyone want access to your club?

It’s a small and intimate bar and the more people want to try to come in, the more the feeling of exclusivity spreads. Customers come for the atmosphere, the people and the drinks.

How do you build relationships with regulars?

People appreciate the personal touch, such as when the person serving you knows your name or remembers what you drink. About half of our clients are regulars who we’ll see at least once a week.

Do you do favours for people you like?

Sure, and we get some pretty interesting requests – from helping to celebrate someone’s grandmother’s birthday to arranging a special cocktail for a gentleman about to propose to his girlfriend. We’re always happy to oblige – it makes each day a bit different for us.

How should people approach you if they’re looking for special treatment?

A compliment never goes astray. The thing not to do is try to buy us a drink – we don’t drink alcohol at work.

Do you enjoy being a well-connected man?

It’s high stress, but it’s high reward as well. When the people in the club are having a good time, that makes my day.

ECC Chinatown, 13a Gerrard St, WC1; chinatownecc.com

The gastronomers

Thom & James Elliot Owners of Pizza Pilgrims, Naples-inspired street food in London’s Berwick Street Market

Why does everyone want to visit you?

It’s a bit different. Our Italian van is a head-turner – we have the music going, we just try to keep it fun – and importantly, people really like the pizza.

How do you build relationships with regulars?

We try to do something new every day and keep the customers interested. The fact that the people who run the business are in the van every day means that we can build a rapport with customers, like you have in a pub.

Do you do favours for people you like?

We’ve shown people how to make their own pizza, catered at private parties and, if you want to buy a specific ingredient to put on your pizza, bring it to us and we’ll try to make it work. We once had a guy who came over with an aubergine and some brie, which we wouldn’t normally use as a topping, but he seemed happy with it.

How should people approach you if they’re looking for special treatment?

If people are friendly, we’ll help. We’re not in an office, we’re right there, and up for making it work if you have a request.

Do you enjoy being a well-connected man?

Hugely. And pizzas are the greatest currency in the world: I once traded one for a haircut.

Pizza Pilgrims, 102 Berwick St, W1; pizzapilgrims.co.uk

The tattooist

Ashley Jagdeo Owner of The Circle London, the new, in-demand tattoo shop in Soho

Why does everyone want access to your services?

We treat the client better than at other places, and that’s because I came into this not as a tattoo artist, but as a client. The studio’s different as we have a gallery, a retail side and laser removal. I wanted a 360-degree model, and I wanted it to be somewhere comfortable enough to bring your mum.

How do you build relationships with regulars?

We keep them on board with parties every month. We try to make them feel like part of

the family.

Do you do favours for people you like?

Of course – when you get a tattoo, it’s one of the most uncomfortable things you’ll ever pay for, so if we can get you lunch, a hot drink or put your music on, we will.

How should people approach you if they’re looking for special treatment?

Be polite and I’ll usually say yes. We had a DJ who was flying in for just one day, and we were here until midnight doing his tattoo.

Do you enjoy being a well-connected man?

Having my own studio in the centre of London is a dream come true.

The Circle London, 21 Noel St, W1; thecirclelondon.com

The club svengali

Sacha Lord-Marchionne Co-founder of The Warehouse Project, Manchester’s pop-up clubbing institution

Why does everyone want access to your clubs?

We have the best line-ups, we’re only open for three months a year and it’s all part of the formula. Today, the events are known to sell out so quickly there’s kind of a domino effect, a panic.

How do you build relationships with regulars?

On Facebook we’re just under 100,000; Twitter is something like 52,000. Even when we close, we have constant banter with the customers and you get to know the regulars – I stand on the door every night.

Do you do favours for people you like?

There are people who’ve supported us for years and they deserve the guest-list treatment. You’d be amazed how many ‘friends’ I suddenly get as our season begins.

How should people approach you if they’re looking for special treatment?

It helps if you’re blonde and pretty. Actually, Twitter is best. I watch it closely and a couple of times a week I might spot a regular who says they can’t afford tickets – I’ll get them in.

Do you enjoy being a well-connected man?

When we started in 2006 I had no grey hair, now there’s silver creeping in. There’s a lot of stress and tension, but I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved.

Thewarehouseproject.com

Images: Hal Shinnie

Words: Mike Peake Photographers assistant - Ronan ‘The Librarian’ Gallagher

Chris/The Box: Suit, shirt and tie by A.Sauvage

Brendan/Murdock: shirt by Emmett London, jeans by ACNE, jacket by Harris Tweed, shoes by Loake, pocket square by Murdock

Thor/ECC: shirt by Lacoste L!VE

Patrick/E Tautz: Suit, tie and socks by E Tautz, shirt by Norton & Sons bespoke, shoes by John Lobb for E Tautz, Watch by 1970 Rolex Oysterdate

Ashley/The Circle: t-shirt by Lacoste L!VE, jeans by Nudie,

James/pizza pilgrims: jumper by Lacoste L!VE

Sacha/Warehouse Project: shirt by Lacoste

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