Pubs aren’t typically known for their arty associations, but for nearly a decade, Artfarm has been rethinking how art can be experienced through this most British of bastions. Its new Mayfair spot, The Audley, revives a classic London boozer, filling it with installations by Phyllida Barlow and Rashid Johnson.
Artfarm was founded in 2014 by galleries Manuela and Iwan Wirth of Hauser & Wirth fame. The couple first opened their maximalist five-star hotel, The Fife Arms, in Braemar, Scotland, back in 2018 and now have a cache of spaces in Somerset, Los Angeles and London (where they’re leading the revival of a local icon, the Groucho Club.) The Audley fits neatly, though distinctly, into this cannon, with each floor of the 18th-century building on the corner of Mount Street and South Audley Street offering a curated, art-led experience.
French architect (and frequent Hauser & Wirth collaborator) Luis Laplace led the renovations of the 1888 building, originally designed by architect Thomas Verity (he also designed the exterior of the pavilion at Lord’s Cricket Ground). On the street level is the public house, with an epic ceiling installation by Phyllida Barlow. Made with hand-painted paper, the artwork’s rich tropical sunset shades form an intense dialogue with the mahogany wall panels and carved details of the Grade II-listed space, including its ornate fireplace and ceiling clock. The curves and swoops of Barlow’s mural draw on the curvature of the pub windows.
Above is the Mount St Restaurant, where artist Rashid Johnson has designed a site-specific mosaic floor, and in the top floor turret, Anj Smith has created a site-specific ceiling fresco. Four immersive spaces each have a unique thumbprint and are available to hire for dining or events.
Executive Chef Jamie Shears’ menu pays homage to London’s culinary history, with the pub’s menu featuring classic snacks such as eel and horseradish or bone marrow on toast and fish and chips. Upstairs has the same feel, albeit with a sophisticated twist. Expect dishes such as lobster pie for two, Dover sole with brown butter hollandaise, and pigeons in Pimlico, duck liver, bacon and red cabbage.
41-43 Mount St, London W1K 2RX