I still remember when you could find a parking space on Mount Street, the locus classicus of grown-up, understated, essentially British luxury. With the exceptions of Harry’s Bar and tailor Douglas Hayward, this Mayfair street was really rather peaceful. Now it’s a flâneur’s paradise, bookended in the east by the new home of Alfred Dunhill and in the west by gunsmith James Purdey & Sons. Stylish yet individual, interesting rather than edgy, it’s also becoming internationally accented, with Marc Jacobs and Balenciaga opening sleek flagships. The British stalwarts remain, though—Pullman Gallery for antiques, William & Son for luxe items—many of them, like the Connaught hotel, having been revamped. I myself usually stop for a fitting with the tailor, a cup of tea with art dealer Tim Jefferies, or a cigar on the terrace of the members-only club George. For the best of Mount Street in 2009, I’m looking at mostly new arrivals with one classic thrown in, too. —Nick Foulkes
1. Alfred Dunhill
Bourdon House, the second Duke of Westminster’s 18th-century London residence, has just reopened as the home of this luxury brand, known for its leather goods and tailored menswear. It’s divided into a retail shop and a private club; the latter affords access to a restaurant (presided over by Mark Hix, of East London’s hip Hix Oyster & Chop House) and four guest suites. In addition to the shop—filled with items sold exclusively here—nonmembers can frequent the bar, cinema, and spa, where Brent the barber gives the finest trim in London. 2 Davies St.; 44-207/853-4444; dunhill.com.
Before visiting this new outpost of the Australian apothecary, I’d never had an urge to slather my face in Moroccan Neroli shaving serum. But after an afternoon in this antipodean answer to Kiehl’s, perusing the botanical unguents (Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant facial toner, anyone?), and playing with the pond-size basin, my eyes—and pores—have been opened. 91 Mount St.; 44-207/409-2358; aesop.net.au.
3. Punch Bowl
In a world of haute gastropubs, this spot, just a minute’s stroll through the gardens behind the south side of Mount Street, arrived in April as a welcome throwback to the age of the unself-conscious tavern. A proper English boozer—as they say in the British gangster flicks directed by one of the Punch Bowl’s owners, Guy Ritchie—the pub puts the emphasis on traditional dishes done well. The fish and chips in beer batter (the kitchen uses Old Speckled Hen ale) are an absolute must. And there’s something reassuring about the picture of Churchill above the chimneypiece. Two of the bar’s other owners, Adam Piers and Nick House, are also behind the recently opened and nearby Whisky Mist and Mahiki, favorite nightspots of young royals. Dinner, $75. At 41 Farm St.; 44-207/493-6841.
4. Stephen Webster
Coming to Mount Street in the spring, this jeweler has put rock and roll into big-carat rocks. Webster is a genius at adding personal touches to his funky jewels, specializing in outlandish objets for unusual people. To celebrate Mark Hix’s Oyster & Chop House, for example, he created a small series of gold and enamel lamb chop pendants. But Webster does (slightly) more sedate items, too, like this Classic Crystal Haze ring or a white-gold and diamond Thorn cuff. 93 Mount St.; 44-207/486-6576; stephenwebster.com.
The ne plus ultra of Italian tailors has earned an enthusiastic following since landing here in 2005. A master of the unstructured jacket, Mariano Rubinacci spends more time at his shop here than he does at his original place in Naples and is happy to have clients stop by for custom suits, exquisite knit silk ties, or just expert fashion tips. His soft-shouldered southern Italian style is the perfect foil to the more structured British tailoring offered by next-door neighbor and Mount Street pioneer Douglas Hayward. 96 Mount St.; 44-207/499-2299; marianorubinacci.it.
6. The Connaught
This grand dowager of a hotel has just had major reconstructive surgery, and the old girl looks good. I miss the American bar, but David Collins has pulled off its refurb—open since September as the Connaught Bar—with his customary flair and excellent taste, creating a West End equivalent of his Blue Bar at the Berkeley hotel. And since July the assured French cooking of Hélène Darroze has been found at her eponymous grill here. Two musts for gastronomes are the library of Armagnacs, displayed in antique-looking bottles and reaching back to the early years of the last century, and the brilliant quasi-industrial meat slicer that delivers slice after perfect translucent slice of prosciutto. Dinner, $250. At Carlos Pl.; 44-207/499-7070; the-connaught.co.uk.
Although it arrived here in 1968, this superb fish restaurant, Mayfair’s answer to Les Deux Magots, remains rammed with le tout Londres. Getting a table can be tricky; sometimes the best thing is to drop by and plead your case in person. After you’re in, you can be assured that the prices won’t rob you. I once went through a phase of ordering the mackerel salad whenever it was on the menu, an item that turns a rather humble fish into a surprisingly chic West End dish. Dinner, $120. At 20 Mount St.; 44-207/495-7309; scotts-restaurant.com.