Squire and Partners
Squire and Partners seems to have missed the point of Building buys a pint. The architect is meant to be our guest, but at 06 St Chad’s Place, it’s the landlord.
The practice bought the building in 2001 and converted it into an inviting wine bar, shortly after it converted its own office 100 steps away in King’s Cross.
“There wasn’t much in the way of facilities in this area,” says Murray, who pocketed the building at an auction at the Cafe Royal. “It was a big boost for us to relocate [from Victoria]. Practice staff get 10% discount on drinks and 20% on food.”
It’s great owning a pub. “You get to know people in the office who you might not otherwise meet,” says Rob.
Murray looks around and adds: “There are not many from the office here at the moment. They’re probably still working.” They’re dedicated at Squires: it’s about 7pm.
Seating some 50 guests for lunch, the wine bar is on the maze of back streets straddling the Thameslink railway cutting. “It was quite a dodgy area when we moved in,” says Murray.
“There were quite a few ladies of the night then,” recalls Myles.
Clare is more forthright. “When we arrived, a prostitute used to come to our office window and gesticulate. She looked like a skeleton. Once St Chad’s opened, they all left. Perhaps the men are disappointed. But I haven’t had any trouble myself.”
The members of the world’s oldest profession have since been replaced by the Gagosian art gallery, a Starbucks and several small office conversions.
Our multinational group of seven is a fair representation of the 110-strong practice. Rob and Clare are Scottish, Olga is Spanish and Bettina is German.
“There are 20 nationalities and 30 languages spoken in the office, including Danish, Greek, Japanese and Uzbek,” says Stewart. “So you get that fusion of different ideas.
It might be a league of nations, but that doesn’t stop Myles taunting Clare over the Scottish reputation for meanness. “We manage the purse strings,” she retorts between pursed lips.
Speaking of generosity, Building’s been buying so far.
But, after four rounds, mine host Murray lays on a grand finale called the Jägerbomb. Eight full glasses of lager are lined up on the table and small glasses of dark brown Jägermeister liqueur balanced on the edges between them. The guest is invited to gently tip the last liqueur glass, triggering a rapid-fire of crashes and splashes, as a result of which all the liqueur glasses plop neatly into the lager glasses.
We have no such drama disposing of the contents.
Murray Levinson partner
Robert Bochel director
Myles Taylor associate
Stewart Kendall associate
Clare Moore staff architect
Olga Gomez staff architect
Bettina Brehler staff architect
Martin Spring Building
Watering hole: 06 St Chad’s Place, King’s Cross
Ambience: industrial-chic wine bar in converted workshop
Topics: the booze trade, the sex trade and multi-ethnic companies
Drinks: 9 bottles of Peroni and Stiegl, 6 glasses of wine and Jägerbombs for everyone.