Sessions Arts Club: a new restaurant in a restored 18th century Grade II listed building

This new restaurant, wine bar and art gallery in Clerkenwell, London, with Regency era glamour, has a private feel—a sort of sanctuary to escape from the hustle of the city.

by Pallavi MehraPublished on : Sep 25, 2021

Recently, Cabin Studios, Sätila Studios and chef Florence Knight unveiled Sessions Arts Club, a creative studio in the heart of London in United Kingdom. This venue brings together the best of art, design and food under one roof. Housed in the carefully restored Old Sessions House (the former courthouse), located in the trendy neighbourhood of Clerkenwell, this creative studio comprises a restaurant, a wine bar and an art gallery space conceived by artist Jonny Gent of Cabin Studios, restaurateur Jon Spiteri, architect Russell Potter of SODA Studio, and brothers Ted and Oliver Grebelius of Sätila Studios. Situated on the fourth floor of the magnificent 18th century, Grade II listed building, Sessions Arts Club has a private feel—a sort of sanctuary to escape from the hustle of city life.

  • (Left) Chef Florence Knight, and (right) artist Jonny Gent at the Sessions Art Club | Cabin Studios, Sätila Studios and SODA Studio | STIRworld
    (Left) Chef Florence Knight, and (right) artist Jonny Gent at the Sessions Art Club Image: Courtesy of Sessions Arts Club
  • The green leather banquettes on the mezzanine are an ode to the former courthouse’s past life | Sessions Arts Club |  Cabin Studios, Sätila Studios and SODA Studio | STIRworld
    The green leather banquettes on the mezzanine are an ode to the former courthouse’s past life Image: Courtesy of Sessions Arts Club

Sessions Arts Club was inspired by Cabin Studios and Sätila Studios’ goal to create one-of-a-kind space with a focus on art, food and music. A haven in the centre of London, the main 60-seater dining room is flooded with light from a series of massive arched windows looking out onto the rooftop. Conversely, at night, the setting is mysterious and cosy.

A large dining room with Regency-era glamour, worn jade paint, crumbling pink plaster, and two pairs of plastic mannequin legs dangling from the ceiling, welcomes guests Image: Kate Ozerov, Courtesy of stylenstitch

Guests enter Sessions Arts Club through a red door at the back of the grade II-listed building, walk into an elevator, and are ushered up to the new bar and restaurant. A large dining room with Regency-era glamour, worn jade paint and crumbling pink plaster welcomes guests to a two-storey space. Eclectic artworks from artist Jonny Gent hang on the walls and two pairs of plastic mannequin legs dangle from the ceiling, adding a peculiar vibe to the space. The aesthetic of the restaurant design can be best described as a deteriorating mansion belonging to a wealthy aristocrat.

The interior elements and furniture have been sourced from various markets and salvage yards Image: Courtesy of Sessions Arts Club

The roof terrace can accommodate 20 people and leads out to a stylish marble bar and infinity rooftop pool with panoramic views over the city. As the evening draws in, visitors can enjoy the relaxed ambience that runs through the building – whether seated in the main dining room, at the rooftop terrace, or on the mezzanine. The green leather banquettes on the mezzanine are an ode to the former courthouse’s past life.

The roof terrace leads out to a stylish marble bar and infinity rooftop pool | Sessions Arts Club | Cabin Studios, Sätila Studios and SODA Studio | STIRworld
The roof terrace leads out to a stylish marble bar and infinity rooftop pool Image: Courtesy of Sessions Arts Club

Art and expression are central to the Sessions Arts Club, where every week there will be a new opening of sorts. The artwork will build up through various events, workshops and dinners, and over time new work will be added, moved, commissioned and occasionally sold. Events and experiences will play an important role, with the space creating a unique backdrop. The team plans on inviting friends from the worlds of art, fashion, music, wellness and theatre, to host unique, engaging evenings and exhibitions.

The design aesthetic of the space is that of a deteriorating mansion belonging to a wealthy aristocrat Image: Courtesy of Sessions Arts Club

“The building has seen great changes since its origin as one of the most significant courthouses of 18th century England. SODA Studio’s light touch design approach in the main spaces follows the meticulous restoration process done by Ted and Oliver of Sätila, who reimagined the entire building over the past six years. The interior design elements and furniture have been sourced from various markets and salvage yards, creating an eclectic yet comfortable aesthetic. This is coupled with a series of green leather banquettes reflecting the courthouse’s past,” mentions a spokesperson for Sessions Arts Club.

Sessions Arts Club offers a refined, seasonally led menu, evocative of British, French and Italian cooking | Cabin Studios, Sätila Studios and SODA Studio | STIRworld
Sessions Arts Club offers a refined, seasonally led menu, evocative of British, French and Italian cooking Image: Courtesy of Sessions Arts Club

Sessions Arts Club’s kitchen is headed up by renowned chef, Florence Knight. The venue offers a refined, seasonally led menu evocative of British, French and Italian cuisine. Guests can expect simple food made using responsibly sourced ingredients from local vendors who deliver fresh harvest daily.

“Available from lunch through to late evening, Florence’s menu has a delicate simplicity at its heart and begins with seasonal plates such as grilled friggitelli with sea salt, sea bream, fig leaf and sorrel, and potato and chard croquettes with lemon aioli. To follow there are dishes such as clams and turnip top orecchiette, pork belly cooked with fennel and orange, and lamb sweetbreads with lettuce and lovage. To finish, expect apricot ripple ice cream, ricotta and cherry tart and a nectarine sorbet. Accompanying the menu is an extensive wine list curated by Terry Kandylis and Keeling Andrew & Co, suiting both the novice ‘learner’ to the more experienced wine connoisseur,” concludes a spokesperson for Sessions Arts Club.

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