Jamaica Wine House in The Riot Club
Date posted: 01.09.2014
Based on Laura Wade’s play Posh, The Riot Club is a British thriller portraying a fictionalised version of the infamous Bullingdon Club at Oxford University. Directed by Lone Scherfig (An Education), the film stars Max Irons (Red Riding Hood), Sam Claflin (The Quiet Ones) and Douglas Booth (Noah) as part of the privileged elite at Oxford University.
Set amongst the privileged elite, the film follows two first year students as they desperately attempt to join the infamous Riot Club, and examines the lengths that they and the other members of the club will go to for acceptance. Privilege, excess and debauchery take over as members of the club reach a moral compromise at a dramatic climax. The Riot Club is a witty and scathing examination of privilege and accountability in the British class system.
Capturing the right mood
It was important to find the right setting to film the dramatic dinner scenes, which are central to the plot. Various sites in Oxford were considered but London delivered with the right location. Richard George, Location Manager, says, “after a wide search, we came across the Jamaica Wine House, a fabulous old pub nestled in the heart of the city, in a warren of extremely narrow side streets.”
Capturing the atmosphere and secrecy of the club was vital, which was made possible with the richness and extravagance of the pub. George says of the interior of Jamaica Wine House “the wood (possibly cherry, but more likely oak) gives it this red hue and it’s also partitioned, so it has a real feeling of a place where a conspiracy could be hatched out.” The lush interiors would make the perfect backdrop for what was about to unfold.
George and the production team were happy with the successful shoot and how accommodating the Jamaica Wine House was. He was also enthusiastic about discovering a new drinking establishment in the central London: “it’s a great pub in which most of the crew enjoyed a drink on wrap - recommended!”
Deputy Manager at the Jamaica Wine House, Piotr Zych, speaks of the experience of having the film crew in the pub: “it was all very straightforward with a professional crew who knew what they wanted. There really wasn’t much call for any supervision on our part with a crew who proved very undemanding – just needed the odd fridge turning off for sound. I only wish all of our customers were like this!”.
Because the location was such a perfect fit for the scene, very few changes were needed to be made inside. Zych continues, “they used quite a lot of the pub in the end, using the main area on the ground floor for filming and then the lower ground floor for actors and hair and makeup. Dressing was fairly minimal, just the removing of some of our pictures and the re-hanging of their own to create the right feel.”
History of the Jamaica Wine House
Tucked away in St Michael’s Alley and part of a labyrinth of charming medieval courts and alleys off Cornhill and Lombard Street, the Jamaica Wine House was originally London’s first coffee house, which opened in 1652 and counted Samuel Pepys among its earliest patrons. Known locally as ‘the Jampot’, it is now a Grade II listed public house. The pub's licence was acquired by Shepherd Neame brewery and reopened after a restoration which finished in April 2009.
Hired for private functions and filming, the pub is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
To film at Jamaica Wine House please contact:
020 7929 6972 / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Riot Club is released nationwide on Friday19 September