The Monaco Yacht Club is one of the moneyed city-state’s most exclusive private clubs, founded by no less than the late Ranier III, Prince of Monaco, husband of Grace Kelly. Getting in requires two sponsors, approval by club president Prince Albert II, and a fee the club declined to disclose. Each year, when the Monaco Yacht Show descends on the city, it’s where you’ll find Russian oligarchs, Chinese titans of industry, as well as captains, crew members, and media; year-round, it’s where nautically inclined members of the royal family talk shop.
But for those who don’t hold a golden entrance key, there’s still a way in—well at least into the glassy Foster+Partners-designed club building itselfand that's through the Wine Palace.
This high-minded temple to Bacchus stocks a cool 3,200 bottles of wine, Champagne, and spirits on its shelves. Naturally, the focus is French, with Bordeaux producers Château Smith Haut Lafitte and Château Cheval Blanc being particularly hot sellers. Prices start from just $12 a bottle and average around €40, despite the boîte’s fashionable location. The food menu is compact but ticks all the boxes, with a varied cheese platter, foie gras, palm-size tartines, smoked fish and, in summer, a pretty pile of tiny heirloom tomatoes and rounds of fresh mozzarella.