M1NT Shanghai, view overlooking the Bund
Three years ago, the members-only club M1NT was London's talk of the town. Billed as the world's first club in which members could own shares, M1NT quickly became known as the place where nouveau riche and old money rubbed shoulders, with members reportedly including Val Kilmer and Laura Parker Bowles.
But not all went smoothly for M1NT and its brash young founder, former trader Alistair Paton. The club's original location, on Sloane Street, closed in summer 2006 after the building's landlord (a company owned by Gordon Ramsay) claimed M1NT had fallen behind on its rent. And some of the boldface names identified as M1NT members—Elizabeth Hurley among them—told the press they'd never set foot in the place. But the club persevered, relocating to Mayfair and more recently opening locations in Hong Kong and Cannes.
This August, M1NT will bring its bling to Shanghai, opening a new club on the city's historic waterfront. The perks touted are almost cartoonishly billionaire-bratty: Members can sip Champagne from the rooftop Jacuzzi or buy Aston Martins directly from a catalogue that accompanies the drink menu. With no shortage of new wealth in China, finding people willing to plunk down the $25,000 minimum investment to become shareholders (non-shareholder members pay an $800 annual fee) shouldn't be a problem, says Paton. "The market has just changed dramatically," says Paton. "The next New Yorks, Parises, Londons—to me, that's Shanghai."