The members’ club scene in London is changing. In 2018, business-led and modern options are the order of the day. Here, we talk you through eight of the best new members’ clubs in London, as well as what to look out for when searching for the right club.
The C&TH Guide to London’s New Private Members’ Clubs
Old-style gentlemen’s clubs still exist. Smoky, whisky-soaked rooms – words like ‘establishment’ and ‘elite’ might be thrust upon them by people who don’t care for such things.
And there are more inclusive, but more traditional clubs around, too – The Library, for instance. It’s been around for a while but has offered a somewhat fresher take on where to hang out. And we all know about the Soho House group. If you want to climb London’s society ladder and listen to a panel discussion about Tinder then the Shoreditch outpost is the place to do it.
But this year marks another shift – clubs that are geared more towards business than the ‘scene’. Clubs have always been places to network and do deals, but not so much specifically designed for creating slideshows or holding company conferences. Soho Works is a telling sign of this, moving past the idea of a ‘club,’ instead blending that aesthetic with a working environment, almost like London’s Second Home space.
But don’t worry – alongside the boardrooms, there are still afternoon teas and cocktails to be had. And cigars. The shift is as gradual as you might surmise. And we’ve concentrated on that treacly pattern in our round-up here.
Undoubtedly the mecca of all meccas for wine lovers, 67 Pall Mall is a formidable three-story establishment with views looking on to St James’ Palace. Having just opened an entirely new floor, the club is now accepting new full members for the first time since membership closed two years ago. The members’ lounge is found in Hambros’ former banking hall, where members can scroll through an unrivalled wine list on the in-house iPads, which are also loaded with critic’s scores and winemakers’ notes. Sensitively designed by Simone McEwan, the club’s Wine Library displays thousands of bottles from their collection, enticing every oenophile to peruse and select wines to their heart’s content. Besides this, 67 Pall Mall’s extensive wine cellar also offers a Member’s Reserve facility, allowing members to store some of their own personal wine collection in the club cellars. £1,500 per annum (+£1,500 joining fee).
September 2016 saw the birth of Albert’s Club. In the heart of Knightsbridge and Chelsea on Old Brompton Road, this club is shaking up the ideals of a quintessential private members’ club. The furnishings are inherently British but are brought together with modern and slightly quirky additions to create an unpretentious and relaxing atmosphere. That’s not to say that Albert’s is any less steeped in luxury as its counterparts. There is no reason you’ll ever be left wanting at Albert’s, equipped with its wood panelled whisky and martini bars, private dining rooms, raucous nightclub which plays host to an array of international DJs, and a sumptuous restaurant headed by highly talented Alessio Piras, formerly of Cecconi’s. There are more benefits, too – how about a private viewing at the V&A? Or perhaps a day out at Royal Ascot? Prices from £650 for an annual membership (with a £250 joining fee), or £2,500 for a lifetime membership.
The glittering new opening in London’s city centre is The Ned, the latest hybrid offering, with eight restaurants, a hotel and private members club, all set in a historic 3,00 square metre former banking hall. The Ned also includes six Grade I listed meeting rooms and two outdoor terraces available for hire (see the many Instagrams from the opening night…). So whether you are in need of a decent night’s sleep, a party venue, or a great meal, The Ned is the City’s best new club. 27, Poultry, EC2R 8AJ.
Launched in Shoreditch in May 2017, The Curtain is the newest venture from New York hotelier Michael Achenbaum. Alongside the new restaurant and hotel, the members’ club is a place to network, play, learn and explore in London’s most happening area. It’s open from 7am to 2am daily allowing for the best of day and night hospitality and entertainment, with live music at its heart – including secret gigs, DJs and acoustic performances, as well as various other exclusive events and talks.
There are also quieter lounge spots to enjoy a nightcap or four, a co-working space which opened in late 2017 and a Screening Room which will hold private screenings, previews and presentations. This is a modern members’ club firmly at the forefront of the new wave, claiming; ‘We’re not about wealth and status. We don’t care who your parents are. We want members that have something in common: namely, a creative soul’.
The latest old-school members’ club to have a makeover after more than 50 years of Soho nightlife, Annabel’s reopens this year two doors down at 46 Berkeley Square (but will remain open at 44 in the meantime). To mark the relaunch, the club has put together a cultural committee of creative forces, made up of some of the biggest name in the creative industries. Sitting on the Cultural Committee will be iconic photographer Mario Testino, Best Selling Writer Derek Blasberg, Make-Up Artist Charlotte Tilbury and Contemporary Art Curator Hikari Yokoyama. Cocktails, cigars and fine dining will still very much be at the heart of the offering; but the face-lift is sure to give the Mayfair stalwart a reboot to keep up with the 2018 pack.
Bon viveur Brian Clivaz has launched the Devonshire Club. It comprises a club lounge, bars, 120-cover brasserie, private dining rooms, library with screening room, and hotel with 68 bedrooms – with an adjacent 18th Century townhouse home to the club spa and gym. It’s in a Grade II listed property in the heart of the City of London, the financial hub which is transforming a little. The newest outpost of Soho House – in the former Midland Bank building – is also nearby.
‘The Devonshire Club will be the focal point where those with Mayfair style and glamour meet East End chic,’ says Clivaz, who adds that it ‘offers a sophisticated atmosphere in which to conduct business, relax and entertain.’ Lord Ashcroft is a major investor. No doubt he’ll be staying clear of Mark’s. Annual membership is priced at £2,400 per annum, with an additional joining fee of £2,400.
Fine, Mark’s Club isn’t exactly new. It was originally opened in 1972 by Mark Birley. But it was purchased by Richard Caring (along with Annabel’s and Harry’s Bar) seven years ago and today, the club is set for a shake up, as Caring teams up with Peter Dubens (founder of London-based Oakley Capital) and financier Charles Price (son of the former US ambassador), with big plans for reinvention. Together they’ve backed chef Tom Aikens to great effect in the past.
Mark’s Club is big time exclusive – but still deemed in the ‘new’ pack. We’re not sure whether the fact David Cameron is a member supports this, or completely diminishes it. An annual subscription to Mark’s Club is £2,000 and there is an entrance fee for the first year of £1,000.
This iconic London building and its neo-classical interiors has been meticulously restored by a team of experts commissioned by developers/hoteliers the Reignwood Group (also the new owners of Wentworth Golf Club). Now this 1920s heritage property is set to house a Four Seasons Hotel – with 98 guest rooms and suites – many with views of the Thames. What’s more, there’ll be 41 private residences, a private members’ club, two gourmet restaurants, and a spa.
The group says the club will include meeting rooms, cigar lounge, bar, art gallery and business centre. It’s close to the City, and also wants to ‘reinvent’ the scene – or at least reignite it. It’s certainly part of the park, but definitely more old-school than many – there will be the Château Latour Room, for example, which comes in partnership with the well-known Médoc winemaker. These connections aren’t forged on a Macbook in a pair of Stan Smiths. Ten Trinity Square Club opened in late 2017. Now accepting membership applications; fees not yet established.
12 Hay Hill
12 Hay Hill is in Mayfair, not far from Berkeley Square. Its offices are serviced and its sole focus is business. Members include former tennis star Boris Becker, who runs his office from the club, and actor Billy Zane. It’s all about ‘contacts’, as you’d imagine, with an office vibe. It’s still pretty social, though, and it’s got Michelin-starred chef Shaun Rankin doing the food.
The club also uses an in-house art curator (just as the Great Northern Hotel and Deloitte use Shoreditch-based service Artiq), changing up the mood on occasion. Currently, Frank Stella and David Lachapelle are featured, as well as some of London’s emerging artists, such as Danny Rolph and Hannah Knox. Prices start from £175 per month.
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