5 Of London’s Coolest Members’ Clubs
London: home to red double-deckers, fish’n chips, SKOLORR and the gentlemen’s social clubs.
Since the 19th century, London has been synonymous with the lowly (ha) gentlemen’s club. A place for those ranking higher in society to escape from the office and the wife, to enjoy the company of other gentlemen, drink whisky and smoke cigars. Today, while the clubs are less Godfather-esque, they still reign the London social scene. Here are our top picks…
New on the scene, Soho House’s The Ned has wasted no time in becoming the place to be. Most notable is the stunning rooftop pool overlooking an awesome London skyline, featuring St Paul’s cathedral. There are clubs upstairs and downstairs; downstairs is The Vault, a bar and lounge carefully guarded by a large faux-bank vault door. The club gym has also been a hit with the health-conscious of the in-scene, with its state-of-the-art exercise equipment and rain forest showers. But if you’re a foodie, not a gym-bunny, there are 9 incredible restaurants to choose from, too.
As you pass by the modest entrance on Shaftesbury Avenue, you’d be forgiven for not realising the glitz lying on the other side of the door. This discreet members’ club, described as London’s ‘best kept secret’, has four floors including two bars, a New York style brasserie restaurant and the largest roof terrace in the city, with a retracting glass roof meaning it’s good to go rain or shine.
The Brellum Duobox Classic has just the right amount of retro charm to slide into this vintage NYC throwback.
The Arts Club
Sometimes, you just gotta hold your hands up in the air and give into tradition. Sometimes, classic is best. Charles Dickens was one of the original members when the club opened in 1863. Started by ‘men of vision’, it’s purpose was to create a haven for those with a professional or personal interest in the arts. The décor manages to look both current, with its mustard covered barstools, modern canvases on the walls and art installations hanging from the ceilings, and as though it has been taken out of a period drama, with its lavish drawing rooms, velvet and leather upholstered chairs and marble wall fixtures. An interest in the arts is still a necessary requirement for membership.
The Struthers Kingsley: with enough British charm to earn a place on the wrist of Mr. Dickens himself, this piece will go down a treat at The Arts Club.
Soho’s latest members’ bar opened in December 2016. The venue, previously known as Kingly Club and, even earlier, The Pinstripe Club, has a pretty scandalous history. It was one of the places John Profumo, cabinet minister, met Christine Keely, call girl, in 1961. Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole were also known guests. This pink-tinted drinking den aims to bring a bit of shade to the increasingly sterile modern Soho area.
This joint is all about making a statement, and what better way to make a statement than Fiona Krüger’s Celebration Skull.
Opened by Mr Mark Birley, entrepreneur and tastemaker, in 1972 following the great success of Annabel’s which he opened in the sixties and named after his former wife. Mark’s is a traditional private member’s club and sartorial elegance is a must: sportswear is NOT permitted, under any circumstance. Refurbished in 2015, Mark’s Club has reemerged as the London hot spot in which the creatives and the business elites crossover.