Alternative Members’ clubs: London institutions changing up the scene
Back in the day, members’ clubs were the reserve of London’s rich and titled elite. Basking in tradition and draped in luxe finery (and more than a hint of snobbery), clubs like Boodle’ in St James’s, The Garrick in Covent Garden and Annabel’s in Mayfair belonged to the little-strayed-from prototype of what a ‘members’ club’ should be, and were strictly off-bounds to those without the pursestrings, contacts or prestige to warrant membership.
Fast-forward to the mid 1990s and Soho House opens its doors, simultaneously opening up the world of members’ clubs to a different breed – aiming to attract the arts and media crowd. The concept took off and now the group have 23 properties – eight of which are in London alone – and still there’s a wait list of hopefuls looking to acquire membership. But Soho House is old news; now there’s a spate of private members’ clubs in London looking to fill a niche and offer something different. Here are the alternative members’ clubs worth knowing about.