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Inside London's most exclusive private members' clubs

Inside London's most exclusive private members' clubs

Despite there being a members’ club on London’s every corner – at least, that’s how it seems from Covent Garden to Kensington – not every one of them is the perfect fit. For example, I’ve never seen the inside of a gym. I loathe exercise of any kind, so any club that touts the latest Technogym as their crowning achievement clearly isn’t for me. On the other hand, there’s surely a masochist out there it’s perfect for. So, rather than reading the little black phonebook of members clubs cover to cover, let’s instead fit person to place.

For the Work Hard, Party Harders: Annabel’s

Annabel’s is an institution. Granted it’s currently an institution with closed doors but let’s not get caught up on semantics. After decades in the somewhat dodgy spotlight, it’s decided to move one door along and fully revamp itself. Now it’s following the likes of Hay Hill in pandering to businessmen who want to power play their meetings. Of course, the legendary nightclub is still there so finish your meeting, grab a cocktail and get messy with the great, good and ghastly of the London club scene.

For the Creatives: The Hospital Club

Perfect day for a bite al fresco! ☀️

Une publication partagée par The Hospital Club (@thehospitalclub) le

I have to confess some bias here seeing as I’m a member myself, but I stand by its place here. During London Fashion Week the Hospital club become the headquarters for the fashion council, the studio in the basement hosts some cool gigs and the private cinema shows enough Cannes contenders to make Lady Bird seem mainstream. Oh and the top floor cocktail bar is a triumvirate of magnificence: great views, flawless drinks and some intensely snazzy facial hair.

For the Gym Bunnies: 3 St. James’ Square

Everywhere has a gym pushing toned abs and sportswear into my face, but 3 St. James’ Square takes it to the next level. It lures you in with a rather nice little bar up top before subjecting you to a full DNA test and 3D body scan, just to show you how ungainly nine courses a day has made you. Still, the private trainers are far better than most and the golf simulator even improved my below-average swing. It’s still only soft-launched so if you desperately need a gym just off Piccadilly, get in there quick.

For the Elitists: 5 Hertford Street[


If you need to ask membership costs for this most exclusive of exclusive clubs exclusively for exclusive individuals, you’re not going to be allowed to join. Sorry, no riff-raff here – provided you define riff-raff as nearly everyone. Inside it’s as opulent as any ivory tower with two restaurants, three bars and a nightclub, LouLou’s. I’d like to tell you exactly how good the food is but even I’m not quite up to their membership standards. I know right? Not even me.

For the Foodies: Mossiman’s

I’d love to be able to say the hype around Mossiman’s haute cuisine is unjustified but if that were the case I wouldn’t look forward to my annual Christmas dinner there more than my own birthday. Or anyone else’s birthday. Or actual Christmas. French, seasonal and soul-warming epicurean edibles… what’s not to love? Make sure to try for the wood-panelled Davidoff room with a view of the kitchen. Unlike the Montblanc room for two, you can actually turn around in there.

For the Jet-Setters: Soho House

It touts itself as a club for creatives in the same way as the Hospital Club but let’s be honest, by now everyone has a double handful of friends with memberships. One of mine is an accountant. A creative accountant? I don’t think so. Soho House’s biggest benefit though is that there are so many of them. Get a membership and you can chill out as much in New York and Istanbul as in London. If you’re getting around the world like a true international man of mystery, that’s incredibly valuable.

Writer: Sam Kessler