London’s private members’ clubs are world famous, for their sheer number, their popularity and their exclusivity. Nowhere does private members’ clubs like Britain, where the class system left off, clubs stepped in. And if there’s one thing more frustrating than bastions of elitism, and that’s not being a part of it.
But navigating the myriad of London clubs is opaque and tricky, so we’ve put all the best ones in one place. All you need to do now is get buttering up your proposer and seconder.
Annabel’s is legendary on the London club scene. It may not be the oldest, the grandest or the most exclusive, but it’s one of the best known and loved clubs in London. And Annabel’s really is at the very top of its game at the moment. The club reopened last year after a whopping £65m spending splurge that saw them leave their traditional basement home a few doors down and instead occupy a substantial Berkeley Square townhouse in its entirety.
And the results are quite impressive. Martin Brudnizki, the ubiquitous interior designer, has created a playground perfect for the rich and famous. With multiple restaurants, bars and its infamous night club, Annabel’s has re-entered a busy members’ club market with an impressive offering.
Great for: People watching and dining in style
Who goes here: The power-set, the ultra-glam and super-rich social ascendees
Key membership benefits: Access to a world beating club, one of London’s most famous and splendid
Ease of entry: Members need to be proposed, subject to committee approval when the list is open, that is
Membership cost: Rumoured to be £3,250
If rollerdecks were still a thing then 5 Hertford Street would have the most impressive in the world. As it is, they’ll have to make do with probably the most impressive private members’ club in the world instead, filled with A-listers, the great and good.
Famously formed as a giant snub in the ongoing feud between founder Robin Birley and Annabel’s owner Richard Caring, the club is a labyrinthine sprawl of luxury. Number five has a genuine lived-in feel to it, scattered with armchairs and deep, plush, carpets, the Mayfair townhouse club is tardis-like, with multiple restaurants and bars, a cigar room, cinema, and the jewel in its crown, nightclub Loulou’s.
Since opening in 2012, the club’s already achieved legendary status, and is a firm favourite of blue-bloods and A-listers alike. Despite this, 5 Hertford Street remains a club where your grandparents will feel as comfortable spending their Sunday as you did spending the early hours of Saturday morning. The open fires, soft lighting and armchairs made to sink into make it a dream spot for lazing off your hangover, treating a date, or impressing your parents with your excellent lifestyle choices.
Great for: Loulous and celebrity spotting
Who goes here: A-listers and aristos (Harry Styles was famously turned away)
Key membership benefits: Access to London’s most exclusive
Ease of entry: Difficult. Must be proposed and seconded by members and face a discerning membership committee
Membership cost: Famously secretive, but reportedly £1,800 a year
Somehow tucked discreetly away behind Shaftesbury Avenue, one hundred steps take you up to the aptly named Century Club, spread across four floors of members’ areas. With its vogueish decor, airy spaces big enough to make you feel miles from the scrum of Soho, The Century Club is a real sanctuary. Playing host to talks and live music they even have their own grooming room so you can mix and mingle while looking your best. The Century Club’s best kept secret is without doubt their rooftop terrace – the largest in Soho, where you can gaze across the lights of the West End, a G&T sundowner in hand.
Great for: Soho’s largest rooftop terrace
Who goes here: Anyone looking for a different take on the Soho club
Key membership benefits: The rooftop terrace is great for summer
Ease of entry: Apply online
Membership cost: £250 joining fee and £750 per year membership
If you haven’t got a copy of OK Magazine to hand then don’t worry, simply head to The Groucho Club and see anyone who’s anyone in the flesh instead. The sometimes discrete, sometimes outrageous Soho club is a mecca for London’s media types, with no visit complete without meeting at least a handful of your heroes from stage and screen and at least one popstar to boot. Launched in the ’80s, the club takes its name from Groucho Marx, who famously exclaimed that he wouldn’t be a member of any club that would accept him as a member.
Great for: Celebrity spotting and enjoying art
Who goes here: The great and the good of the stage, screen and charts, plus scurrilous journalists. 90s names like Alex James, Kate Moss, Damien Hirst and Peter Blake hang out with the likes of Nick Grimshaw, Harry Styles and co
Key membership benefits: Two fantastic restaurants and one of London’s most exclusive hangouts, plus the club aims to counter male culture by maintaining a majority women membership
Ease of entry: Tricky, members must’ve achieved something ‘signifiant’ in the arts, be proposed and seconded by members and considered by a discerning membership committee
Membership cost:£950 annual subscription plus £250 joining fee
The Ned is something totally different. Unfairly likened to a posh motorway services by one wag, The Ned is one-stop shop for London fine dining, this vast club houses dwarfs everyone else, you could probably fit at least half the clubs on this list into its 8 floors of prime space. It has ten individual restaurants. Ten! Not all eateries are members’ only, letting you try before-you-buy, but the club also boasts two pools (one subterranean, the other rooftop) for members, plus a floor of dining, meeting and relaxing space; an invaluable resource in the heart of London’s financial centre. Part of the Soho House empire, membership doesn’t automatically give you access elsewhere, as The Ned stands apart from the rest of the Soho House structure.
Great for: Sealing a massive city deal, celebrating a bonus, that kind of thing
Who goes here: Well heeled bankers and city folk
Key membership benefits: Private areas for members (including a rooftop pool!)
Ease of entry: Members must be proposed and considered by the committee (tip: take special note of the ‘You and the Ned’ section)
Membership cost: £4,380 per year and a £1,000 joining fee
Where are we going? Quo Vadis… The restaurant and club, housed in a former brothel that was once the home of Karl Marx (presumably not at the same time), combines a triumphant Soho restaurant with a private members’ club. The restaurant, small and nearly perfect, is available to muggles, but members upstairs can enjoy the Dean Street club’s private dining room, as well as the homely ‘snug’ room and two bars, making it an ideal respite from the carnage of a Soho evening. Quo Vadis underwent substantial refurbishment in 2016 and the new interior is a gorgeously lit masterpiece of lush carpets and moodily painted walls, giving an old-school luxury feel.
Great for: Dining (the smoked eel sandwich is famous)
Who goes here: Restauranteurs, arts and culture types and creatives
Key membership benefits: Members’ events and private dining
Ease of entry: New members must be proposed and seconded by existing members and considered by the membership committee
Membership cost: £150 joining fee and £550 a year
Britain doesn’t really do ‘country clubs’, probably because if we did they’d all be eclipsed by the Hurlingham Club. The Fulham club is where well-to-do Londoners go to hang out. Forget the racy Soho clubs, leave the fusty St James’s clubs to grandpa, grab your tennis whites, we’re going to The Hurlingham. The imposing house and manicured gardens are only as impressive as their waiting list. It’s currently closed to newcomers, having reached 30 years long. The only way in is to be born to a member (a tricky option for you at this stage) or to marry one. Genuinely, it really is worth it.
Great for: Sporty types and families
Who goes here: Anyone who is anyone in South West London
Key membership benefits: The sports facilities are fantastic
Ease of entry: The waiting list is decades, better off marrying into it
Membership cost: £1,200 annual membership, plus a fee to be on the waiting list (if it opens again)
Where: The Hurlingham Club, Ranelagh Gardens, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Putney Bridge (0.4 miles)
Ten years after its launch as London’s edgiest new club, Shoreditch House has retained its cool credentials but gained a little maturity, and a lot of members. Housed in (where else?) a converted East London warehouse, Shoreditch House offers members use of a bowling alley, Cowshed Spa and an impressive gym. But where Shoreditch House reaches dizzying heights are the is the top-floor restaurant and the rooftop pool with iconic views across London. The recently added ‘Shoreditch Rooms’ means you can now live amongst the hipsters with an overnight stay at one of the sister clubs; members have the option to make the most of facilities of Soho Houses in Istanbul, Toronto, New York, Berlin and Barcelona.
Great for: The party vibe and, of course, the rooftop pool
Who goes here: The cool, East London crowd (basically, millennials)
Key membership benefits: It’s got to be the pool! Also, good co-working space
Ease of entry: Two proposers required, more popular clubs are trickier to get entry to
Membership cost: £450 registration fee and £1,130 per year (£1,700 if you want access to other Soho House clubs)
Chelsea Arts Club is undeniably an institution of the members’ club scene, just one that’s a bit tricky to pigeon hole. Established in 1891, the club boasts over a century of artistic credentials and somehow it’s bohemian as ever. Its creative crowd of members include painters, sculptors, filmmakers, poets and actors – making it the rebellious younger sister to the stuffy St James’ Clubs. Indeed, the club was banned from holding it’s annual ball in the Albert Hall in the 1950s due to its notorious reputation for ‘rowdiness, nudity and public homosexuality’. Still legendary for its parties, the Chelsea Arts Club also hosts a more reputable series of exclusive exhibitions, talks, screenings and performances from its artistic members.
Great for: Smart-set Artists
Who goes here: Practising artists, or at least those with connections to the visual arts
Key membership benefits: Annual calendar of exhibitions, talks and events
Ease of entry: A proposer and seconder must put you forward (they need to have known you for more than two years). Membership has to be open (it’s currently closed)
Membership cost: £250 joining fee and £598 per year
The perfect home for the oenophiles out there, 67 Pall Mall revels in its shamelessly epicurean origins and smart location, squeezed between St James’s Palace and the Oxford and Cambridge Club. The passion is, of course, fine wine, which is the lifeblood of 67 Pall Mall. But far from extravagance, the premise of the club was in fact thrift – a backlash against the extortionate wine-markup charged by London’s restaurants and bars. Members can store up to 36 bottles of their own wine in the club, to be enjoyed at will, or can dip into the 5,000 bottles on the club list – the most valuable being safely stowed deep in the club’s vault. So popular is the club that it was forced to close its membership list before even opening its doors!
Great for: Oenophiles
Who goes here: People who actually know about and care about fine wine
Key membership benefits: The cellar, they’ve got over 5,000 bottles on the club list
Ease of entry: Two proposers required, more popular clubs are trickier to get entry to
Membership cost: £1,500 joining fee and £1,500 per year
A clash of 18th century grandeur and modernity, The House of St Barnabas goes out of its way to redefine the members’ club image, not least by combining the pleasures of clubbing (in every sense (except seal)) with a commitment to social responsibility. A fully not-for-profit organisation, the club gives back to the community with programmes like the Employment Academy offering work experience to the homeless, and the donation of half of its events tickets to those who wouldn’t be able to afford it themselves. But with a myriad of spaces as well as features such as a chapel, lounge and The Library Bar, members get as much as they give – the al fresco dining in the courtyard feels like a secret escape despite being in the middle of Soho.
Great for: Atmosphere and rare outdoor space in Soho
Who goes here: Clubbable types with a social conscience
Key membership benefits: Great parties
Ease of entry: Ideally two proposers, but coffee with the membership team will do instead
Membership cost: £700 per year and a £100 donation plus £250 joining fee
Where: 1 Greek Street, Soho Square, Soho, London, W1D 4NQ, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road (0.2 miles)
Once home to Charles Fortnum (off of Fortnum and Mason), this Soho townhouse now plays host to Black’s Club, an institution that’s enjoyed something of a recent revival. Despite spurious claims to having been formed in 1764 (when Samuel Johnson, David Garrick and Joshua Reynolds formed a supper club) history wasn’t really made until 1992 when Black’s launched with a reputation as an enjoyably ‘louche’ bohemian drinking den.
Today, perhaps with the wisdom of age, it has a more wholesome reputation and with the building restored to its original Georgian glory the club celebrates its supper club roots. Unassuming, it’s easily mistaken for someone’s actual house from outside, but inside is cosy and welcoming with a genuine home-from-home feel. All this is made all the more comfortable by one of the club’s key perks: it’s dog-friendly! So your four-legged friend can laze in front of the open fire while you enjoy all the spoils of the dinner menu.
Great for: Dog lovers! And anyone looking for a truly traditional Georgian feel
Who goes here: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rhys Ifans and John Culshaw are apparently all members
Key membership benefits: Entry to London’s cosiest club
Ease of entry: Members must be ‘extraordinarily interesting and interested’ to be considered
Membership cost: £250 joining fee and £525 per year
Remember how the old Annabel’s felt? Before it got Martin Brudnizki’d? This is what Tramp still feels like now. And if Tramp’s star-studded history of members and guests is anything to go by, maybe this is where the Annabels set relocated when it closed down. With a-listers including Joan Collins and Liza Minnelli having hosted their wedding receptions at Tramp it’s remained popular with the stars to this day, with the likes of Drake, Rihanna and the Beckhams seen coming and going. The Zodiac Room Restaurant at Tramp offers not only a great menu but an accompaniment of live music and cabaret, ensuring the entertainment is night-long. This the sure option for celebrity spotting and a big night out.
Great for: The location and the nightclubbiness
Who goes here: Celebs and celebrity spotters
Key membership benefits: The disco is awesome
Ease of entry: Proposers and seconders are encouraged
Membership cost: £1,000 per year, no joining fee
Morton’s location is as impressive as its members list. Set in a grade II listed building dominating the North side of Mayfair’s Berkeley Square, the club has a distinctly relaxed atmosphere despite the imposing setting. With a bar, basement nightclub and private dining room the first floor restaurant has gorgeous high ceilings and art adorned walls which, along with the view across Berkeley Square, makes it one of the best places to eat in London. Outside a balcony for al fresco dining during the summer months. Though, if you don’t fancy venturing outside, the 2&8 club means you can extend your evening into the early hours, dancing the night away in a cool art deco space decorated with the work of photographer Norman Parkinson.
Great for: The restaurant is excellent, coupled with the club there’s a lot to recommend
Who goes here: Well heeled Mayfair types
Key membership benefits: The view from dinner across Berkeley Square is excellent
Ease of entry: Members should be proposed
Membership cost: £300 administration fee, £1,000 per year fees
Where: 28 Berkeley Square, London, W1J 6EN, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Bond Street (0.5 miles)
A hotspot for creatives and media-types alike, The Hospital Club in Covent Garden offers a great location for both leisure and the occasional networking opportunity. Spread across seven chic storeys of modern decor, the club features a cinema and screening room, restaurant, private dining room and multiple cocktail bars, much to our delight.
Perfect for the creatives it aims to attract the club has its own TV and recording studios, an art gallery and a performance space. The Hospital has recently announced that their sister club in Los Angeles. Meantime, enjoy their decadent ‘bottomless brunch’, with resident DJs every Saturday.
Great for: Cinema buffs, the screening room is great
Who goes here: Creative types, ideally those who aren’t famous enough for Groucho but are too cool for Soho House
Key membership benefits:
Ease of entry: No proposer/seconder faff
Membership cost: £350 joining fee and a £880 per year membership (10% discount for some locals)
Part of the ever-expanding Ivy empire, The Ivy Club is a newcomer but one worthy to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the very best of London’s nightspots. Accessed via a discrete entrance round the corner from the eponymous restaurant, a short lift-ride and you’re in the exclusive confines of the three storey club. The wood panelled drawing room features a pianist and bar while upstairs the minimalist loft feels like a spaceship or laboratory. The club is home to a membership made up of mainly creative types drawn from the media.
Great for: Food and drink, while the disco upstairs is pretty good too
Who goes here: Creative industry types, again, perhaps with a more corporate angle?
Key membership benefits: Entry via a special lift at The Ivy (not a benefit as such, but has a real hidden away feel)
Ease of entry: Members must be proposed and seconded by existing members
Membership cost: £500 joining fee, £1,250 annual membership
The Arts Club has undergone something of a renaissance, travelling from somewhat a fusty and fading institution a decade ago, to one of London’s most exclusive and right-on clubs today. The phoenix that has risen from not-quite the ashes is part hotel and part exclusive club. Below three storeys of Art Deco-inspired rooms and suites, sits a beautiful, airy club that’s a breath of fresh air to the club scene.
The clientele are genteel, the odd minor royal, a smart set interested in the arts and literature, or just fine dining and cigars. Workout in the well Lanserhof gym, dine in the restaurant or head downstairs to Leo’s for a nightclubbing experience you won’t forget.
Great for: Enjoying the art collection
Who goes here: Turbo Sloanes and royals, the sort of people who decided 5 Hertford Street was too mainstream
Key membership benefits: The art and the events are noteworthy, the health club costs (a lot) extra, but it does have its own MRI machine!
Ease of entry: Members must be proposed and seconded by existing members
Membership cost: £2,000 joining fee, £2,000 annual membership
Albert’s, the South Ken club, is a South Ken club no more, because now it’s a Chelsea club, having come to settle in Beaufort House. The move has breathed fresh air into the venture, and the location is perfect for that corner spot that nobody seems able to make work until now (it was an ASK for a while, among other guises). Alberts, spread over four floors, is a great fit, perfect for a Chelsea clientele keen not to make the trip into central London. The revamped look is pretty slick too. Meanwhile, Beaufort House remains open-to-business to non-members.
Great for: The music nights and leading DJs
Who goes here: Mainly youngish, Chelsea types
Key membership benefits: Members receive complimentary entry to Raffles Club
Ease of entry: Members without a proposer can opt to be interviewed by the committee
Membership cost: £250 joining fee, £650 annual fee
Home House is perhaps the perfect townhouse club. Occupying a vast property on Portman Square, Home House is a mix of imposing and homely, stately and welcoming. It’s got 7 different bars (including the Home Bar with its incredible, sculpted, Dame Zaha Hadid design), and three restaurants. Home House set the standard for large scale luxurious and modern townhouse clubbing, yes Annabel’s might be more beautiful, the Arts Club better connected, the House of St Barnabus more frenetic, but Home House was seemingly ahead of the curve, opening in 1998.
Remaining relevant for 20 years is a challenge, most members’ clubs have either been about for ever, or stagger off the scene, because they can’t find enough members or they go off the boil. Home House has lasted the course and is well on the way to becoming an institution.
Great for: The ideal place to work during the day, then party during the night
Who goes here: A smart but discerning set
Key membership benefits: There’s no pool but there is a gym and wellness suite. Beautiful surroundings and interesting members
Ease of entry: No need for proposers etc
Membership cost: £299 joining fee and £1,940 annual membership
Where: 20 Portman Square, London, W1H 6LW, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Marble Arch (0.4 miles)
All male clubs may be the work of the devil, but all female clubs are progressive as hell. Which is good for AllBright because the smart hangout for women just announced the opening of a second club, this time on Mayfair’s Maddox Street. The opening (there’ll be a roof terrace) is still in the works, but until then savour the interiors at AllBright Fitzrovia, which only opened a year ago.
There’s a restaurant and cafe, thanks to Executive Chef and Great British Bake Off star Sabrina Gidda, and, most importantly to the mission of AllBright, plenty of lecture series, the AllBright Academy, an online course and community that arms women with the tools to achieve their goals and build their confidence, not to mention a salon offering members and guests a range of express and luxury treatments.
Great for: Empowered, self-improving women
Who goes here: Business leaders and entrepreneurs
Key membership benefits: The roster of events is impressive
Ease of entry: Well you need to be a woman, for starters
Membership cost: £300 joining fee and £1,150 annual membership
The popular wisdom is that you never want to find yourself in court. Unless it’s THE Court, just off Soho’s Kingly Street, in which case you absolutely want to find yourself there. A twenty-first century take on 1920s glitz and glamour, the club has a speakeasy feel and more than a smattering of elegance; the interior design is fantastic. With live music every evening followed by guest DJ sets, the mood is always upbeat and fun-focused.
While The Court doesn’t have the scale of an Annabel’s or Groucho, it makes up for its diminutive scale (with the exception of the entrance hall and private dining room, all the action takes place in one room) by punching hard when it comes to food, drink and pure style. The menu has been devised by the club’s executive chef, Tom Sellars, head chef at Restaurant Story, while the drinks are courtesy of world’s best mixologist Mr Lyan. Pedigree indeed!
Great for: Food and drink!
Who goes here: Club-goers seeking something a little different
Key membership benefits: Access to a Soho club that’s not particularly run-of-the-mill, plus all the usual reciprocals etc
Ease of entry: Referrals preferred (of course) but get in touch anyway
Membership cost: Annual subs of £600 plus a £250 joining fee
Formally Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood’s socialite-heavy Harringdon Club, The South Kensington Club has gone a very different direction now. For all our emphasis on luxury and maybe a little excess, The South Kensington Club is the destination to rest and restore yourself. That’s not to say, however, that The South Kensington Club doesn’t offer splendour – quite the opposite – but the club’s pleasures are health-oriented, seeking wellness and relaxation.
Home to yoga and boxing classes, Russian saunas, a plunge pool and aquatic therapy, the club is essentially a masterclass in the art of the detox. If the skylit gym has you feeling a little weary, don’t panic – you can put your feet up with a host of their holistic treatments, juice bar and beauty suite. If you’re ready to start the party again, however, there’s no need to look elsewhere; The South Kensington Club also boasts a cocktail bar and terrace, hidden in a jungle of Mediterranean trees – what’s not to love?
Great for: The health conscious
Who goes here: Yummy mummies, upmarket healthy types and South Ken locals
Key membership benefits: Wellness facilities, not least a Turkish hammam
Ease of entry: Minimal vetting, simply apply to the membership committee
Membership cost: £1,000 joining fee and £3,500 per year
Finally! We’re south of the river!! And that’s the only jab in the eye The Ministry has for the establishment. Set in a Southwark former printworks, the club, an offshoot of Ministry of Sound, couldn’t’ be further from the over-the-top likes of some Mayfair clubs, or the too-cool-for-school Soho ones, The Ministry is chill and fun. And it’s a great place to get work done too. The club has its own 40 seat cinema, a great co-working space, a heated terrace, London’s largest copper bar and they’ve even got a tequila and mezcal bar in the actual loos.
Great for: Non-conformists plus anyone who doesn’t live north of the river!
Who goes here: Alternative professionals
Key membership benefits: What about tequila in the loos couldn’t you like?
Ease of entry: Apply online
Membership cost: £150 joining fee and £840 per year
If you’re the sort of person who refuses to watch the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair or Oceans Eleven, then you’re probably after the original Soho House too. To you, all the other Soho Houses are as worthless as the rebooted Jumanji or Italian Job, and good for you. Ground zero in the seemingly exponential explosion of Soho House as it spreads its achingly cool appeal across the globe one rooftop pool after another, Soho House Greek Street really is where it all started. Occupying five historic Georgian townhouses the club has an outdoor courtyard, roof deck, bar, restaurant and many many club rooms. Labyrinthine and always chokka block of people you know, think you’ve met before or want to meet now, it’s always a party and always fun.
Great for: Being at the centre of the party
Who goes here: Young, millennial, professionals
Key membership benefits: Upgrade your membership for another £670 per year and use other clubs in the network (they’re everywhere, including two streets away on Dean Street!)
Ease of entry: Ideally they’d like you to be in the creative industries. Oh, and don’t wear a tie, whatever you do!
Membership cost: £450 joining fee and £1,030 per year
Eight Club is basically the perfect kids’ den, if those kids were in their 30s and bunking off from their corporate city job. Set in what can only be described as a bunker, you descend several flights to even reach this dark cavern of fun. And fun there is, because they’ve got pool tables to prove it. Eight doesn’t give you a smorgasbord of choices, like The Ned, and let you see if any of them work, instead it takes a tried and tested formula and applies if perfectly.
Great for: Just being bloody cool
Who goes here: Cityboys
Key membership benefits: An escape from your mindlessly dull but well paying job. Also, if you’re entrepreneurial you can use them as a business address
Ease of entry: Pretty simple
Membership cost: Annual subs of £1,080 plus there’s a very affordable £75 joining fee. This also gets you in at their Moorgate Club, so double whammy.
Not all clubs are in clubs, it turns out. Women’s club Fiena Members’ Club cuckoos in other people’s clubs, hosting events that inject magic, adventure and soul into life and providing networking opportunities to anyone with double-X chromosomes. The outfit caravans between clubs like South Kensington Club, Century Club and 100 Wardour Street or else gets out of town altogether, heading on ‘adventures’ with likeminded members. Fiena has global aspirations too, with potential upcoming outposts in Dubai, New York, LA and ‘the South of France’.
Great for: Contemporary, edgy women
Who goes here: Billed as a mix of Olympians, DJs and CEOs
Key membership benefits: Access to plenty of women-only networking events and ‘adventures’
Ease of entry: Apply online, it’s a three-step process and needs to be passed by a committee
Membership cost: £750 per year