The British are coming! The elite London clubs heading stateside

By Phil Clarke, Editor of The Handbook website Phil Clarke |
4th February 2018

Who better to school America in exclusivity than the British? The private members’ club is that most British of inventions, luxurious homes-from-home for society’s elite, oases of discrete privacy behind doors normal folk cannot pass. The Americans have all this to look forward to as some of London’s top clubs are set to open US branches over the next couple of years.

Here’s a list of some of the British clubs heading stateside…

The Groucho Club

The Groucho Club

Heading to... Manhattan, New York

One of London’s most exclusive clubs, only open to media, art and music industry insiders and incredibly picky at that. The members’ book is a veritable Who’s Who of pop culture, from Stephen Fry to Tracy Emin with Noels Fielding and Gallagher jostling for place with the youthful likes of Nick Grimshaw and and Lily Allen. Bill Clinton and Bono jammed on the piano there and Wayne Sleep dined with Princess Di. The club’s art is reportedly worth three times more than the sprawling Soho townhouse that houses them and the walls are teaming with Tracy Emin and Damien Hirst originals. Sir Peter Blake even designed the coveted Groucho Club membership card.

And it’s a card that will soon open doors on the other side of the Atlantic too. The club has bought a lower Manhattan site on Lafayette Street, in the NoHo district popular with creative types. Slated to open in Spring 2019 this is certainly one to watch.

Opens Spring 2019

Where: The Groucho Club, 45 Dean Street, Soho, W1D 4QB
Nearest station: Leicester Square (0.3 miles)
Website: www.thegrouchoclub.com

Soho House

Soho House

Heading to... Brooklyn, New York

The Groucho may be named for Groucho Marx’s famous ‘I would never join a club that would have me as a member’ quote, but Soho House was allegedly formed as a home for Groucho rejects. And then became a lot better.

Starting as a plucky startup opposite the Groucho on Dean Street, Soho House is now a sprawling beamoth of a club, with 18 locations and growing. The waiting list in LA is reported to be 20,000 and politicians and bankers are automatically black-balled. Which gets our vote.

David Beckham has been seen at Soho Farmhouse and Meghan Markle is apparently a member, which will be handy when she’s back in the US. And the group will be adding to their New York portfolio, which already includes Lower East Side and Meatpacking District outposts, with a new home in Brooklyn. The new Soho House will occupy the top two floors of Empire Stores, the Victorian former warehouse complex on the Dumbo waterfront.

Opens Spring 2018

Where: 40 Greek Street, London, W1D 4EB, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Leicester Square (0.3 miles)
Website: www.sohohouse.com

The Arts Club

The Arts Club

Heading to... Los Angeles

Founded by the likes of Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope, The Arts Club has none of the hedonistic wild-child of the Groucho, or the new money overtures of Soho House, this is a smart club for the smart set. What’s all the more impressive is how quickly things have turned around, from being a dowdy club with a dwindling membership less than a decade ago before an extensive revamp led it to rise, phoenix like, from the ashes.

Now it’s packed with A-listers, aristos and royalty and sometimes even the odd artist. And The Arts Club is going to be making the jump to Los Angeles in 2020 and it looks like it’s going to be pretty impressive. The club will stay true its artistic roots, aimed squarely at the Hollywood elite and the 132,000 square foot Sunset Strip club will include a rooftop pool, restaurants, screening rooms and a gym.

Opens in 2020

Where: 40 Dover St, Mayfair, W1S 4NP
Website: www.theartsclub.co.uk

The Hospital Club

The Hospital Club

Heading to... Los Angeles

Still in Los Angeles, this year will also see the opening of The Hospital Club’s first overseas venture. The Covent Garden club was founded in 2004 by the unlikely combo of Microsoft founder Paul Allen and former Eurythmics front-man David Stewart. The club is designed as a hang-out for TV and creative types and has seen huge success.

Named after the disused hospital it took over (a maternity hospital dating to 1749) The Hospital Club boasts a TV Studio as well as restaurants and screening rooms ad it’s hoped that the new club will be a hit with TV execs and actors in LA too. Occupying the site of The Redbury and re-styled as H.Club LA, the huge space will include a rooftop restaurant and pool. It’s only fitting that home of nip-and-tucks should be getting The Hospital. If only they’d consider the NHS too…

Opens Spring 2018

Where: 24 Endell Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9HQ, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Covent Garden (0.2 miles)
Website: www.thehospitalclub.com

5 Hertford Street

5 Hertford Street

Heading to... Manhattan, New York

Celebrities love new and shiny things, which must be why they’re all attracted to Robin Birley’s 5 Hertford Street like magpies to to a Kit Kat wrapper. And it’s some Kit Kat wrapper. Birley, son of Annabel’s founder Mark Birley, knocked together five Mayfair townhouses to build a rabbits warren of pleasure, with three bars, cigar room, library, restaurants, the lot. What’s more it’s seriously a-list with members including George Clooney, Mick Jagger and Leonardo DiCaprio. That’s the level we’re working at. When one direction tried to get into LouLous, the legendary on-site nightclub, flaunting the dresscode (jacket, collared shirt and no ripped jeans) the doorman famously answered their flunky’s ‘don’t you know who they are?’ with ‘They’re only going in one direction, and that’s away from here!’.

And one direction that 5 Hertford Street’s headed is New York City. For the city that never sleeps, there will be bedrooms (London doesn’t have any), plus the Union Square venue will cart all the glamour and allure of London to the other side of the Atlantic, except, we’re assuming, the name. Expect big things come 2020.

Opens in 2020

Where: 2-5 Hertford Street, Mayfair, W1J 7RB
Website: www.5hertfordstreet.co.uk

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