Re-launched back in 2011, nearly two years later it remains a successful destination.
Originally founded in 1863 by such individuals as Charles Dickens and Auguste Rodin, it celebrates the arts but with a vodka dance and gourmet dinner twist. It’s not the same venue that Sir Winston Churchill used to visit. Nor do I imagine the members prior to the re-launch in 2011 conceived that it would be the still classy but glittery place it is today (after all, they approved the sale of the building then were all booted – paid in full of course). With investors such as Gwyneth Paltrow (also the creative director who helped to design with people such as Stella McCartney), Gary Landesberg (not sure if he did the booting?) and Arjun Waney (probably best known for the Zuma brand – over priced Asian fusion establishments setting the new trend as “in” for those who need such reassurance) The Arts Club represents a renaissance of the private members click (or trick) in London.
More than just afternoon tea, dinner and vodka sodas, the club does actually feature artists such as Phil Wagner and Jean-Luc Moulène (currently on display this Spring). But the real inspiration isn’t so much the color of the walls or the carefully selected decor, more so it is the new members. With the majority of London comprised of pubs and gastropubs (which originated in England) the more sophisticated and culturally diverse membership venues tend to attract global clientele or transplanted Londoners as well as locals.
But in reality, the branding and somewhat “celebritizing” (new word?) of the venue helps make it an oh so très chic place to spend those hard earned pounds. Members and guests of members can check out some art, have a tea in one of the lounges, meet for an early evening cocktail at the bar, stay for dinner then top it all off by going to the club -a real one stop shop.
Membership is approved by a board and the fees vary (as with most members clubs the trend of offering a discounted membership fee for those individuals under 30 years of age encourages a youthful attendance). Once checked in past the lovely desk staff and pit bull style security chiefs, you can enjoy your entire evening trotting up and down the stairs or squeezing in the elevator.
If you are living in London or travel there often, The Arts Club could be a place for you to handle all of your socializing. The range could be from business meetings in the day impressing your counter party to impressing a significant other (or potential significant other) late night over casual sexy drinks. Once approved, paid and in, the choice is yours.
If you are wondering around Mayfair and happen to stumble on to Dover Street, you may want to drop in and pick up an application or make friends with a member.