In Travel

London’s Most Famous Nightclub Just Got A $92 Million Refurb And New Celebrity Committee

Annabel's, the Mayfair members-only club frequented by The Queen and celebrity royalty, has spent almost $100M on refurbishments and appointed a celebrity Cultural Committee including Mario Testino.

Annabel’s Club, one of the best known member-only haunts in the world, is moving. It’s only two doors down, sure, but the move to a four storey Georgian townhouse at 46 Berkeley Square in Mayfair signals a new era for the celebrity hotspot.

Founded in 1963 by Mark Birley, the club’s five decades long history has included visits from nearly all major celebrities of note. Frank Sinatra was a founding member, while Ella Fitzgerald, The Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga and Jack Nicholson have all been counted as regulars.

Annabel's club members-only mayfair london queen

An artist’s impression of the exterior of Annabel’s at 46 Berkeley Square. Photo: Watercolour drawing by Stewart Walton

The royals are fans, too: The Queen famously swing by in 2003 for a friend’s birthday, and Lady Di visited as part of the hen’s party for Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York. 

Now, the Mayfair members-only club has spent more than $92 million refurbishing the terrace’s 2400 square metres. Restaurants, bars, and private dining rooms are spread across the four storeys, with a cigar salon, of course, and a “health and wellbeing” space across from the restaurant’s garden. The club’s iconic nightclub will be housed in the basement, and pay homage to the former premise at 44 Berkeley Square.

Annabel's club members-only mayfair london queen

The Queen made her debut at Annabel’s in 2003, and ordered a gin martini. Photo: Annabel’s

A Cultural Committee has been appointed to oversee the refurbishment and move. Mario Testino, one of the world’s hottest photographers, will be creative counsel, working with the club contemporary art director Hikari Yokoyama to set the tone.

And who better than to design the powder rooms than make-up mogul Charlotte Tilbury? In her official capacity as beauty directory, Tilbury (who famously said her husband has never seen her sans make-up) will design beauty looks for staff members and “advise on a plethora of beauty-related matters”.

Annabel's club members-only mayfair london queen Annabel's

An artist’s impression of the new Annabel’s. Photo: Supplied

The new Annabel’s notoriously strict dress code has had its tie loosened by style director Derek Blasberg, lifting the ban on jeans and trainers. Sneakers are permitted before 7pm,and “should not look like they’ve actually been used to play sports”, as Blasberg told Vogue magazine.

He also offered this definitive list of what should be avoided.

“When couples dress to match. When girlfriends dress to match. Shoes that women can’t walk in. Hats at night. Sunglasses at night, even if they’re prescription,” he said.

“Dirty fingernails. Cargo pockets. Stinky hair. Spikey hair. Bad highlights. Denim that is holey or deemed distressed. Men in shorts. Women in shorts. Decorative tiaras on people whom are not royalty and not attending a royal function. Exposed bra straps. Visible panty lines. ‘Sports bras.’ People who fall over because they’ve partied to excess, though people who fall over by accident is funny. Cheap, ill-fitting suits.”

Annabel's club members-only mayfair london queen Annabel's

An artist’s impression of the new Annabel’s. Photo: Supplied

To join the celebrity-heavy members list, wannabes entrants must be proposed and seconded by current members, and then will be subject to election by committee. Members may bring guests to the bar and access the restaurants, with a caviar, truffle and lobster heavy menus, and impressive wine list (order a jeroboam of Dom Pérignon 2005 for a tidy $7000).

Even once approved, members must abide by strict rules. Mobile phones and cameras are to be checked in the cloakroom social media is banned and jackets must stay on, but for when on the dance floor. An annual membership, with joining fee, is roughly $6750. 

Published 04 October, 2017