Think you’ve got what it takes to get past the door in London? Here’s the low down.
THE GROUCHO CLUB: This Soho media haunt counts Harvey Weinstein, Courtney Love, Bono and Bill Clinton among its members. The decor is droopy, but a chance to hang with the honchos explains a 12-to-18-month waiting list.
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SOHO HOUSE: Groucho’s rival and a hangout for film types, including Nicole Kidman, Jude Law and Ewan McGregor, it has a waiting list of 1,000 hopefuls — and a satellite club that’s under construction in New York’s Meat Packing district.
HOME HOUSE: The most expensive of the members’ clubs, it costs $2,250 to join and another $2,250 each year. Madonna stayed in one of the 18 suites before moving to London, and members include Elton John, Sean Connery and Lennox Lewis.
CHELSEA ARTS CLUB: Eric Clapton and Damien Hirst kill time in this club just off the King’s Road. Bubble and Squeak, the resident cats, spend most of their time in the exquisite garden. The wait: about two years.
HARRINGTON CLUB: A brand-new spa and walls covered in paintings by its illustrious owner, the Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood, lures banker types, supermodels and Stones offspring including Leah Wood, and Jade and Elizabeth Jagger.
THE WELLINGTON: Jake Panayiotou, the founder and former owner of Brown’s, has transferred the buzz to his new Knightsbridge club. Familiar faces include Kate Moss, Kylie Minogue, Kevin Spacey and Helena Christensen. Leather bean bags create a relaxed vibe.
HARRY’S SOCIAL CLUB: Phoebe Philo, Max Wigram, Stella McCartney and Patrick Cox all let themselves into this Notting Hill spot with their own keys, of which there are 1,000. One hundred hopefuls are waiting for keys of their own.
WOODY’S: Packed with trustafarians and fashion types like Mario Testino, who donated a huge photograph of men in their skivvies. An antelope’s head peers down over the velvet and leather decor.
GEORGE: The latest addition to Mark Birley’s empire is adorned with David Hockney etchings. Committee members Tim Jefferies and Elle Macpherson review many of the applications. Fans include Michael Caine, Joan Collins and Ivana Trump.
ANNABEL’S: Birley’s first club, opened in 1963 — and named after his ex-wife Lady Annabel — prides itself on its service and discretion. The 200 original members pay the same fee forever — 5 guineas a year, or about $8.
LONDON — Notting Hill has a new movie theater, but there isn’t a Twizzler or tub of popcorn in sight. At the Electric Cinema, on Portobello Road, moviegoers snack on risotto, rocket salad and ratatouille. And better still, they can sip wine — or a vodka tonic, for that matter — while they watch.
The film house, which opened in April, is the brainchild of Nick Jones, owner of the hip members’ club Soho House. A big movie fan, Jones has transformed the theater, which first opened in 1910, into a cinematic pleasure dome. Old theater seats have been replaced by red leather armchairs, each with its own walnut table, wine cooler and footstool.
“It’s about having a night out rather than just going to the theater,” says Carrie Snitcher, one of the Electric’s managers. The menu, which changes every day, is often designed to suit the feature, and for those looking to canoodle, as they say, during the film, there are long leather lounges at the back. But the Electric Cinema also offers food for the mind: Films are often accompanied by lectures with titles like “The Truth about Prostitution” and “Film Therapy: Sexual Obsession and Deviancy.”
While the theater and an adjoining brasserie are open to the public, upstairs, in the new club, Electric House, members can sip an Electropolitan (a mix of black currant vodka, granny smith puree and calvados), dine on solid British cuisine or relax on the terrace and soak up the London sun. That is, if and when it comes out.
And Jones’ cinematic compound seems to be a hit. On weekends, young parents plant their kids in the theater to watch “A Bug’s Life,” while they wander upstairs for the first Bloody Mary of the day. “It’s very family-oriented, says Snitcher. “It’s a home away from home.””