LONDON'S TOP CLUB IN THE SKY
Many Savile Row customers are members of old gentlemen's clubs in the Pall Mall and St James's area, grand establishments such as the East India Club, the Reform, White's and the Carlton.
But looking down on them all is a splendid new addition to the London firmament, in a dizzying position at the top of the iconic Gherkin building in the City.
This is Searcys, which celebrated its opening this summer with one wing ding of a party. Even the most jaded of club-goers had to be impressed at the vista and helped by a suitably lavish supply of champagne, fancy food and quirky entertainment, there were undoubtedly a few who were beguiled enough to instantly sign up as members.
Searcys has long provided a luxury venue in Knightsbridge, a Georgian town house used for weddings, private functions and corporate events, and which also offers beautifully appointed roof-garden bedrooms – something of a ‘secret’ bed and breakfast place to stay.
The company, which is part of the Alternative Hotel Group, also encompasses a bevy of exclusive joints across the capital and beyond, including the St Pancras champagne bar, the Hurlingham Club, Inner Temple and the Pump Room at Bath.
Now, it has opened this club-in-the-sky, certain to attract a strong City clientele, and providing an eye-popping restaurant and bar venue for their clients and visitors.
Its atmosphere is a far cry from the hallowed and muffled world of the traditonal clubs. Quite apart from the panoramic views of London given from this eyrie, it aims to cater for a more youthful and less conservative membership, young women as much as young men, and is designed to suit stylish City slickers.
Gold suited entertainers vied with the view; restaurant tables look out on the Thames, and, below, down on the City.
In addition to the restaurant and champagne bar on the 39th and 40th floors of the building, there are two private dining rooms and an all-day bar menu, and a special stock of fine whiskies. And the concierge can arrange the usual reservations, flowers and rather more unexpected services.
"I've been asked to organise having a client’s name written in smoke in the sky outside the Gherkin," said Nicole Gilmore, whose the one who handles all sorts of requests from club members. Not something that old-style clubs might aspire to maybe, but in the rarefield world of City dealings, such idiosyncratic gestures may give an edge.
Membership if £750 per annum, with a joining fee of £250, and is to be restricted to 1000. Corporate membership is also available. For details go to www.searcysclubthegherkin.com
PARTY LAUNCH FOR TOP CAR
Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Masaratis were the stars of another celebration at another London club. This is écurie25, a supercar club, that partied at its Kings Cross centre to mark the arrival of the latest addition to its fleet, the Ferrari 458 Italia, pictured here.
The club is for car afficionados who don't wish to be confined to one luxury motor. There's a joining fee of £1,750, and an annual membership starting from £11,000 for standard level, with all members given an eight hour high-performance driving course.
Then they may choose from the écurie selection - and what a selection. These are the world's top marques, including the Bentley GT Mulliner, the Aston Martin DBS, the Maserati Gran Turismo S, the Jaguar SKR Cabriolet - and now the Ferrari 458 Italia. They have the London centre, plus others in Leeds and Belfast, a new one in Esher, Surrey, and additional clubs are due to open in Australia and Dubai. Check out their site for further information and details of all the cars on offer - www.ecurie25.co.uk