Ranking as one of the most affluent areas of London and the most expensive districts in the entire world, Mayfair has long attracted the rich, famous, and eccentric to its residences. Drenched in prestige, Mayfair upholds its prestigious position in many ways today and has even been immortalised as the ultimate property to land on the board game of Monopoly.
Being a magnet for the social elite, Mayfair has a rather special atmosphere, one which has been tailored by years of the rich creating their own playgrounds. Predominantly, this led to the founding of many exclusive, invite-only, and even secret clubs dotted around the area. Many of these historic, opulent clubs still exist, charging hefty fees while offering some of the best experiences in the country.
Here, we’re taking a sneak peek past the bouncer without the password at a few of the most prestigious and niche exclusive clubs in Mayfair.
The Flyfisher’s Club
Above all else, the elite enjoys downtime, relaxation, serenity, and like-minded enthusiasts. So, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the UK’s richest fishermen came together to form the gentleman’s club The Flyfisher’s Club. Founded in 1884, it’s self-hailed as one of the country’s most interesting and entertaining fly-fishing fraternities. With incredibly comfy rooms, an membership of enthusiasts, fine wine, and fine dining, members include renowned fishermen of all waters, the famous and the not-so-famous.
Found on Brook Street, The Flyfisher’s Club certainly picked a prime location for fans of a sport that traditionally appeals to the upper class. It’s why online entertainment hubs that deal in high-stakes fun, like Betway, host a great many fishing games. 9 Bass, Fishin’ Bigger Pots of Gold, and Wild Marlin are all there to appeal to the wealthy folk who like to spend their downtime with a rod and reel even when away from the lakes and rivers. Members of the club can also venture down to Regent Street to Orvis to get all of the fly fishing gear anyone could need.
At 69 Brook Street, you’ll find another legend of the Mayfair exclusive clubs scene: Savile Club. “Good fellowship and conviviality” is the motto of the club, with the emphasis of club membership placed on introducing yourself to all others as well as partaking in meals, drinking, and conversations in a companionable spirit. The best room in the house is the Morning Room, reserved as a “members-only sanctum,” where conversation isn’t encouraged to any degree.
Importantly, and very refreshingly, the only place that mobile phones can be used is between the cloakroom and sandpit, in IT spaces, WCs, or rooms hired for business meetings. Furthermore, social media posting is all but banned, with the focus being to protect the convivial ethos and respect for those on the premises. Since its establishment in 1868, the Savile Club has welcomed many of the greatest minds in UK history. These famed members include the great Sir Charles Darwin, Lord Rutherford, Sir John Cockcroft, H.G. Wells, Thomas Hardy, Robert Louis Stevenson, A.A. Milne, Rudyard Kipling, Sir William Walton, and Roger Quilter.
The youngest club on this board, Annabel’s was formed in 1963 through necessity: Mark Birley’s friend, John Aspinall, wanted the club to have a nightclub to party in after an evening of gambling. It wasn’t until 2018 that Annabel’s moved from the basement of the Clermont Club and into the Grade I Listed Georgian mansion at 26 Berkeley Square that it still calls home. Now, it’s open all day and all night to private members of the club, famed for luring in big-name entertainers over the years, like Ray Charles, Tina Turner, and Lady Gaga.
Members are invited to indulge and relax at the Rose Room on the ground floor, restaurant Matteo’s on the second floor, and the stunning Annabel’s Garden, which is open throughout the year. Then, of course, there’s the exquisite nightclub. The Nightclub and Jungle Bar draw in the most famous faces from around the country and those visiting from elsewhere in the world. It’s this Garden of Eden theme that makes Annabel’s so beloved among the elite in Mayfair, and for those walking by, you may be lucky enough to see the venue’s tropical rainforest facade when they pledge to plant trees in the Amazon.
That’s your glimpse into the sumptuous, exclusive, and famous private member clubs of Mayfair. Of course, these three just scratch the surface of what the elite get up to in this most lavish part of the capital.