From the latest Soho House to the notorious Groucho: which members’ club should you join?
June 25, 2015 | By:
Are you keeping the right company? See which private club is the best match for you, whether you're a traditionalist, maverick, lover of luxury, or want to rub shoulders with celebrities
Best members clubs. Groucho Club. The Soho Bar

The Groucho Club’s Soho Bar, where you never know who you might be rubbing shoulders with (or falling over…)

The Camerons celebrated Dave’s election win at Mark’s Club; Damien Hirst blew his Turner Prize winnings at The Groucho and Cara Delevingne gets catwalk-ready at Grace Belgravia. Follow in their well-heeled footsteps and join a private members’ club. (Or at least their waiting list…)

The Groucho Club, London

Age: 30

Profile: The Groucho (above) was opened by a group of publishers who wanted somewhere they and their media-land pals could chill that was as far removed as possible from the oak-panelled, all-male alternatives stuffed with fusty old toffs. It’s now as well-known as the people who’ve sat at – or sometimes slumped over – its bar, among them Bill Clinton, Princess Diana, Noel Gallagher and Damien Hirst, who spent his £20,000 Turner Prize winnings here in one night.

The original bar was so notorious that chunks of it were sold for charity when it was dismantled in January, pre-refurbishment. The Groucho has recently opened temporary satellite clubs in Ibiza, Brazil and Hay-on-Wye, with more pop-ups planned.

Are you a match? They’re looking for people who “preferably work in the arts and media, or who fit our ‘maverick’ ethos”.

Membership: Applicants must be proposed and seconded by current members.

Fees: Registration £250; subscription £850 a year

Best members clubs. Soho Farmhouse

Soho Farmhouse, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

Age: Newborn

Profile: Soho Farmhouse (above), opening soon, is the latest in the ever-expanding Soho House empire. It will have a Cowshed spa, a cookery school, a boating lake and an infinity pool. You’ll be so busy preening and cooking and splashing about that you won’t have time to gawp at the actors and models who will doubtless flock there. The Soho House group now includes restaurants and cinemas, as well as Houses throughout the UK, North America and Europe.

Are you a match? Soho House is proud of its “celebrity-studded” reputation, so if that cap fits then it will feel like a home from home. Or should that be house from house.

Membership: Applicants must be proposed and seconded by current members.

Fees: Registration £200; subscription £1,200 a year

Best members clubs. Home House London. Front Parlour

Home House, London

Age: 17

Profile: Though only a teenager, Home House resides in splendour in three Georgian houses on Portman Square (above). One of these, No 20, is Robert Adam’s finest surviving London town house. However, Home House is as much about the future as the past, and that future – as a masterpiece of 21st-century design – has been assured by Zaha Hadid, whose modernist vision merges perfectly with the historic grandeur.

What else? Sumptuous bedrooms, a social calendar that includes four parties a year, book clubs, Thursdays of the Unexpected (late-night performances from all manner of artists) and a gym where you can burn off the excesses of nights before and after.

Are you a match? If you love luxury and have that certain je ne sais quoi that often comes from having led a charmed life, walk this way. There are only two rules: one, nudity is discouraged; two, naughtiness is de rigueur.

Membership: Applications are reviewed by the membership committee and subject to a waiting list.

Fees: Registration £295; subscription £1,840 a year.

Best members clubs. Grace Belgravia lounge. Press pic

Grace Belgravia, London

Age: 2

Profile: In one word? Heaven. This women-only club is the place to go to unwind, eat, socialise, get fit and, crucially, stay well. Apart from offering all the super-duper amenities of a top private members’ club and gym, it’s also a fully fledged health club in the true sense of the word, with a medical centre and team of doctors, psychologists, nutritionists and complementary therapists to keep your mind, body and soul in peak condition.

The choice of treatments is staggering: acupuncture, reflexology, lymphatic drainage and Remodelage, a patented massage therapy that apparently does shift cellulite. There’s also a hair salon, a fabulous restaurant and a food delivery service.

Are you a match? Yes I am. When can I move in please? “Grace is the thinking woman’s club,” says owner Kate Percival. “Many of our members work in business, the media, philanthropy or the arts.”

Membership: Applicants must be proposed by a current member and there’s a waiting list.

Fees: Registration £500; subscription from £1,375 a year

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St James’s Club, Manchester

Age: 190

Profile: Manchester’s oldest club has been offering “conversation and good company to members involved in business and the professions” for nearly 200 years. As befits its age, St James’s is quite traditional, with strict dress codes and rules: no jeans or T-shirts, and no mobiles or paperwork except in the reading room or hot-desking suite. The penalty for being caught with a ringing mobile is that you have to buy everyone present a glass of port or champagne.

Are you a match? If you’re a traditionalist who works in business, the law, financial services, or medicine, this could be a good fit.

Membership: Applicants must be proposed, seconded and supported by current members.

Fees: On application, and calculated by distance or age. “Rates are calculated by distance from the club as the crow flies with reference to where applicants reside or work, depending on which is closer,” says the website. You won’t get much change out of £850, say I.