As the legendary Annabel’s in London has reopened its doors on the relocated Club in Berkeley Square, is meeting in the flesh still the most enjoyable way to meet?
I think so. It’s just great to shed the overcoat of our digital personas for an evening and leave off searching for people on the internet.
I’m looking forward to seeing the opulent revamp promised by new owner and restauranteur tycoon Richard Caring. I love London’s private members’ clubs, and have spent a decade going through the doors, admiring and loving the ambiences created by designers and talented individuals such as Brian Clivaz – of Home House, The Arts Club and now the Devonshire Club.
If you’re like me, on joining a Club, you want to know who the other Members are. Private Members’ Clubs are not restaurants; we don’t join to gawp, gossip indiscreetly and snap photos. We understand that there’s a code of conduct amongst fellow members which favours discretion. By ‘know’ I mean in the sense of knowing something about people which is not gleaned from hearsay and the media, but which can only come from meeting someone in the flesh, getting the feel of them. Life’s richer, fuller and more interesting that way.
If I’m joining a private members’ club, I want to know who all the other members are so I can see if I’d like to spend time with them. The best time to do this is when a Club first opens, when everyone is keen to belong, like the first day at school. A Club which serves the interests of its members, i.e. delivers on the desire to belong will make sure this happens as soon as the doors open.
This is where the initial launch party is so important. It’s the first step in creating that all important sense of belonging. But it’s no good just sending out an invitation and giving people a glass of bubbles, expecting people to circulate. They might have done this in a previous era in the upper echelons of society when most people were already connected in some way through family ties and knew the appropriate way to behave, but nowadays our social functions don’t work like that. Club owners shouldn’t be laissez-faire about this. I’ve seen Clubs spend millions on development and then forget that a Club is not just about the state-of-the-art interior design, the high tech facilities and the great location in the heart of London. It’s about the Members feeling at ease with the other Members, knowing who they are and who they’d like to spend time with. It’s about food for the soul. In order to start the process of getting to know the other Members, they do actually have to meet! And someone needs to introduce them. It’s as simple as that.
Rachel Fay is the UK’s First on-the-spot Introducer at Receptions, Private Parties and Club Openings. You can contact Rachel on 020 8743 1249 firstname.lastname@example.org
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