Annabel’s, Mayfair, London

Annabel's

Apparently around 2008 there was a bit of a world financial crisis [apparently also known as the Global Financial Crisis]. Banks failed, people lost money and confidence in the ability of companies and institutions to function was severely dented. Considered by many to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Our chancellor at the time, Gordon brown, was instrumental in helping to stave off meltdown in the country – this should have been his legacy, instead of which when the Conservatives came to power in 2010 some less-than helpful former labour minister left a note saying “there’s no money left”. So Gordon’s perhaps unwarranted legacy is of financial profligacy, rather than prudence. Rather than be caused by our over-spending, the sub-prime mortgage fiasco in the United States was the trigger, it’s just that we were a little [a little?? – ed] over-exposed in our national borrowing.

No matter, we collectively survived – though some in a better shape than others. It was long held that the financial infrastructure of the city of London survived, if not intact, then a bit bruised but essentially healthy and, ultimately, that’s a good thing for everyone. Nowhere is that survival more evident than in Mayfair so that, despite all, you see the world maintaining the essential partying tradition. In the week running up to Christmas the place is packed [as it probably is every night of the year].

The small, discreet entrance to Annabel’s is on Berkeley Square, appropriately diagonally opposite the Rolls Royce and Bentley dealer, that leads down to a sumptuous cavern decorated at Christmas with greenery and hundreds – thousands – of hanging red globes. A very magical grotto, the colours reflected around the room and set off by golden coloured fittings. A traditional Christmas meal, excellent wines and music. It all starts off quietly and then, when the dance floor is alive, rises to an ear-deafening crescendo. We survived longer than we thought, but us oldies can’t stand the pace of being there until 6am…

Annabel’s is described as the poshest of London clubs and is owned by Mark Birley…

It was founded by entrepreneur Mark Birley and named after Lady Annabel Vane-Tempest-Stewart, then his wife. Annabel’s was founded in 1963, after Birley’s friend John Aspinall decided that they needed somewhere to party after an evening’s gambling.

A member’s only club [they are allowed guests], they have some very strict rules about dress and behaviour:

  • Respect the Club as if it were your home
  • Treat it as a place for relaxation, rather than business
  • Gentlemen, wear your jackets at all times (though you may remove your tie)
  • Leave mobile devices, laptops or cameras in the care of the cloakroom attendant
  • Ensure your guests (and your pet dog, if it accompanies you) behave appropriately – they remain your responsibility
  • Smoking is permitted only on the Terrace and drinking is not allowed on the dance floor

Nightclub and restaurant Annabel’s, Mayfair

Berkeley Square

The entrance

Entrance to the restaurant…

The very discreet entrance. down a few steps...

The very discreet entrance. down a few steps…

The evolving dress code...

The evolving dress code…

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