Leading memnbers club Annabel’s in London has a bigger and even grander new home. Mark Ludmon reports
After 54 years at the heart of London’s nightlife, one of its most glamorous destinations, Annabel’s, has moved two doors down in Berkeley Square to a bigger, more spectacular home. At an estimated cost of £55 million, the members’ club has been reimagined in its new Grade I-listed Georgian townhouse home with stunning new interiors by hospitality specialist Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS).
Covering 26,000 square feet across four floors, it has seven bars, four restaurants, two private dining rooms, a cigar salon and a garden seating 120 for year-round dining. The nightclub in the basement is designed to pay homage to the original Annabel’s that was opened by Mark Birley in 1963. MBDS has retained period features including a grand cantilevered stone staircase, elaborate plaster ceilings and majestic fireplaces in a rococo style. The new interiors are playfully inspired by the greenery of the garden and the square outside, with each floor telling a story based on gardens through history.
On the ground floor is the main dining area, The Garden Room, featuring a hand-painted mural of an English country garden full of animals as well as two Murano chandeliers of pink tulips. It has a pink bar made from marble and shaped like leaves, backlit for a glowing effect.
On the first floor, the Elephant Room also has its own bar, crafted from timber and brass, with a paisley-patterned roof inspired by traditional Indian canopies. On the next floor is the Mexican Bar, stocked with a large selection of tequila, complemented by Mexican-themed artwork. Timber flooring and a sealed copper-leaf ceiling are offset by leather armchairs in tones of orange and yellow.
The basement, which has its own street-level entrance, is home to the Garden of Eden, with an overarching theme of exotica. Here you will find the Jungle Bar with panels of exotic animals and flora, boldly upholstered furniture, mirror-topped tables and carpets in an elephant and monkey pattern. Elephant heads feature at the back of the glowing onyx bar. The nightclub next door has floor-to-ceiling palm tree lights made from brass and hand-blown glass, providing a canopy to the ceiling of star and leaf lights. Animal-print banquettes and jungle wallpaper continue the theme, including the corner bar with animal-print bar stools in leather and velvet.
Group beverage director Luis Simoes, whose track record includes The Ritz, Chiltern Firehouse and One Aldwych in London, has created a cocktail list to mirror the grandeur of the club, ranging from daring twists on classics to innovative infusions. They include the Hanging Gardens of Babylon with Novo Fogo cachaça, mezcal, falernum with araza and bacuri fruits, lime juice and Creole Bitters, and the Golden Allure (pictured), made with Hennesy Fine de Cognac, roasted coconut and popcorn, rye whiskey, orange-infused maple syrup and tonka bitters. However, if club members like their cocktails served a special way, the bar team will accommodate and keep a record so their bespoke drink is remembered every time they visit.
Annabel’s, 46 Berkeley Square, London W1J 5AT
Tel: 020 3879 9146
Originally published in the May 2018 print edition of Bar magazine.