This is a private one based in a six-story Mayfair townhouse. And it’s one you’ll want to join if you inhabit London more than little.
As opposed to nocturnal London legends like Annabel’s or Tramp, Chess Club is tapping the all-day Soho House/Arts Club vein, providing a place for members to work in an eccentric-but-refined residential setting by day. Or at least suggesting the idea of work over multiple-martini lunches of Middlewhite pork chops and lamb burgers prepared by Brunswick House-vet chef Jackson Boxer.
But it’s the provenance and drinks that interest us here. Because there’s a cocktail bar (and here it is). And to reiterate, this whole place comes from Experimental Cocktail Club. The company launched in Paris in 2007, sweeping away dark days when vodka and blue curacao reigned with their embrace of high-quality spirits, fresh herbs and exceptional tinctures. Expansions to London, New York and Ibiza followed.
The cocktail menu at Chess Club shows some real drinkers’ drinks like the Bad Bishop (Tutkielma rye, Nardini amaro and Corscian red wine) and a combination of Becherovka and suze called the Checkmate. There’s also beer and a dedicated wine focus.
So if you’re reluctant to embrace the kind of private London club ruled by pasty pseudo-Royals pouring Bollie down the throats of high-priced prostitutes, you’ll probably be better off with complex cocktails and the kind of people who like them.
If you resemble that description, applications for Chess Club are online. Annual dues are £450 per year.