Code changes: Modern members clubs

You can tell a lot about the modern breed of private members’ clubs by their drinks list. Gabriel Savage takes a peek at this prime target for luxury brands

Grace-BelgraviaDespite Groucho Marx’s views on the subject, human nature attracts huge numbers of us, moth-like, to the exclusive inclusivity of a club. Whether artistic, sporting or purely hedonistic in focus, these groups exist across all social strata and among all ethnic groups, but it’s the most discreet, luxurious examples that tend to provoke the strongest curiosity among outsiders.

While the doorways of St James’s in London continue to conceal a host of private members’ clubs, most of which cling tenaciously to their centuries-old stereotype, it is hardly surprising that a new breed has evolved in recent years to cater for a rather more modern clientele. Housing everything from spas to nightclubs and restaurants to rival the best in town, each retains its own distinctive atmosphere and, crucially, that reassuring sense for members that they are part of something special. Given the strong social element at the beating heart of these venues, their drinks offer provides perhaps the most illuminating glimpse of what we’re all missing out on.

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