Private members clubs are extremely popular in many jet-set cities worldwide. You have clubs that cater for different types of crowds, from the high-class elite to the nerdy silicon valley types, or artsy creatives. Where there is money, there will always be people wanting to be secluded from the crowds, hence the popularity of these places.
In London, where I’m based, private members clubs are the “it places” to be. If you’re a man in this city and you don’t have a membership anywhere, some will think you’re a loser and women think you’re a nobody.
The rules are different for women, of course, we get away in this department. While many have memberships, it’s not frowned upon the same way it is for men. It signals high status and power (money) if a man is a member of the right places. It gives him credibility in his profession and attraction factor with the ladies.
So what do people need to know who are unfamiliar with the world of private members clubs? Perhaps you will visit one, one day and should be prepared for what to expect.
► As a general rule, you cannot access these clubs without being in the company of the member.
► Depending on the club, what type of contract the member has signed, but he/she can only take in a limited amount of people. Often that number is around 3-4 people. Depending on who it is, there are exceptions to this rule.
► Many up-scale clubs, refuse entry if you wear jeans, sneakers, etc in the evening. Some have a strict dress code where the member and his guests must wear proper evening attire (jacket for men, cocktail wear for women).
► Another general rule is that the member cannot take his guests to the club, and leave them there after leaving the premises. Guests must go when the member leaves.
► The member is always responsible for the behavior of his/her guests. If you’re attending a club as a guest, it’s very important to behave adequately. If you get into fights and drama, the member who is responsible for you might get penalized by the club.
In these premises embarrassing things don’t always get forgotten, so make sure you don’t drink too much and are well-behaved!
► If you want to become a member yourself, depending on the club, you often need to be recommended by two existing members. You will go through a vetting process, where they will examine who you are and what you do, interview you and see if you’re a fit for their club.
► The membership prices are often quite high, and the waiting lists are long to get accepted. In London, it’s common to wait 1-2 years to become a member of clubs like LouLou’s and Art’s club. And on top of it, you will have to fork out 4-6k per year on membership and joining fees together.
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Frequently asked question:
“Is there any way to get in if you don’t know a member and you’re not a member yourself? Can you tip the bouncer or use any other tricks?”
Of course, I know of people who have cheated themselves in by knowing the person in the door or sneak in by hiding in the crowds of the lobby. But these are more exceptions to the rule than a strategy that actually works! At the door/reception, they are very strict, and bribes seldom work.
They have the guts to turn away anyone, even the rich and famous, so don’t think it will work putting on your charm. On top of it, you don’t want to burn your bridges by getting banned from places like this. People remember, the staff does not change often, and when they have blacklisted you, it will be hard to ever get your foot in even when it’s legit. The last thing you want to do is to embarrass yourself on these premises; it’s just never worth taking the risk!
Are Private Members clubs worth it?
Yes it’s worth it if networking is important to you (it’s a great meeting place for anyone who is somebody or has done something in life)
It’s also worth it if you’re a social climber, you want to be part of “the cool people”, you want social status, you want people to think that you’re also somebody…
However, scale it down to what it is, it’s just a regular bar/restaurant/club with an illusion of “being something of the extraordinary.” The people in there, are just regular people, like you and me, like Plain Jane and Average Joe. The only difference is this fictive persona around them, “the illusion of them being something special.”
Depending on your goals and aspirations, private members clubs might be just the right place for you! If not, it’s just another place for entertainment, same type of fun you can get anywhere on this planet.