PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston November 2022

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Page 45 of 131

of gambling. Guests there have included Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Diana Ross, Lady Gaga, Tina Turner, and even Queen Elizabeth II (it's rumored to be the only nightclub Her Highness has ever visited). In a scandal that rocked the city, the senior clubland, never fodder for the salacious British tabloids. Caring's London clubs (originally created by the senior Birley) include Mark's Club, George (currently undergoing a refresh), Harry's Bar, and the Bath & Racquets Club (as well as the original Annabel's). Confusingly, these clubs remain managed under the mantle of the Birley Group, which has no affiliation with son Robin Birley's club endeavors, creating a contentious situation that has sparked a rivalry between the born Birley and the bought Birley Group. Today, son Robin Birley operates 5 Hertford Street (known as 5HS) in London, with the disco LouLou's downstairs in the stately bohemian house famous for, among other things, as the place where Harry and Meghan had their first date. (Bill Gates, Leonardo DiCaprio, and George and Amal Clooney have also been spotted at this chic spot, where well-mannered dogs are welcome and often seen casually lying about on the homey armchairs. But you'll need several member references to actually join.) In addition, Birley opened Oswald's in Mayfair, a haven for wine connoisseurs where house wines (and rarefied vintages that are touted as "humbly priced") are poured from a magnum. Named after his great grandfather, the English royal portrait artist Oswald Birley, Oswald's is considered to be the most exclusive of the new crop of social clubs. Venturing to the other side of the proverbial pond, Robin Birley plans to conquer the New York City social scene, unveiling an ambitious project in conjunction with billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben. Although representatives of Birley remain mum, it has been widely reported that he is transforming the 12,000-square-foot first floor and mezzanine at 828 Madison Avenue, the site of the old Westbury Hotel, into a social club and hotel. According to the New York Post, "His intention is to launch a new club concept tailored specifically for New York and New Yorkers." The Post also quotes an anonymous source as saying that Birley enjoys "'curating' people, so members will be a mix of 'best in class, people he likes — the best thinkers, artists, hedge funds, politicians, and people who are beautiful inside and out.'" Rumors are floating around that although the name hasn't been announced, it might be called Maxime's after his aunt, Maxime Le Bailly, comtesse de la Falaise — a 1960s-era model and underground film star and muse to many. Consider yourself a great thinker? Word is admission to Birley's Manhattan venture is gained when two existing members of his London clubs nominate you. In Lower Manhattan, the new private club Casa Cipriani (created by the group behind Venice's storied Harry's Bar and the famed Cipriani hotel) is housed in one of the last standing Beaux Arts-style ferry terminals. This club/hotel was designed by French architect Thierry Despont and features 47 guest rooms and suites with sweeping views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty (which Despont's firm was put in charge of restoring in the '80s.) "Is the bar open," asked a new member of White's. "Bless my soul, sir," said Wheeler the barman, "It has been open for 200 years." — Anthony Lejeune, The Gentlemen's Clubs of London Birley sold his growing cadre of clubs to tycoon Richard Caring (instead of allowing his children to inherit) for a whopping 95 million pounds after a row with his son, Robin. Upon the sale, Caring promptly relocated Annabel's two blocks away to take up residence in a plush Georgian manse, where these days men are required to wear jackets in the downstairs nightclub. Hats must be removed upon entry, and, most importantly, photos are not only prohibited anywhere inside the club, but posting images and content on social media is never permitted. What goes on in clubland stays in The Atheneum, London, founded in 1824 Boodle's, London, established 1762 The ballroom at the Lansdowne Club, London (Continued on page 96) 44

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