Keeping it cool behind closed doors

Tim Badham
IN recent weeks secret doorways have been surfacing across London. Following in the footsteps of clandestine operations Eight Bank, ECC, Crazy Bear Members Club and more recently The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town (which can only be entered through a Smeg refrigerator) a little black door has just appeared on Orchard Street by Selfridges. The Black Cat is a secretive and fleeting escapade from long-standing clubland lotharios Alex Lambrechts and Wade Crescent.

Before the venue is redeveloped by Mahiki masterminds Nick House and Piers Adams, it has been adopted for just three months and is hosting one-off nights billed as the antithesis of the West End nightclub scene. With an ‘anti-bottle service’ policy they hope to marry East EndcCool with the Soho dandyism to give birth to Mayfair’s coolest new cocktail destination. The dance-inducing Rock ‘n Roll tunes are obviously working as an A-list crowd has already been swinging and bopping the night away.

Another discreet doorway opens tonight on the beautiful Beauchamp Place in Knightsbridge with the launch of Privée. This is a very different proposition, a private luxury lounge bar opening below renowned Lebanese restaurant Layalina. The remodelled space for 120 sophisticated late night revellers features marble, velvet and suede covered walls, an under-lit bar and impressive aquarium-adorned VIP area. As the only club of its ilk in Knightsbridge it should attract a well-heeled crowd from both Mayfair and Chelsea.

Beauchamp Place is obviously the place to be at the moment with Galoupet opening a few doors away with a sleek, minimalist bar below the restaurant, offering a prolific selection of top wines by the glass. Hip Japanese joint Kumo next door has recently relaunched and the more traditional Chisou has built up quite a following on the old Townhouse site. Look closely across the road and you might even spot the ultimate unmarked door of the Beauchamp Club, although probably not.

Back to Mayfair and the South Pacific port of pleasure Mahiki, which now has another concealed door inside the club, leading to its No-Tell Hotel Room. The private room has a kitsch ‘70s shag pile look complete with double bed, kitchen, lounge, karaoke machine and fancy-dress outfits. Few people know but even Maddox has a concealed hush-hush dinner room, perfect for those discreet VIP bashes behind closed doors.

Tim Badham is the founder and Managing Director of Innerplace (, a private concierge service that specialises in access to the most desirable entertainment and hospitality in London and internationally.