Sneaking Into Members' Clubs


Written by Nimrod Kämer
09 Monday 09th January 2012

Why did I start sneaking into members clubs? Because I got tired of cafés and restaurants. You can't socialize in restaurants. You're either sitting down or in the loo. No one wanders around looking for action. Are members clubs really different than restaurants? Yes. You can sit for hours without ordering and they have quiz nights and steam rooms.

So why not properly apply for membership? Cause as a member you're usually confined to *one* club (maximum two in one city like Soho-Shoreditch House, but still). That’s a drag and you find yourself spending all your money in one establishment. You pretty much have to keep spending to justify the membership.

Clearly it's more fun to get invited by other members, or even better, by imaginary members. By that I mean members who are real but don’t necessarily know you. Or never really invited you.


Hospital Club, 24 Endell Street

Follow someone in. Just anyone. Wait outside till a large group of people arrive. Seamlessly tail them, stand still behind them while they're talking to the receptionist. Keep on walking after the last person as though you've known them for years. Even talk to him in a low voice, as long as he isn’t turning.

You're inside. Now cut away from the party and open a tab. Giving the waiter your debit card. In return you'd a get a nice Hospital Club card. Keep walking within the building between floors 4 and 2 (bar, restaurant, pool room, cinema room). Eventually go to floor zero and head home. Return a week later, show them your open tab card at the entrance.

Who You'll Meet:

Thom York is a member of Hospital Club. I once talked to him at the elevator. Complimented him on performing on the Colbert Report TV show. He was totally amicable.


Reform Club, 104 Pall Mall

Walk through the doors in a breeze of confidence. Be supple and aloof all the way to the free tea and biscuits at the end of second floor. Ignore the front desk, nod to everyone. Stand in front of the official election board (see above) as if you might want to be nominated. Order gin with bitter lemon.

Most importantly wear a tie or a bowtie and tweeds. They care more about how you dress than how you got in. Tell the guy in charge that your member friends are right downstairs, playing cards with other members. Try to make new real member friends by telling them you work at the Telegraph or City A.M. If they ask you to leave mention Michael Palin and how he was thrown out of the Reform Club right after shooting Around The World In 80 Days.

Who You'll Meet:

David Attenborough and Baroness Boothroyd are members.


Soho House, 40 Greek Street

A tricky one. Come around midnight and wait outside with the paparazzi. Talk to them. Ask who they're waiting for (= whose inside). Walk up to reception. Tell reception you're meeting the person named by the paps. Act needy. Ask many questions of convenience. Be rude enough so no one will assume you don't belong. An intruder will never be intrusive. At least that's the common knowledge. So if you're dancing and hitting on the other sex everyone'll assume you're part of the wedding (in case there's a wedding). 

Don’t follow people in, since reception is located in a room of its own.

Who You'll Meet:

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Florence Brudenell-Bruce are members.



Home House, 20 Portman Square

Go in by using methods described prior. When inside check an item at the cloakroom. On a weekday no one is in charge on that room. You're supposed to take your own stuff and tickets. Go upstairs. Read the new Tatler issue. Take it home with you. Leave a glove or something small behind. Keep the ticket. In the future arrive without a coat and with the ticket. (You can store coats at the Churchill Hyatt Regency across the road). Home House stuff will assume you've already been in earlier that day. If there's a problem just show the ticket and say 'Blimey, my cardi is still there.'

Who You'll Meet:

Bill Nighy is a member. So is Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Coronation Street's Elizabeth Tan.


Groucho Club, 45 Dean Street

Go to back of Duck Soup, 41 Dean Street. You have to go through some monkey business at the restaurant to get to the back. You'll eventually find the right door to the back space. Climb on a ledge and see a window with some horse feathers on it. It leads to the back of the Groucho's and it's usually open. It's not that hard. Another way in is telling the hostess you're meeting author Zadie Smith, who's a member. Don’t say the word author, just her full name. If you spot a member going in name him, say you're a non-work related colleague. They'll let you in pronto and won't try to escort you to him\her.

Who You'll Meet:

Writer Zoe Strimpel is a member, as well as Private-Eye's Richard Ingrams and Ian Hislop.


Arts Club, 40 Dover Street

No artists ever go here, just posh folk. Be blunt and say you owe money to the club and must to pay it back now before you fly to Korea. Come in when it's busy and drop a £310 figure. Tell them it's due at the second floor. They'll escort you up the steps. The bartender will say he doesn't see any evidence of you owing that much money. Don't give up and insist you need to pay. Go through all of the cashiers. At some point the hostess will get tired and leave you to it. Then you can relax and have a £4 ristretto. It comes with two delicious chocolate coins.

Another option: lose the tie, skip the main door, open the small gate in front of the club and go down to the servant entrance. In the locker room you'll see employees getting dressed and undressed. Tell them you're there for a job interview. Ask for some water. Walk in thru the basement into the lower bar. Stay at -1 floor for a few hours. Then go up and try to let your friends in thru the front door by waving at them whilst standing over the threshold.

Who You'll Meet:

Gwyneth Paltrow is a member. Duke of Edinburgh came to the opening.



Next time you head to WC2 or W1H or W1D, why not chunk restaurant reservations and go dicey, with a chance of light thrill. Quite frankly nothing could be more exciting the infiltrating a proper club, not to mention doing it on a date or with anyone you'd like to impress. It's not illegal. If you play it right even being thrown out can become a once in a life time insult.


Nimrod Kämer is on Twitter - follow @nnimrodd

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