This place that hides a grandiose interior architecture, has seen passing by since the sixties, members of the royal family in disguise, beginners in search of thrills, aristocratic flambeurs, all the gratin of fashion, dozens of illegitimate couples … and even a queen. Mark Birley, son of the high society painter Oswald Birley, realized an old dream of his and opened his private night club in the basement of the club, with the help of five hundred members, which he named after his young wife, Lady Annabel.
Mark Birley really gave the night world a gift. A crazy perfectionist who made Annabel the perfect place to hang out with her friends. Everything was defined in detail: the décor recreated the typical English living room, with large red velvet sofas and white-clad butlers who knew the names of the guests and anticipated their tastes, always bringing their favorite cocktail in the right glass. The spaces were filled with luxury objects and paintings of dogs, horses and young women from nearby auctions (Sotheby’s and Christie’s). Unlike some legendary clubs that will revolutionize the night in the late seventies, at Annabel there are precise rules of high society, only members are allowed: no social mix at the entrance. Perfect dinners, chic and intimate, very popular. Some members of the more or less rebellious English royal family spend their nights there, such as the Prince of Wales and Princess Anne. Annabel’s is the only night club in the world that Queen Elizabeth II has visited. In 2003, she would have bought a lemon-free gin martini at the club. Also, in 1986, Fergie and Princess Diana would enter the club dressed as police officers. Annabel’s, from the beginning, is a legend for being a dream totally inaccessible to the English tabloids: no journalist, no photographer, no paparazzo is accepted inside, consequently there are no photos of the club’s first thirty years.
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