Wow, indeed. So this is 'Clubland'. The land of membership only clubs ('gentlemens' clubs if you will, before that term came to mean something else). The kind of establishments that unless you're a member, or bold enough simply to walk into (only when ordering a drink or food does one's card have to be shown), you'll only likely have seen on TV drama series of the social elite.
Squash courts, marble steps, an ornate swimming pool, a lavish, high-ceilinged bar. And, as I swiftly learned, a jackets-on-at-all times policy. I was only able to have a couple of drinks here, and they were pretty good. The bartender even shared some local knowledge about where to get good whiskey.
In all, the Royal Automobile Club is certainly worth a gander if you get the opportunity. It's definitely made me want to check out some of the other, supposedly better, such clubs in London.
First off, you can't actually eat here (or drink) unless you are with a member. If you get the chance, go. The building itself is worth a wander, with a dedicated snooker hall, indoor swimming pool and squash courts, and several bars and restaurants done up in different themes.
After a drink in the Long Bar, the party I was with moved into the Great Gallery for a 3 course meal that was nothing short of delicious. They even made horseradish ice cream work for me, which was quite unexpected. The sommelier also really knows his stuff, so go in for the wine pairings as well.
The setting alone probably would have earned this place 4 stars, but having good food to boot certainly was appreciated.
I recently had an event photography gig here. I was really impressed with the blend of classic architecture with Art Deco. If you're not a member and ever get invited, go! Lots of interesting muckety mucks milling about, lots of low key but seeming important meetings going on, and lots of great art.
The people that work here are gracious (as long as you gents wear a coat and tie - house rules!) and helpful in a terribly upper crust sort of way.
The Royal Automobile Club is a private members club. There are three restaurants at the Pall Mall club house. The Great Gallery which is a gourmet cuisine restaurant with private dining in sumptuous surroundings with great chefs - some of the word's leading chefs stop-by to occasionally cook there. Brooklands is a more wide ranging classic bistro style restaurant - ideal for pre or post theatre. The Long Bar serves excellent value faire at subsidised prices - for example an overly generous serving of Roast Beef and all the trimings for £8!
There's also the Club Room and Terrace - one of the most lavish yet elegant rooms in London, which serves an excellent range of food and drink and a recommended afternoon tea.
Staff throughout the Club are the epitomy of manners and attentiveness.
Aside from the bar and retaurants, the Club has probably the best pool in London and certainly one of the best Turkish Baths in Europe, complimented by a state of the art gym, squash courts and a a snooker room with a full time snooker pro.
Added benefits are a superb country clubhouse Woodcote Park near Epsome and reciprocal arrangements with some of the leading private clubs around the world.
The Pall Mall clubhouse has a wide range of guest rooms and accommodation along with meeting rooms, bars, one of only 3 private post offices in the country and an excellent library.
Last but not least, it's the members that make or brake any club and all the members I've met have been very decent likeable people.
If you're lucky enough to set foot in the RAC, enjoy one of London's secret gems.
This private members club is reasonably priced (if you are invited to join) and well located. The RAC is a quintessential, posh yet understated venue.
Service is generally impeccable except for the transportation staff at the front entrance who can be grumpy with taxis etc.
The Great Gallery food is well presented but usually doesn't taste as good as it looks. The staff are fantastically entertaining though and the space is beautiful.
My favourite is the bar with seasoned and knowledgeable bartenders who will mix anything.
Scratch that -- my favourite is the car that is showcased. Whatever it is, it's always fun to see up close.
I was there recently for a thematic Italian dinner. They had a chef guest from Sicily cooking. The menu was amazing, and especially the name they give to the meals. Fantastic experience.
If you find yourself lucky enough to visit the Royal Automobile Club, you enjoy one of London's secret gems. An absolutely gorgeous place and the view of their indoor swimming pooll is spectacular.
The RAC is a bar, restaurant, art gallery, business meeting venue, gym, pool, squash courts in one - and much more. To become a member you need nominating by other members and there is a waiting list but it is worth waiting.
The atmosphere, service and food at this private club are outstanding. I have eaten a couple of times recently in the Great Gallery and the food is genuinely world class, service flawless and the prices very reasonable for this quality of food/service. The wine list is extensive and varied.
The rest of the club is a haven of peace in the city. Eating or drinking on the terrace transports you out of central london
In a word, excellent
I Was invited here for a really lovely full English breakfast- Find yourself a member and have a visit- Its a must!
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