Slow on the uptake? Maybe, but last night I went, with a dear friend to The Hospital Club in Covent Garden, for the first time.
Once I ended-up in a Masonic Lodge, but that’s a different story.
But I’ve always found these *exclusive* places a bit…*meh*…that cliquey, snobby, darkened-room stuff…likewhaddevah…give me an oversized tequila in a sticky-floored pub, or a cup of tea at the seaside anytime.
And now that membership is reputedly closing for Soho and Shoreditch House, it makes me wonder – where will the new-blood come from, surely they’ll just stagnate?
So I didn’t have MASSIVE expectations of The Hospital Club.
Luckily I was wrong.
We arrived at 7.15 and to the five storey ex hospital building, there was a man at the door, but he was an unassuming and polite man, not a burly look-you-up-and-down bouncer. The reception looks like the reception of a trendy ad agency (I spend a lot of time in trendy ad agencies) they take your photo on one of those webcam thingies, though here they lift it off the desk, so as not to take one of those awful under-chin-security-photos (I swear there are about 100 of those massively unflattering photos of me around the capital). The receptionists were on the arty side of trendy, and the ditzy side of helpful, both of which I thoroughly approve of.
The concept behind The Hospital Club is that it is a private club for creative people to get together, collaborate, relax and share their time and ideas. This surely is a recipe for complete twattery? Not so, everyone, literally everyone was friendly, and smiley, people gave-way to each other through doors. People sat alone on banquettes, and easy chairs in one of the three lounges (I like a place where people feel comfortable enough just to ‘be’) all notably tapping away on their Mac-tops, not a PC in sight… of course.
The food was good, we both started with scallops, pea puree and pancetta and those little mini pea shoot things, with their twirly whirly fronds, it was good (not as good as the scallop starter I had some time in 2008 in Zetter, or indeed my favourite scallops of 2009 (unpredictably) at The Gallery in Selfridges.
For our mains, my dear friend had the chicken with sausages, mash and gravy, I (predictably) had the skate, with mussels. All very good, very filling, cooked with skill, a bit over salty, but I quite like salt. Service was a teeny bit slow, but friendly.
They also had some just-this-side-of-kitsch flamingo wallpaper…
After our mains we tabbed-it-up and had a wander, then returned, and shared a chocolate fudge cake in a lounge.
There’s a cinema, that previews all the usual *stuff* and a studio for gigs and exhibitions, and several meeting rooms for small business members to impress their clients, there’s a games room and two bars, and a restaurant. And everywhere there are little installations, projections, films and soundtracks, benches made of a log and chair-backs, and the sound of children laughing (schpoooky) played in the restaurant.
Year one membership £700 or £300 for people under 30 years old.