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Arboretum and the LIBRARY – unique members’ clubs in the West End of London
Looking for somewhere to work when you are up in town? Somewhere to meet up with colleagues? Or even a place to stay the night that feels a little more like home than a business hotel. Here are a couple of contemporary styled members’ clubs that might fit the bill. Spread over several levels, The LIBRARY, a spacious members’ club, is situated in St Martin’s Lane, making it both accessible and centrally located. The club has comfortable seating and two bars, the perfect place to get some quiet time or meet with colleagues and friends. The book theme is apparent throughout the building, shelves of books line the entrance lobby, there are bookcases and books scattered around the club.
Part of the club is the ‘Dear Alice’ space, a bar cunningly hidden behind a secret door. This room is available to hire for events and meetings. On the upper floors, there are seven bedrooms for members to hire, very convenient to stay in for a business trip to London.
Arboretum, the recently opened members’club, is part of the same group, situated just opposite the National Portrait Gallery. Although the main entrance is on Charing Cross Road there’s a secret alleyway leading to the LIBRARY.
As the name suggests, Arboretum is themed on plants and sustainability. Foliage abounds in the airy open main space, with cosy alcoves with seating for working. There is another work area/playroom with meeting rooms and more functional work desks. Feeling peckish, but don’t want to break for lunch? There is a deli in Arboretum serving plant-based food which is open throughout the day.
Original works by artists which are on display in the main lounge are available for sale. Members of Arboretum and the LIBRARY can use both facilities, the meeting room, and other spaces which are also available for private hire for non-members.
If you are hungry, Saint Luke’s table within the members’ club at The LIBRARY is a haven of peace in the bustle of theatreland London. It is a quiet and cosy restaurant on the lowest floor. It’s not a large room, but very intimate with stained glass windows and what appears to be original brickwork. I went along to try out the food.
Seated at my table by the friendly waitress, a pair of books, consistent with the library theme, were laid out on the table along with the normal cutlery etc. To start I plumped for one of the cocktails – standards which have been renamed after famous authors. An Ernest Hemmingway, white rum Luxardo maraschino, lime and grapefruit juice was refreshing and delicious.
The menu, from head chef Alessio Piras, contains a good mix of dishes including a good selection of vegetarian options such as beetroot risotto, linguine artichokes or warm couscous salad. For my own starter, I chose the seared scallops with nduja crust, truffle and cauliflower puree. It was beautifully presented but the topping slightly overpowered the delicate taste of the scallops. To accompany, a glass of 2016 Pinot Noir, Pencarrow Martinborough from New Zealand.
I opted for venison for the main course with sweet potatoes veloutés, crispy polenta and thyme jus and was served an ample portion of impeccably cooked meat. For dessert, blueberry cheesecake, an American style baked cheesecake with blueberry coulis, a tasty and the perfect end to my meal.
St Luke’s Table is open to members of both clubs and to non-members. The food is excellent and it offers a quieter location than the lively restaurants that abound in this part of London, ideal for a catch up with colleagues or friends.
Arboretum can be found at 2A Charing Cross Rd, Charing Cross, London WC2H 0HF. telephone: Reception: 44 (0)20 7240 2874, Event Enquiries: 44 (0)20 3876 2315.
The LIBRARY is at 112 St. Martin’s Lane London, WC2N 4BD. Telephone: 44 (0)20 3302 7912. Event Enquiries: 44 (0)20 3876 2315.
To see the menu or make a reservation at Saint Luke’s Table visit: https://www.stlukestable.com/