Private social clubs would seem to be a perfect match for Los Angeles, where the best parties usually happen behind closed doors. But until recently, the main game in town was the Jonathan Club, which was founded in 1895 and barely registered among the young, dewier set. Everything changed in 2010, when Soho House opened in West Hollywood and became a see-and-be-seen hangout for Hollywood deal makers. Now, a surge of members-only clubs (many from London) are opening across L.A., appealing to enclaves as diverse as the city itself. Here are six of the buzziest.
San Vicente Bungalows
Jeff Klein, a bicoastal hotelier with a gilded Rolodex, opened this ultraexclusive club in January, after a “soft launch” in December. The Bungalows made a social splash in February with an Oscar preparty hosted by CAA, the Hollywood powerhouse agency, with Melissa McCarthy and Ava DuVernay on hand.
Secret Handshake: Good luck, mere mortals. This V.I.P. oasis doesn’t even offer an online application. “A member would need to nominate you for consideration,” said the person who answered the phone.
Annual Dues: $4,200, plus $1,800 initiation fee (for members under 35, it’s $1,800 with a $500 initiation fee)
Bump Into: Armie Hammer, Tracee Ellis Ross and John Mayer, as well as industry heavies like Ted Sarandos, the chief content officer of Netflix, and Steven Spielberg.
Unique Perks: Formerly a men-only, clothing-optional hotel, this chic hideaway has nine suites, a plunge pool and several elegant dining rooms and bars.
Ejection Button: Mr. Klein said that a tantrum could get a member blackballed. The “no pictures ever” policy is for real; a concierge places a sticker over the lens on camera phones.
San Vicente Bungalows, 845 North San Vicente Boulevard, West Hollywood; sanvicentebungalows.com
Slated to open this month, the latest outpost of Soho House will occupy a former plumbing supply warehouse and will be the first to hit the flourishing Arts District of downtown Los Angeles.
Secret Handshake: Those denied entry to the West Hollywood mother ship might nab a slot here. This branch is seeking members from the city’s east side, including Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Echo Park and downtown.
Annual Dues: $2,160, plus a $550 initiation fee ($1,080, plus $350 initiation, for those under 27)
Bump Into: Regulars at the West Hollywood hub like Amy Adams, Jenni Konner, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Shonda Rhimes and Ron Burkle could make their way down to see the new digs.
Unique Perks: A rooftop pool, three restaurants, six bars, a bi-level gym with outdoor space (yoga at sunrise!) and 48 guests rooms make this the first full-service Soho House in Los Angeles. (The West Hollywood outpost, along with a newer one in Malibu, do not have rooms or a gym.)
Ejection Button: Photos are forbidden, though plenty of violators can be found on Instagram. Cellphone callers are banished to special outdoor zones.
Soho Warehouse, 1000 South Santa Fe Avenue, Los Angeles, sohowarehouse.com
Originally founded in London by Paul Allen (the co-founder of Microsoft) and Dave Stewart (of the Eurythmics), the h Club opened an outpost this February, at the famous corner of Hollywood and Vine.
Secret Handshake: Applications are accepted online, and personal referrals seem to guarantee a slot. (Full disclosure: That’s how I got in.)
Annual Dues: $2,200, plus a $400 initiation fee ($1,250, plus $250 for those under 30)
Bump Into: Though Jon Hamm belongs, don’t expect celebrities in every corner. The club strives to be a haven for creative types like Ahmet Zappa, a multimedia producer and the son of Frank Zappa; Aline Brosh McKenna, a screenwriter and producer; Dean Devlin, also a screenwriter and producer; and Kenya Barris, the creator of “Black-ish.”
Unique Perks: There are co-working spaces, plus a gym, pool, Japanese tearoom, recording studio, screening room and 35 guest rooms. A large rooftop offers a restaurant helmed by celebrity chef Kris Morningstar and postcard views of the Capitol Records building and the Hollywood sign.
Ejection Button: Photos, even discreet selfies, are a no-no. “I got in trouble for taking a picture in the pool last week,” said Chris McGowan, the president of arts and entertainment at Vulcan, which owns the h. Club. “That’s a rule you can’t break.”
h. Club, 1717 Vine Street, Hollywood; hclub.com
The Jane Club
This “matriarchal oasis” is named after Jane Addams, a pioneering 20th-century social worker from Chicago, and opened in April with a splashy party that lured Charlize Theron and Kelis.
Secret Handshake: Men can visit, but only women can join this co-working clubhouse. Introductory tours can be booked online.
Annual Dues: Membership starts at $250 a month; $5,000 for “Power Jane” status, which includes use of a private office.
Bump Into: The female entertainment executive quotient is high. Founding investors includes Tig Notaro, a stand-up comic; Brooklyn Decker, an actress; J.J. Philbin, a TV producer and writer; and Naomi Scott, a producer.
Unique Perks: The clubhouse offers a quaint Larchmont Village feel, with five outdoor spaces, on-site child care ($20 an hour) and fitness classes with the celebrity trainer Amy Rosoff Davis. Other amenities include a hair salon, Botox touch-ups, physical exams and car washes.
Ejection Button: While this club is geared toward working mothers, children are not allowed as plus-ones. “The Jane Club is a sacred space for women to work and to be,” said June Diane Raphael, an actress and a co-founder of the club.
Jane Club, 429 North Larchmont Boulevard, Los Angeles, janeclub.com
WeWork meets the Wing at the AllBright, a women’s club on Melrose Place. Started by Anna Jones (the former chief executive of Hearst Magazines U.K.) and Debbie Wosskow (an entrepreneur), the first AllBright opened in London last year, and appeals to female business owners, executives and creative types.
Secret Handshake: Apply online and await word. Men are permitted to visit and socialize.
Annual Dues: from $2,100, plus a $300 initiation fee ($1,100 for those under 29)
Bump Into: Founding members include Olivia Wilde, Ruth Wilson, Meg Whitman and Adele Lim, who co-wrote the screenplay for “Crazy Rich Asians.”
Unique Perks: Set on leafy Melrose Place, the three-story clubhouse has a restaurant, offices, meeting rooms, a gym, a beauty salon, a screening room and a rooftop lounge.
Ejection Button: Outside food or drink is prohibited. The club also encourages members to stash laptops at 5:30 p.m. and start networking. But “if you want to turn up to our club, do a workout, have a blow dry, have avocado and toast for breakfast, and then go, that’s absolutely fine too,” Ms. Wosskow said.
AllBright, 8474 Melrose Place, West Hollywood; allbrightcollective.com
The Arts Club
This London import has even more pedigree. Founded in 1863 by Charles Dickens, Auguste Rodin and other artists, the Arts Club plans to open a sleek, nine-story playground on Sunset Boulevard backed by Gwyneth Paltrow.
Secret Handshake: Not slated to open until 2021, so outreach has not begun. But expect Ms. Paltrow to open her Rolodex.
Annual Dues: TBD
Bump Into: Rita Ora, Ronnie Wood, Robbie Williams and Peter Blake, the British pop artist, are all members of the London club.
Unique Perks: Expected to break ground in 2020, the club will offer restaurants, bars, a rooftop pool, an art gallery, a spa, screening rooms, offices and 15 guest rooms.
Ejection Button: Alice Chadwyck-Healey, the club’s executive director, said that disrespect toward a fellow member or staffer calls for immediate removal. Also, laptops snap shut after 7 p.m.
The Arts Club, 8920 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood; theartsclub.co.uk
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